Fluvial Geomorphology Annotated Bibliography
Link to Eric
Hopkins's 2004 Geology/Geography 621 Class Page
Rosgen Stream Classification, Channel Units, Habitats
Rosgen, D. L., 1994, A classification of natural rivers: Catena, v.
22, p. 169-199.
Online linkage: http://www.wildlandhydrology.com/assets/CLASS_OF_NATURAL_RIVERS_300.pdf
Rosgen describes a stream classification scheme that is based on
geomorphological characteristics. He notes the classification evolved
from data collected from 450 rivers in a great diversity of
hydro-physiographic provinces of various scales within Canada, the U.S.
and New Zealand. Based on entrenchment, gradient, the width/depth ratio
and sinuosity, streams are first classified into seven major types (A,
B, C, D, E, F and G types). For example, an A-type stream is
characterized by a steep gradient, a small width/depth ratio and low
sinuosity and is deeply entrenched. Subsequent to this initial
classification each major type is further divided based on dominant
channel materials (mud, sand, gravel , cobble, boulder or bedrock). For
example, a bouldery, type-A stream is classified as an A-2. Because
channel geomorphology is complex and parameter values vary along a
continuum, application of the scheme is not straightforward.
Consequently, the system can be manipulated in that classification of
streams with parameter values in more than one category is subjective.
The Rosgen scheme is beneficial as a communication tool or a way of
creating order out of channel description chaos.
Kite, J. S., 2003, Fluvial geomorphology train is leaving the
station; shouldn't we be on board?: Stream Notes, October 2003, p. 6-7.
Natural stream design is a rapidly growing field that has been ignored
by many fluvial geomorphologists. Practitioners of natural stream
design are often required only to take a set of short courses to learn
basic methods of stream classification and stream function and lack the
overall understanding of fluvial processes obtained by students of
geomorphology. The author calls on fluvial geomorphologists to step
forward and introduce students to the field of natural stream design in
order to ensure its inclusion of geomorphic knowledge. Introducing
students to the terms and concepts used in natural stream design will
allow them to better communicate with others already working in the
field and be more marketable to potential employers. Recognition of
this field by fluvial geomorphologists will ensure the applied
principles used remain rooted in the science of fluvial geomorphology.
Stream Classification II - Alternatives to Rosgen
Montgomery, D. R., and Buffington, J. M., 1998, Channel processes,
classification, and response, in Naiman, R. and Bilby, R.,
eds., River Ecology and Management: Lessons from the Pacific Coastal
Ecoregion: New York, Springer-Verlag, p. 13-42.
From a relatively limited set of processes, many different stream
channel types emerge. By using a hierarchical classification scheme,
difference in processes and responses can be identified on many scales,
from geomorphic provinces, down to individual reaches. This research
focuses on mountain streams and stresses the important relationship
between transport capacity and sediment supply. Taking under
consideration bed morphology, confinement, spatial location, and
external influences such as vegetation and large woody debris, channel
condition and response potential can be assessed.
Montgomery, D. R. and J. M. Buffington. 1997. Channel-reach
morphology in mountain drainage basins. Geological Society of America
Bulletin, v. 109, p.596-611.
The authors provide a mountain stream channel classification system
that relies on aspects of channel form that reflect channel processes.
Seven distinct channel reach types are identified and important
characteristics are listed for each. These types include colluvial,
bedrock, cascade, step pool, plane bed, pool riffle, and dune ripple
reaches. The authors identify the typical bed material, bedform
pattern, dominant roughness elements, dominant sediment sources,
sediment storage elements, level of confinement, and typical pool
spacing for each reach-type. In addition to these descriptions,
photographs, plan view illustrations of channel morphology, and
longitudinal profile illustrations of channel bed morphology are
provided for each reach-type. The second section of this paper provides
a field test of this classification on four drainage basins in Oregon
and Washington. Reaches (10-20 channel widths in length) throughout
each basin were surveyed and each was classified as one of the above
reach-types. At each reach the investigators surveyed gradient,
collected a Wolman pebble count, and identified the basin area. There
is a general downstream progression of reach-types in each basin which
proceeds as colluvial, cascade, step pool, plane bed or forced pool
riffle, and pool riffle. Along with this trend, there is also a
decrease in reach gradient and sediment grain size heading downstream.
Reactions to Rosgen Classification
Miller, J. R., and Ritter, J. B., 1996, An examination of the Rosgen
classification of natural rivers: Catena, v. 27, p. 295-299.
Miller and Ritter evaluate Rosgen's classification of natural rivers as
proposed in his 1994 paper, concluding it is useful as a communication
tool only and fails utterly as a predictor of fluvial processes. Also,
it has minimal value as a methodology for stream restoration. They
highlight Rosgen's diffuse presentation of the classification scheme,
his lack of data, and his failure to explain how the analyses were
conducted. In addition, they note Rosgen's frequent misapplication of
previous works and subsequent erroneous (at least questionable)
conclusions. Rosgen's scheme is openly criticized because the
individual classifications are not linked to the current equilibrium
state of the channel, nor do they account for climatic or hydrologic
regime. Miller and Ritter complain that Rosgen does not define his
hydraulic terminology and that he uses some terms interchangeably,
thereby adding confusion. Ultimately, they discredit Rosgen's
classification scheme because it is not process-based and the lack of
geomorphic significance of his classification criteria precludes its
ability to predict fluvial response to perturbations.
Doyle, M. W., Miller, D. E., and Harbor, J. M., 1999, Should river
restoration be based on classification schemes or process models?
Insights from the history of eomorphology: ASCE International
Conference on Water Resources Engineering, Seattle, Washington.
While geomorphology has progressed into the study of physical
processes, river restoration utilizes historical classification
schemes, reminiscent of William Davis. Where Davis focused on landscape
evolution of one form to another, Grove Karl Gilbert pushed modern
studies, focusing on process and using the scientific method to test
hypotheses. Classification systems are so prominent in restoration
because they are an easily understood communication tool, allowing
those with little or no geomorphology training to use them. The
classification systems are also being taught to thousands, and are the
standard for many agencies involved in restoration. The science of
restoration can only develop with less dependence on classification and
application of analog, empirical, and analytical research.
Kapitzke, R., 2003, Appendix C(4): Natural Channel Design at the
University of Guelph: in Agencies, people and sites visited in
Canada (Alberta & Ontario), Land and Water Australia Project JCU
15, Traveling Fellowship Report, p. 6-7.
Stream restoration in Ontario is overseen by different agencies at each
level of government, while planning and research is done at
institutions such as the University of Guelph. Ontario has had many
successes in stream restoration using multidisciplinary approaches
involving engineers, environmental planners, biologists, and other
professionals. The Ministry of Natural Resources is currently producing
a Natural Channel Design manual to aid others in multidisciplinary
approaches. Despite successes, stream processes and dynamic behavior
are often not incorporated in stream restoration. The Rosgen
classification system is widely used by people often lacking sufficient
geomorphic knowledge, leading to the misapplication of the system.
