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Debris-flow monitoring data, Chalk Cliffs, Colorado, USA, 2014

May 31, 2020

This data release includes 2014 time-series data from three debris-flow monitoring stations at Chalk Cliffs in Chaffee County, Colorado, USA. The data were collected to help identify the triggering conditions, magnitude, and mobility of debris flows at the site. The three stations are located sequentially along a channel draining the 0.3 km^2 study area. The Upper, Middle, and Lower stations have respective drainage areas of 0.06, 0.16, and 0.24 km^2. The location (UTM zone 13) of each station is: 396826E/4287851N (Upper), 396893E/ 4287815N (Middle), and 396929E/4287712N (Lower). See also "ChalkStationLocations.jpg" in the README.zip file.

The 2014 data includes three types of time series: (1) 1-minute time series of rainfall recorded by tipping bucket rain gages at each station, (2) 10-Hz time series of flow stage recorded by laser distance meters at each station, and (3) 333-Hz time series of ground vibrations and basal normal force at the Upper station only. Ground vibrations were recorded by two 4.5 Hz triaxial geophones separated by 18 m along