Practitioners sometimes use Rosgen's system like a biological
classification system. Rosgen's classification does not take geomorphic
processes or dynamic stream behavior into account. The authors provide
an example where bankfull was miscalculated and Rosgen's system was
applied and led to further degradation. The authors recommend the
inclusion of stream geomorphology into all stream restoration
Natural Stream Design
Shields, F. D., Copeland, R. R., Klingeman, P. C., Doyle, M. W., and
Simon, A., 2003, Design for stream restoration: Journal of Hydraulic
Engineering, v.129, p. 575-584.
Although there are many ways to rehabilitate streams, this paper
describes methods for channel reconstruction. Sedimentation analysis is
so important due too most failure is caused by sedimentation or
erosion. Since interdisciplinary teams carry out most restoration
projects, objectives must be clearly defined and the stream thoroughly
assessed before work can begin. The balance between stability and
stream dynamics must be established. Studies to find channel-forming
discharge, bed material size, and channel type, such as alluvial or
bedrock must be conducted. The design should be planned with as little
change as possible to carry the sediment load. Computer models can be
utilized to monitor stability.
Skidmore, P. B., Shields, F. D., Doyle, M. W., and Miller, D. E.,
2001, A Categorization of Approaches to Natural Channel Design: ASCE
River Restoration Conference, Reno, NV.
This paper categorizes common approaches used in natural channel
design. Analog approaches make use of historic or adjacent channel
characteristics. Analog approaches can only be used under equilibrium
sediment and hydrologic conditions. Empirical approaches use large
regional or universal data sets to derive channel characteristics.
Empirical approaches also assume equilibrium sediment and hydrologic
conditions. Analytical approaches use the continuity equation,
roughness equations, hydraulic models, and sediment transport functions
to develop design characteristics. The use of modeling and equations
allow the analytical approach to be applied in conditions that are not
in equilibrium. Analog and empirical approaches are simple to apply.
Analytical approaches require more data, time, and training to apply,
but is the only approach that can be used if the site is not in
Copeland, R. R., McComas, D. N., Thorne, C. R., Soar, P. J., Jonas,
M. M., and Fripp, J. B., 2001, Hydraulic design of stream restoration
projects (ERDC/CHL TR-01-28): US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and
Hydraulics Laboratory, Vicksburg, MS. 109 p., appendices.
This comprehensive stream restoration manual is an introductory source
for stream restoration and design. It covers a variety of topics and
methods used in modern stream restoration. The manual places a strong
emphasis on effective planning of restoration projects, hydraulic
design, stability analyses, and methods for understanding given stream
The River Continuum Concept
Allan, J. D., 1995, The river continuum concept, in Allan,
J. D., ed., Stream Ecology Structure and Function of Running Waters:
London, Chapman & Hall p. 276-281.
This paper concentrates on the river continuum concept, a set of
correlations that attempt to describe ecologic settings along the
length of a river or stream based upon stream order, morphology,
organic matter, food webs, energy pathways, and other variables.
Site-specific or regional conditions will sometimes prove the model
ultimately incorrect. While the concept may be correct on a broad
spectrum, many streams do not fit the model and therefore the river
continuum concept has met resistance.
Power, M. E. and Dietrich, W. E., 2002, Food webs in river networks:
Ecological Research, v. 17, p. 451-471.
The authors explore classical and recent ideas for controls on food
chain length in river food webs. Classical hypotheses for controls on
food chain length that are discussed include: productivity/efficiency -
chains should lengthen as fluxes of limiting energy resources increase
in frequency and magnitude or as consumers increase resource
sequestering and/or conversion efficiency; disturbance/stability -
chains should be shorter in more frequently disturbed environments; and
design constraints - e.g., it would be impossible to subdue a
pterodactyl predator because an organism large enough to capture it
would be physically unable to fly. The one control discussed, shown to
strongly influence food chain length in recent research is habitat
size. Recent research in lakes and other environments has shown that
larger habitats support larger taxa, and most food webs are strongly
size structured with the largest organisms occupying the highest
trophic levels. The authors then discuss how these controls vary across
positions within drainage networks where energy sources, habitat
structure, and disturbance regimes differ between channels and adjacent
Sun, G., McNulty, S. G., Amatya, D. M., Skaggs, R. W., Swift, Jr.,
L. W., Shepard, J. P., and Riekerk, H., 2002, A comparison of watershed
hydrology of coastal forested wetlands and the mountainous uplands in
the Southern US: Journal of Hydrology, v. 263, p. 92-104.
This paper compares seasonal runoff patterns, water balances, and storm
flow patterns in three different watersheds in the southern United
States representing three different forest ecosystems. The ecosystems
represented include a hilly upland watershed covered with native
hardwoods located in western North Carolina, a costal wetland watershed
with a mature loblolly pine plantation in eastern North Carolina, and
another costal wetland with an unmanaged mature cypress-pine plantation
in the Florida panhandle. The inland hilly watershed had a higher water
yield than the costal wetlands. The hilly watershed also had continuous
streamflow throughout the year while the costal wetlands did not.
Stormflow peaks were normally higher in the hilly watershed except in
extremely wet conditions when the storage capacity of the wetlands was
full before the storm event. The authors conclude that climate is the
most important factor affecting water balances, while topography plays
an important role in streamflow and stormflow.
Fluvial Geomorphology & Adaptation to Streams & Bottomlands
Rabeni, C. F., and Jacobson, R. B., 1993, The importance of fluvial
hydraulics to fish-habitat restoration in low-gradient alluvial
streams: Freshwater Biology, v. 29, p. 211-220.
Rabeni and Jacobson describe management options to restoration of fish
habitats. Rabeni and Jacobson's study focused on low-gradient streams
in the Ozark Plateau of the central U.S. and the preferred habitats of
the smallmouth bass and northern hog sucker. Aquatic habitats are first
classified according to associated geomorphic qualities and fluvial
dynamics. Important to the habitat classification are geomorphic
characteristics such as point bars, cutbanks and bedrock bluffs, as
well as fluvial characteristics like riffles, pools, obstruction pools,
islands and chutes. The habitats are then ranked according to temporal
stability and degree of economic manipulation (ie., cost-effective
construction). Additionally, the habitat preferences of the fish in
question are defined in terms of the classified habitats. Hydraulic
parameters (e.g., velocity, depth, etc.) also figure into the
classification. The application of the hydraulic habitat units to fish
restoration requires knowledge of the longitudinal change in natural
habitats (i.e., geomorphic and fluvial features) found in a stream and
how the habitats are used by fish. Finally, the economics and ease of
restoring the various habitats must be evaluated.
Hupp, C. R., 1988, Plant ecological aspects of flood geomorphology
and paleoflood history, in Baker, V. R., Kochel, R. C., and
Patton, P. C., eds., Flood Geomorphology: New York, John Wiley and
Sons, p. 335-356.
Online linkage: http://ereserves.lib.wvu.edu/
Log in with account name "Kite" and password "321"
Click on "GEOG 321" and click on "hupp-plant-0.pdf"
Hupp assesses the utility of bottomland vegetation distribution
patterns and vegetation damage to flood reconstruction, flood
prediction and paleoflood history studies. He focuses his study on the
vegetation and fluvial features common to high-energy streams. Two
significant effects of floods on bottomland vegetation are the
establishment of new areas of growth (e.g., point bars) and the damage
that is subsequently indicated by anomalous growth patterns or stem
deformations. Hydro-geomorphic conditions that can be inferred from
these two effects include flow duration, flood intensity and frequency.
Hupp first identifies the fluvial landforms, their propensity to be
affected by floods and the vegetation established on them as a result.
He notes that the frequency and duration of inundation of the various
landforms determine the vegetation types that subsequently become
established on each. Higher stream gradients influence discharge
variables and are positively related to increased flooding and
vegetation species diversity. Paleofloods can be reconstructed through
dendro-geomorphology, ie., damage to bottomland trees by floods is
reflected their tree rings. In addition to ring anomalies, corrasion
scars, adventitious sprouts and tree age are useful for interpretation
of flood history.
Articles from Stream Notes
USDA Forest Service Stream Systems Technology Center,
Fort Collins, CO
McBain, S., and Trush, B., 2000, Attributes of bedrock sierra nevada
ecosystems: Stream Notes, July 2000.
This paper makes an effort to highlight seven important attributes of
Sierra Nevada bedrock streams. It also attempts to negate common
misconceptions regarding bedrock channel morphology. For example, the
author argues that bedrock streams are complex depositional
environments instead of scoured channels that are insensitive to flow.
Large flows are required to maintain bedrock streams and only through
larger flows can native ecosystems maintain themselves.
Furniss, M. J., Flanagan, S. A., and McFadin, B., 2000,
Hydrologically-connected roads: an indicator of the influence of roads
on chronic sedimentation, surface water hydrology, and exposure to
toxic chemicals: Stream Notes, July 2000.
Online linkage: http://www.stream.fs.fed.us/news/index.html.
Roads are hydrologically connected to the stream network when overland
flows are continuous between roads and streams. The extent of
hydrologic connectivity in a stream network then serves as an indicator
of the potential adverse affects of roads to streams. Units of
connectivity can be expressed in length or proportion of road
connected. Hydrologic connectivity is associated with greater runoff,
excess sediments, and chemical pollution. Several avenues exist for
these consequences: ditches at stream crossings, ditches from cross
drains, juxtaposition of road and stream, and landslides and landslide
scars along streams. Several inexpensive treatments are possible to
disconnect roads from streams: drain ditches into the forest floor to
reduce sediment load, decrease cross-drain spacing, structures that
retard flow and sediment, and road surface outsloping.
Merritt, D. M., and Wohl, E. E., 2003, The importance of hydrochory
(water dispersal of seeds) in free-flowing and regulated rivers: Stream
Notes, April 2003.
Online linkage: http://www.stream.fs.fed.us/news/index.html.
Dispersal of seeds by water is an important structuring agent for plant
communities along rivers. Marked seeds were followed in a flume under
natural and modified hydrologic regimes to determine the pattern and
mechanisms of seed transport. Most all seeds were flushed from the
flume in the ascending hydrologic regime. The stepped descending regime
had more seeds deposited than the smooth descending regime. Natural
flows do not necessarily deposit more seeds. Thus, a modified
hydrologic regime as below reservoirs can be adjusted to deposit seeds
at selected times and locations. More seeds were deposited in areas of
slow flow in the flume. There are two plant strategies that synchronize
dispersal timing and flow regime: early dispersers that may later
desiccate and late dispersers that may later be scoured. Specialists
are vulnerable to modifications to flow, but flow adjustments can be
made in artificial settings to encourage native species. This approach
would be more cost effective than large scale plantings without
compromising the benefits of dams.
Goodwin, C. N., 1999, Improving future fluvial classification
systems: Stream Notes, October 1999.
Goodwin notes that classification is important for creating order out
of chaos or for ordering observations and descriptions. As such, it
usually occurs early on in the process of a new scientific field. With
progress, classification facilitates the development of empirically
based laws and finally the development of theory. Goodwin applies this
progression to the field of fluvial studies, noting several fluvial
classification schemes and listing ten recommendations to improve
future fluvial classifications. Goodwin concludes that classifications
are important tools in fluvial studies, but that they are only a small
part of a larger scientific process that includes hypotheses, theories,
laws and models.
Potyondy, J., and Schmidt, L., 1999, Why do we exaggerate stream
channel cross-section plots? The case for true scale plotting: Stream
Notes, October 1999.
Potyondy and Schmidt discuss the effects of vertical exaggeration of
stream channel cross-sections on perceptions by the reader. They
illustrate how vertically exaggerated cross-sections can lead to
misinterpretations of the pictorial data. Particularly troublesome is
the incorrect conclusions that unaware viewers may make regarding river
behavior. For example, vertically exaggerated channels may appear to
have a narrow floodplain, whereas a true-scale plot would reveal a wide
floodplain. The authors recommend using as close to true-scale as is
feasible and even using panoramic pictures to better communicate the
true geomorphic nature of the stream.
Trieste, D. J., 2000, Mannings equation and the internal combustion
engine: Stream Notes, April 2000.
This short discussion was written to intrigue the reader to inquire
about possible better solutions to flow problems than the Manning's
equation. It does this by making a comparison between Manning's
equation and the internal combustion engine, which were developed in
the second half on the 19th century. The author suggests that
advancements have been made with the internal combustion engine over
time but the Manning's equation still takes the same form as it did
when it was first created.
Anonymous, 2001, Mountain Rivers: Stream Notes, October 2001.
This is a review and summary of a book entitled "Mountain Rivers," by
Dr. Ellen Wohl. The book provides a simple definition for the term
"mountain river:" a river located in a mountainous region. In addition,
the book provides an overview of typical physical and basic biological
characteristics observed in mountain river systems: steep channel
gradient; high channel roughness and resistance; highly turbulent flow;
stochastic sediment movement; strong seasonal discharge regime;
spatially variable channel morphology; potentially high sediment yields
following disturbance; and a longitudinal zonation of aquatic and
riparian biota. This book is ideal for those who need to catch up with
the latest literature on mountain rivers or as a spot reference for
those already familiar with river processes and forms.
Sylte, T. L., 2002, Providing for stream function and aquatic
organism passage: An interdisciplinary design: Stream Notes, January
Historically culverts have not been designed for stream function or
organism passage. They have been designed for hydraulic efficiency
alone. Bedload and debris passage have been ignored, causing blockage
within the culvert, along with ponding and deposition behind it. These
blockages inhibit fish movement, and when culverts restrict stream
width the velocity in the pipe can be too fast for smaller and younger
fish to pass. In low flows depths may be inadequate for movement. When
backwater conditions are created at the inlet, erosion occurs at the
outlet, often with a perch height to great for organisms to pass.
Properly designed culverts large enough to handle bankfull, and new
technologies, such as bottomless culverts, can allow stream processes
to continue normally.
Rains, M. C., 2003, Hydrogeological principles useful in predicting
the effects of streamflow alsterations on shallow groundwater and
associated riparian vegetation: Stream Notes, July 2003.
Interactions between stream flow and groundwater can be complex, but
can be broken down into four major categories -Shallow groundwater
recharged by stream with no lateral spreading -Shallow groundwater
recharged by stream with extensive lateral spreading -Shallow
groundwater recharged by regional groundwater -Mixing of conditions
If stream flow is recharging the shallow groundwater, alterations in
flow can have a profound impact on the groundwater and riparian
vegetation, if there is lateral spreading. In cases where the shallow
groundwater is recharged by the regional groundwater there is very
little effect. In a mixed situation, the effects are not always
consistent or clear.
Anonymous, 1993, Would the Real Bankfull Please Stand Up!: Stream
Notes, April 1993.
The concept of bankful stage is simple, but field interpretation for a
given stream or reach can be difficult and potentially ambiguous. This
article addresses the differing views of engineers and geomorphologists
in the context of a Federal court case, the subject of the subsequent
article in the same issue of Stream Notes. The US Forest Service was
denied water rights it had claimed, and this article appears to be a
response to that legal decision. Engineers view bankfull as equivalent
in elevation to the "valley flat", which often contains properties
subject to economic damage during floods. Geomorphologists view
bankfull stage as a phenomenon of the "active floodplain", the product
of current climatic conditions and subject to annual flooding, in
contrast to the 50-year or 100-year events of concern to the built-up
valley flat. The active floodplain, or simply floodplain, may coincide
with the valley flat in some mountain streams. Entrenched channels are
a clear case where they are not equivalent. The short format of Stream
Notes is well suited to this discussion of a particular concept and its
application in a specific case. More complex articles may only be able
to touch on the main points. The reader should gain from this article
insite into the potential ambiguities involved in the practical
determination of bankful stage.
Fitzgerald, J., and Clifton, C., 1998, Flooding Land Use, and
Watershed Response in the Blue Mountains of Oregon and Washington:
Stream Notes, January 1998.
This article presents a summary of the analysis of flooding and mass
wasting events that occurred in response to heavy rain and rapid snow
melt on the Umatilla, Walla Walla, Tucannon and Wenaha Rivers during
November 1995 and February 1996. Many debris flows and slides were
associated with roads or logging activity. Discharge was estimated
using the indirect slope-area method. USGS regional flood equations
were used to estimate frequency. Fluvial channel responses, which
varied with elevation and land use, included scouring, aggradation,
lateral channel migration and a build-up of large woody debris.
Culverts in the study area were generally designed to accommodate the
experienced flows but often became clogged with coarse sediment or
large woody debris. Most fish habitat structures survived the flooding.
The results suggest, however, that such structures should "work with
fluvial processes" and avoid "rigid" construction. Other
recommendations included improvements to culvert design, assessment of
mass wasting potential, sediment catchment basins and cost-benefit
analysis for decomissioning versus repairing damaged sites. This study
is difficult to present in the brief Stream Notes format, though the
authors do provide information that will lead the reader to the full
text version. Valuable information is presented but full assessment
will be possible only with the full text. Land use issues in particular
are not well documented within the article.
Reference Reaches and Hydraulic Geometry Data
Messinger, T., and Wiley, J. B., 2004, Regional relations in
bankfull channel characteristics determined from flow measurements at
selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia, 1911-2002: U.S.
Geological Survey Investigations Report 03-4276, p. 1-43.
The authors of this publication used available stream gage data from 74
gages in West Virginia with data recorded from 1911-2002 to create
regional models for calculating bankfull discharge and dimensions. They
divided the state in to eastern (Appalachian Plateaus) and western
(Valley and Ridge) regions and developed models that relate bankfull
cross-sectional area to drainage area. The authors also found that
channel characteristics were highly variable for streams by examining
multiple cross-sections for gaging stations. There are several problems
with the data used by the authors. Many cross-sections were at bridges,
which can affect channel shape. Also lack of gages exists for steams
with drainage areas less than 100 sq. mi. While the streams used to
develop models may not be representative of all streams, the authors
believe the equations derived can provide useful insights for
identifying bankfull in the field.
Miller, K. F., 2003, Assessment of channel geometry data through May
2003 in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia,
and West Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Investigations Report 03-388,
The purpose of this paper was to compile stream gage data from small
streams (less than 250 sq. mi. drainage basin) in the Mid-Atlantic
Highlands. Criteria for data selection included streams without
regulation, less than 20% urbanization in the watershed, and minimum of
10 years of gage data. Data was compiled from USGS data and several
other entities in the area to create regional curves. Regional curves
are useful in estimating bankfull discharge and dimensions, which is
important for stream restoration activities. The author reported a lack
of stream gages for basins less than 1 sq mi. This poses a problem
since most restoration activities require regional curve data for small
Wiley, J. B., Atkins, J. T., Jr., and Newell, D. A., 2002,
Estimating the magnitude of annual peak discharges with recurrence
intervals between 1.1 and 3.0 years for rural, unregulated streams in
West Virginia, U. S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations
Report 02-4164, 73 p., 1 plate
Stream restoration requires knowledge of 1.1-3.0 year peak discharges
(bankfull). Stream gages are used to monitor stream flow and collect
flow data that can be used to create models that estimate discharges
for different sized drainage basins. This publication is a compilation
of stream gage data from 236 gages with a minimum of 10 years of data.
Gages were located along rural and unregulated streams in West
Virginia. Least regression was used to create regional equations for
1.1, 1,2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0-year
recurrence intervals for peak discharges. The equations given should be
useful for calculating bankfull discharges in rural and unregulated
Wiley, J. B., Atkins, J. T., Jr., and Tasker, G. D., 2000,
Estimating magnitude and frequency of peak discharges for rural,
unregulated, streams in West Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Water
Resources Investigations Report 00-4080, 90 p.
The US Geological Survey and the West Virginia Department of
Transportation revised equations to estimate the magnitude and
frequency of peak discharges for the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-,
and 500-year recurrence interval. These equations are applicable to
rural, unregulated streams in West Virginia only. They were found by
gathering annual peak stream flows and basin characteristic,
determining the 100-year recurrence interval, and applying multiple and
simple least-squares regression models to the data. The report contains
description of the study area, flood history, and the development of
equations, along with many maps and charts of stream data.
Paleohydraulics, Paleohydrology: Bedload Competence
Jarrett, R. D., and Tomlinson, E. M., 2000, Regional
interdisciplinary paleoflood approach to assess extreme flood
potential: Water Resources Research, v. 36, no. 10, p. 2957-2984.
Knowledge of extreme flood events is important to the design and
engineering of dams for risk assessment. A cost effective,
interdisciplinary approach was applied to the Elkhead Reservoir in
northwestern Colorado. A site-specific paleoflood study was conducted
for the Elkhead Creek Basin, as well as a probable maximum
precipitation (PMP) study for the area. Regional paleoflood and
precipitation studies were also carried out, and relative dating
techniques defined record length. Envelope curves were made for both
modern and prehistoric data, and flood frequency data was combined from
both regional and basinal data using expected moments algorithm. This
type of study can be effective in many other hydrometeorologic setting
to assess flood potential.
Costa, J. E., 1983, Paleohydraulic reconstruction of flash flood
peaks from boulder deposits in the Colorado Front Range: Geological
Society of America Bulletin, v. 94, p. 986-1004.
Using the size of large boulders moved during floods in steep, bedrock
channels, large paleofloods could be reconstructed. This method is
described for nine watersheds in the Colorado Front Range. The middle
axes of the five largest boulders are averaged to determine velocity.
Discharge is calculated from width, determined from cross sections, and
depth, found using the Manning's equations. This method was generally
found to underestimate slope-area calculations, possibly because larger
boulders could be moved, roughness coefficients could be
underestimated, or macroturbulence may affect velocity. This method can
be used on streams with no other direct discharge estimates.
Paleohydrology:Slackwater-Deposits Step-Backwater Methods
Springer, G. S., 2002, Caves and their potential use in paleoflood
studies, in House, P. K., Webb, R.H., Baker, V.R., and Levish,
D.R., eds., Ancient Floods, Modern Hazards: Principles and Applications
of Paleoflood Hydrology: American Geophysical Union Water Science and
Application Series, v. 5, p. 329-343.
Springer addresses the usefulness of subterranean paleoflood deposits
in paleoflood studies. He reviews previous works in this area, reasons
why karst and fluvial studies are estranged, and how this estrangement
has hindered the use of caves in paleo-geomorphic research. Most
notably, he notes that paleoflood studies using slackwater deposits
have traditionally focused on arid or semi-arid regions, where
preservation potential is higher, and are lacking in humid regions
(e.g., the eastern U.S.). Springer discusses the preservation potential
and usefulness of slackwater sediments in true caves, which he
distinguishes from cave-like shelters or alcoves and defines as voids
with lengths exceeding entrance widths. If caves or cave systems are
aligned with surface streams, it is likely that they were established
by flow from streams, rather than by groundwater. Therefore, when
stream systems flood, the cave systems may act to transport floodwaters
and accumulate deposits that record the flood event. Springer notes
that water-borne sediments in caves range from clay to boulders and can
form allostratigraphic packages. Individual events are bound by scour
surfaces, mud-cracked planes, organic horizons and even soils.
Sediments are coarsest at cave mouths and fine with depth into the
cave. In general, slackwater sediments are found at a level below silt
lines that mark the height of the flood. The humid and relatively warm
temperatures of caves in the eastern U.S. promote decay and
bioturbation of slackwater deposits, limiting its usefulness in
Kite, J. S., Gebhardt T. W., and Springer, G. S., 2002, Slackwater
deposits as paleostage indicators in canyon reaches of the Central
Appalachians: reevaluation after the 1996 Cheat River flood: in
House, P. K., Webb, R.H., Baker, V.R., and Levish, D.R., eds., Ancient
Floods, Modern Hazards: Principles and Applications of Paleoflood
Hydrology: American Geophysical Union Water Science and Application
Series, v. 5, p. 257-266.
Kite, et al., discuss the usefulness of slackwater deposits as
paleostage indicators by comparing slackwater evidence from two large
floods on the Cheat River in West Virginia. They found that the
accuracy of stage, as determined by slackwater sediments, varied based
on the landscape on which they repose. For example, they found that
deposits in caves or on sheltered terraces were closer to high-water
marks than those at tributary mouths. Also, the availability of good
deposit sites affects the usefulness of slackwater sediments in
paleoflood studies. This became evident when comparing the slackwater
sediments of the 1985 and 1996 floods on the Cheat River. The 1985
floodwaters completely inundated the floodplain and terraces before
being confined by the steep bedrock canyon walls. Steep slopes are not
conducive to accumulating or preserving slackwater deposits, so useful
slackwater evidence of the 1985 flood stage was scarce. Kite, et al.,
concluded that slackwater deposits from moderate events have a higher
preservation potential than those from extreme events. Finally, the
authors note the susceptibility of slackwater deposits to decay,
reworking and bioturbation. Consequently, the usefulness of slackwater
sediments as paleostage indicators varies from setting to setting.
Debris Flows & Hyperconcentrated Flows I
Campbell, R. H., Varnes, D. J., Fleming, R. W., Hampton, M. A.,
Prior, D. B., Sangrey, D. A., Nichols, D. R., and Brabb, E. E., 1985,
Landslide classification for identification of mud flows and other
landslides, in Campbell, R.H., ed., Feasibility of a nationwide
program for the identification and delineation of hazards from mud
flows and other landslides: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report
85-276, p. A1-A24.
This paper was the first of four chapters of work undertaken for the
U.S. Geological Survey and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to
identify areas susceptible to mudflows and other landslides. It
describes a classification and nomenclature system for different kinds
of landslides making up a continuum of types according to mechanism of
transport and moisture content. Characteristics, triggering events, and
damage were related to the types of landslides. The report adopts
Varnes (1978) (Slope movement types and processes, in Schuster, R. L.,
and Krizek, R. J., eds., Landslides-analysis and control:
transportation research Board Special Report 176, National Academy of
Sciences, p. 11-33) classification system.
Hungr, O., Evans, S. G., Bovis, M. J., and Hutchinson, J. N., 2001,
A review of the classification of landslides of the flow type:
Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, v. 7, p. 221-238.
Hungr, et al., present a topological classification of flow type slope
failures using genetic and morphological aspects of materials rather
than material size limits. Ten classes of landslides are recognized,
defined, and compared to the previously defined classes of other
workers. Classes are discriminated based on material, water content,
flow velocity and attributes unique to the flow called special
conditions. This topological system is important for landslide hazard
assessment. A translation is provided to aid the comparison to existing
Morgan, B. A., Eaton, L. S., and Wieczorek, G. F., 2004, Pleistocene
and holocene colluvial fans and terraces in the Blue Ridge Region of
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File
Report 03-410 (online), 10/28/2004, http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2003/of03-410/
This paper covers the history, geology, and stratigraphy defining
quaternary Colluvial Fans and Terraces in and around Shenandoah
National Park. The purpose of the report is to illustrate the
relationships between geology and those specific landforms. The authors
effectively illustrate these relationships for terraces and Colluvial
fans on both eastern and western fronts of the Blue Ridge. They also
offer a variety of ages relating to landforms studied.
Costa, J. E., and Williams, G. P., 1984, Debris-flow dynamics: U.S.
Geological Survey Open File Report 84-606, 1 VHS videotape.
This video, narrated by John E. Costa, was the first VHS publication
ever issued by the US Geological Survey. It provided information on the
anatomy of debris flows from head to tail as well as how they start and
what conditions typically favor them. All of the footage in this tape
was of natural flows. The video was published after the Mt. St. Helens
eruption but before the Campbell et al. (1985) classification paper.
Therefore, several of the debris flows that they provide footage for
would probably be classified as hyperconsentrated flows. Debris flows
can be very fast and violent or slow and creeping, but either way can
cause extensive damage to anything in their path. It was interesting to
note that the largest boulders always occur at the head of the debris
flow and the tail consists of the most liquid material. Additionally,
sometimes fairly viscous debris flows will occur in waves and each wave
of energy pushes the flow further. The video footage was informative
and fascinating to watch and the soundtrack was inspirational!
Iverson, R. M., 2002, Highlights from USGS Debris Flow Flume
Studies, 1 VHS videotape.
This videotape shows clips of simulated debris flows proceeding down
flumes. The simulations are limited in scale. Extent and size of debris
are relatively small, but nevertheless provide insight into the action
and processes that occur during, and relative to, natural events. There
is no audio on the videotape, which would provide additional sensory
stimulation of the impressive nature of debris flows.
Paleoflood Hydrology I
Baker, V. R., 2002, The study of superfloods: Science, v. 295, p.
Baker acknowledges flaws in the scientific approach to studying
superfloods. This premise is supported by Baker's statement that there
has never been a testable or confirmed theory of superfloods.
Methodological problems and misapplied scientific logic has contributed
to the lack of advancement in knowledge of superfloods. For over one
hundred fifty years the concept of uniformitarianism has confined
interpretation of superflood evidence to the slow-acting, low-magnitude
processes observed today. However, over the last forty years evidence
has accumulated all over the world, and most recently on Mars, pointing
to numerous events of catastrophic superflooding. It is Baker's view
that the scientific method has not been adequately applied to studies
of superfloods, and improvement in this area is needed.
Baker, V. R., and Kochel, R. C., 1988, Flood sedimentation in
bedrock fluvial systems, in Baker, V. R., Kochel, R. C., and
Patton, P. C., eds., Flood Geomorphology: New York, John Wiley and
Sons, p. 123-137.
Baker and Kochel argue in this paper that sedimentation in cataclysmic
flood events is highly different in narrow bedrock channels than in
alluvial channels. Narrow bedrock channels have extremely high stream
power and flow velocities due to their confined shape and lack of
resistance. These systems also develop large-scale bedforms during very
high flood events such as enormous bars and ripples comprised of
coarse- grained sediment. Existing slackwater deposits are rare, but
sometimes recognizable flood stage indicators for these events and are
found most often in tributary mouths.
North Fork Mountain Debris Flow Field Trip
Teets, B., and Young, S., 1985, Killing Waters: The great West
Virginia Flood of 1985: Terra Alta, WV, Cheat River Publishing, 112 p.
This is a collection of newspaper articles, personal accounts, photos,
and facts surrounding the 1985 flood that swept through many areas of
West Virginia. The flood was triggered by hurricanes Juan and Isabel
and affected many West Virginia homes and communities, some of which
were declared national disaster areas. Millions of dollars in property
were destroyed and many lives were lost. The book also covers the
restoration efforts of affected towns and communities. Vivid photos and
shocking accounts illustrate the power behind this enormous flood.
Jacobson, R. B., ed., 1993, Geomorphic studies of the storm and
flood of November 3-5, 1985, in the upper Potomac River basin: U.S.
Geological Survey Bulletin 1981.
Cenderelli, D. A., and Kite, J. S., 1998, Geomorphic effect of large
debris flows on channel morphology at North Fork Mountain, eastern West
Virginia, USA: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 23, p. 1-19.
Online linkage: www.geo.wvu.edu/~kite/cenderelli98-0.pdf
Cenderelli and Kite conclude from extensive field research and mapping
of four debris flows at North Fork Mountain that the geomorphic effects
of these flows are spatially variable and four zones can be delineated.
The failure zone is characterized by a distinct scarp and extensive
erosion. However, the subsequently developed transport/erosion zone is
deeply scoured and the volume of erosion exceeds that of the failure
zone. Further downstream, the deposition zone occurs in third-order
channels and is typified by an abundance of boulders that form lobes,
terraces and levees. Beyond the deposition zone, the hyperconcentrated
flow or sediment-laden floodwaters cause intense erosion of channels
followed by deposition of thin, clast-supported sheet deposits. Debris
flows are effective erosion agents and deposits are often reworked by
floodwaters of adjoining tributaries.
Paleoflood Hydrology II
Dating Methods for Alluvial Deposits and Landforms
Blais-Stevens, A., Clague, J. J., Mathewes, R. W., Hebda, R. J., and
Bornhold, B. D., 2003, Record of large, Late Pleistocene outburst
floods preserved in Saanich Inlet sediments, Vancouver Island, Canada
Quaternary Science Reviews v. 22 p. 2327-2334.
Two anomalous beds of silty clay occur within the highly diatomaceous
sediments in Ocean Drilling Program cores collected from Saanich Inlet,
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. These beds contain tertiary
pollen exotic to eastern Vancouver Island and abundant
illite-muscovite, which are common minerals in the Fraser River
sediments. These silty clay beds are dated at approximately 11,000
calendar years based on radiocarbon dating on shells and wood from just
above and below the beds. The authors hypothesize that these beds were
deposited during large floods which are attributed to the sudden
draining of ice-dammed glacial lakes during glacial retreat (possibly
Glacial Lake Deadman and/or Glacial Lake Fraser). During this draining,
the floods eroded Pleistocene sediments and Tertiary rocks in the
Fraser Valley and some of the sediment was carried in overflow plumes
into Saanich Inlet.
Bierman, P. R., Lini, A., Zehfuss, P., Church, A., Davis, P. T.,
Southon, J., and Baldwin, L., 1997, Postglacial ponds and alluvial
fans: recorders of Holocene landscape history: GSA Today, v. 7, p. 1-8.
The authors examined alluvial fan cross-sections and sediment cores
from ponds in Vermont to describe postglacial (Holocene) hillslope
history. They found that the early and late Holocene hillslopes were
more active with high rates of sediment erosion from slopes and high
rates of sediment deposition in alluvial fans and ponds. Middle
Holocene landscapes were comparatively stable. The active hillslopes of
the late Holocene coincide with deforestation and agricultural
practices associated with the settlement of Europeans. Postglacial
ponds and alluvial fans provide a geologic record of Holocene landscape
history and can provide insight for future landscape activities.
Cosmogenic Dating Methods
Rittenour, T. M., Goble, R. J., and Blum, M. D., 2003, Luminescence
geochronology of late Pleistocene braid channel belts of the
Mississippi River: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 22, p. 1105-1110.
The authors used optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) to estimate
the ages of three channel belts preserved in the northern lower
Mississippi Valley (LMV) west of the Holocene floodplain. The objective
of the research was to use OSL to link the timing of channel-belt
formation to formative agents. The author also compared optical ages to
those proposed from radiocarbon dating by earlier researchers and used
these optical ages to test previous models of channel-belt formation in
the area. They determined that optical ages were in agreement with
radiocarbon dates and that optical dates suggested the belts were
formed during Pleistocene deglaciation and high meltwater discharge.
The OSL technique is valuable because the dating material used
(quartz-rich sand) is ubiquitous in the LMV whereas organic material
sufficient for radiocarbon dating is lacking.
Bierman, P. R., 1994, Using in situ produced cosmogenic isotopes to
estimate rates of landscape evolution: A review from the geomorphic
perspective: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 99, p. 13,885-13,896.
Cosmogenic isotopes are frequently used to study landscape age and
evolution. The author reviews the method and critiques its use by the
geomorphologic community. Cosmogenic isotopes provide information on
erosion rates and ages of geologic surfaces. The author discusses the
interpretation of the data and the assumptions of the methods employed.
The author found all studies using cosmogenic isotopes to date surface
exposure have very high age variability. Generally, rates of erosion as
determined from cosmogenic isotopes are similar in most climates.
Currently, the cosmogenic isotopes method is only useful on relatively
short geologic time scales-shorter than required for investigations of
plate tectonics. The method has its limitation, but the author notes
its future promise as uncertainties are corrected.
Stream Piracy I - Salem Outlet Map Exercise
Goldthwait, R. P., 1991, The Teays Valley problem: a historical
perspective, in Melhorn, W. N., and Kempton, J. P., eds.,
Geology and hydrogeology of the Teays-Mahomet Bedrock Valley System:
Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America Special Paper 258, p. 3-8.
Goldthwait recounts a century's worth of geologic research into the
origin, demise and burial of an ancient fluvial system called the Teays
River. Evidence of the northwestward-draining system has been
documented from the apparent source in Blowing Rock, North Carolina
through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
It is certain that both the Illinoian and Wisconsin stages of the
Pleistocence ice age post-date the system. The extent to which
glaciation interrupted Teays River flow is still being examined.
Extensive lacustrine clays (Minford) testify to the existence of Lake
Tight, believed to have originated consequent to damming of the Teays
River by pre-Illinoian ice. Many intriguing questions remain to be
addressed in the ongoing study of this ancient system including: What
was the primary cause of the complete rearrangement of stream courses
(from NW to SW) in the unglaciated region of southern Ohio? Why are
Teays Valley tributary straths in Indiana much shorter than those in
Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia? A hundred years of research has
revealed much, but much remains unresolved.
Hansen, M. C., 1995, The Teays River: Ohio Division of Geological
Survey GeoFacts No. 10 (online), 12/08/2004,
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/geosurvey/geo_fact/geo_f10.htm , 2 p.
Teays River was formed in the Tertiary Period and drained most of the
modern day east-central United States. The Teays originated in western
North Carolina and flowed across Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois where it emptied into the then much larger Gulf
of Mexico. Some question exists as to whether the river actually flowed
north through Ohio into the ancient Erigan River. Bedrock-topography
maps may help determine the actual course of the Teays. Glaciers in the
Pleistocene created a large lake named Lake Tight in southern Ohio,
which caused the destruction of the Teays. The lake existed for an
estimated 6,500 years and filled to an elevation over 900 feet before
it spilled over drainage divides creating a new drainage system
including part of the present day Ohio River. In Ohio, evidence of the
Teays includes flat-bottomed valleys in unglaciated southern Ohio and
deep, sediment filled valleys in glaciated parts of Ohio. In West
Virginia evidence includes the valleys of the modern New River and
Stream Piracy II - The response
Kinziger, A. P., and Raesly, R. L., 2001, A Narrow Hybrid Zone
Between Two Cottus Species in Wills Creek, Potomac Drainage: The
Journal of Heredity v. 92, no. 4, p. 309-314.
The authors describe a hybrid zone between two sculpin species (Cottus
bairdi bairdi and C. caeruleomentum) as a result of stream capture that
transferred C. b. bairdi to C. caeruleomentum's geographic range.
Allozymes, morphological characters, and spawning coloration
distinguish the species where stream capture intermixed the species.
Allozyme differences distinguish the hybrids from parental species.
Genotypes that distinguished the species were mixed in the hybrids.
Hybrids were more heterozygous and polymorphic for 20 loci examined.
Morphological variables that distinguished the species were different
in the hybrids suggesting secondary contact for the origin of hybrids.
The authors calculated that the hybrid zone was narrow compared to the
dispersal rate of the fishes and that gene flow was intermediate. That
the parental species are distinct from hybrids suggests that the
hybrids are on a unique evolutionary trajectory.
Howard, J.H., and Morgan, R.P., 1993, Allozyme variation in the
mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi): a test of stream capture hypotheses:
Copeia, 1993, p. 870-875.
Evidence for stream capture has typically involved inference from
drainage history and faunal composition and distribution. This study
examined the genetic composition of sedentary sculpin (Cottus bairdi)
populations on opposite sides of the Eastern Continental Divide in
western Maryland and southwestern Pennsylvania to test specific
hypotheses of stream capture events. Populations on opposite sides of
the divide that have similar allelic frequencies would support claims
of stream capture. Streams pairs where capture was proposed had sculpin
populations with shared alleles. The stream pair without evidence of
drainage diversions had sculpin populations that did not share alleles.
In all stream pairs where stream capture occurred heterozygosity
between sculpin populations was lower. This study showed that genetic
analysis of populations is a useful alternate tool to investigate
stream capture events.
Human-Impacts on Streams:
PSA (Post-Settlement Alluvium), PSS (Post-Settlement Surfaces) and
other Legacies of Euro-American Land Use
Trimble, S. W., 1983, A sediment budget for Coon Creek Basin in the
Driftless Area, Wisconsin, 1853-1977: American Journal of Science, v.
283, p. 454-474.
Trimble uses Coon Creek Basin in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin to
determine how sediment moves through a system over time. As sediment
erodes it can either be stored on the toes of slopes as colluvium or on
floodplains as alluvium, or be carried by the stream out of the system.
Trimble uses three graphical methods to determine the sediment yield.
The first method provides a mean over a long time, which shows that
storage is the largest part of the budget. The second method compares
deposition at different parts of the basin using flood plain
cross-sections. It shows variability though time, but not through
space. The third technique compares sediment movement both spatially
and temporally, showing the complexity of the budget. His results show
that after European settlement, sediment storage increased greatly,
although the yield did not alter much. This is because sediment yield
is limited by the transport capacity of the stream, and the storage to
yield ratio can vary throughout time and space.
Jacobson, R. B., and Coleman, D. J., 1986, Stratigraphy and recent
floodplain evolution of Maryland Piedmont flood plains: American
Journal of Science, v. 286, p. 617-637.
This paper deals with determining three distinct recent time periods
responsible for piedmont Maryland’s upper floodplain stratigraphy. The
author used multiple cutbanks, cross-valley stratigraphic sections, and
cores to determine these three periods. The periods are as follows:
pre-1730 or pre-European settlement, 1730-1930, and post 1930. These
three periods were found to be significant because of the types of
floodplain deposits representing each period and have been historically
linked with agricultural practices.
Jacobson, R. B., Femmer, S.F., and McKenney, R., 2001, Land-Use
Changes and the Physical Habitat of Streams: U.S. Geological Survey
Circular 1175, 63 p.
The landscape has undergone significant change since European
settlement. Resource managers need to understand the effects of
land-use changes on the physical habitat in streams for better
management and restoration activities. Land-use and stream interactions
are complex typically involving altered runoff and sediment yields,
while channel scale disturbances such as mining, livestock grazing, and
channelization often increase stream energy. Land-use changes and
channel disturbances affect the depth, velocity, substrate, cover, and
temperature of streams. These features make the physical habitat for
stream biota. The authors review research done on land-use/stream
interactions and provide information to aid resource managers in
predicting changes to physical habitat from channel and watershed
Flood-Flow Modelling II
HEC-RAS (Hydrologic Engineering Centers River Analysis System): U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers (online), 12/08/2004, http://www.hec.usace.army.mil/software/hec-ras/hecras-hecras.html.
Student Topics / Presentation Background Readings
Sims, P., 2003, Previous actors and current influences: Trends and
fashions in physical geography, in Trudgill, S., and Roy, A.,
eds., Contemporary meanings in physical geography: London, Arnold, p.
This essay provides a summary of the development of physical geography,
mainly through geomorphology. Sims reviews the beginnings of the
discipline, starting with James Hutton and then discussing the
importance of William Morris Davis’s work. He notes the change from
theorization to quantitative research, mainly through work on fluvial
processes. Process studies dominated in the 1960s, and numerical models
were popular research tools as technology allowed advanced modeling
capabilities. With the discovery of widespread glaciation, Quaternary
research advanced knowledge of glacial and periglacial environments, as
well as information on the affects of climate change on landscapes.
This has great implications for humans today and in the future, and
research is ongoing about how landscapes react to change, either from
climate or man. The author believes that an understanding of the
history of physical geography is imperative to the future research.
Rice, S. P., Greenwood, M. T., and Joyce, C. B., 2001, Tributaries,
sediment sources, and the longitudinal organisation of
macroinvertebrate fauna along river systems: Canadian Journal of
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, v. 58, p. 824-840.
At moderate spatial scales, the physico-chemical conditions in main
channels can change abruptly at tributary mouths due to addition of
water and sediment. Therefore, the longitudinal gradient in conditions
along rivers is rarely continuous, but rather is punctuated by shifts
in bed character, water quality, and water volume, which have
consequences for the longitudinal organization of riverine biota. The
authors discuss these shifts in character and discuss how tributaries
reconfigure the river system into a series of successive links as a
result. They proposed the 'link discontinuity concept' that emphasizes
the changes in geomorphological and hydrological variables at tributary
mouths to affect spatial organization of macroinvertebrates along
rivers. In a test of their model the authors found that
macroinvertebrate samples from sites that straddled lateral sources of
sediment (LSS) at tributary mouths and at landslides were very
different in composition. Between LSS's, macroinvertebrate sample
characteristics gradually changed downstream within the sedimentary
links. Thus, abrupt changes in macroinvertebrates that were associated
with the abrupt step-changes in sediment characteristics would have
been considered noise had larger spatial scale models (i.e., the river
continuum concept) been utilized that do not incorporate the impact of
Donovan, J. D., and Rose, A. W., 1992, The chemical jump: Hydrologic
control of brine reaction path within calcareous glacial aquifers and
alkaline lakes, semi-arid northern Great Plains, USA: in
Kharaka, Y.K., and Maest, A.S., eds., Proceedings - International
symposium on water-rock interactions: v. 7, p. 639-642.
This short paper examines the chemical jump between groundwater and
lake water chemistry in saline lakes in northwestern North Dakota and
northeastern Montana. Lake chemistry in this region is strongly
correlated to aquifer characteristics due to the high occurrence of
groundwater fed lakes. Carbonate, glacially derived aquifers cause high
amounts of dissolved solids in groundwater. Rapid calcite and aragonite
precipitation is common as groundwater enters the lake environment.
Warren, Jr., M. L. and Pardew, M. G., Road crossings as barriers to
small-stream fish movement: Transactions of the American Fisheries
Society, v. 127, p. 637-644.
In this experiment, the researchers used mark-recapture techniques to
compare fish movement effects of four different types of road
crossings: culvert, slab, open-box, and ford crossings. They assessed
movement for 21 fish species. Movement was an order of magnitude lower
through culverts than through other crossings or natural reaches. The
number of species that successfully traversed crossings and movement
within three of four fish families at culverts were reduced at culverts
relative to other types of crossings. The researchers also observed
that stream segments above crossings retained more species than the
segments below crossings. They attribute this to excessive scouring and
sedimentation downstream due to spring spates and excess velocity
through the culvert barrel due to flow constriction. Additionally,
water velocity through crossings was inversely related to fish
Jones, J.A., Swanson, F.J., Wemple, B.C., and Snyder, K.U., 2000,
Effects of roads on hydrology, geomorphology, and disturbance patches
in stream networks: Conservation Biology, v. 14, p.76-85.
Roads have many effects on watersheds, and the authors create a
framework for how road and stream interactions may affect geomorphology
and stream ecosystems. On a landscape scale, peak flows and debris
flows are geomorphic forces that are influenced by roads and affect
aquatic and stream ecosystem patch dynamics. Roads often increase the
magnitude and frequency of peak flows and debris flows within
watersheds. Increased disturbances to ecosystems may reduce the amount
of refuge areas that serve as sources for organisms to later recolonize
disturbed areas. Detecting the influence of roads is difficult due to
the complex nature of geomorphic processes and their effects on
biological communities. Future studies in stream ecology should
incorporate the density of the road network within the watershed, road
crossings on the stream, and any predisposition for debris flows or
large peak flows within the area.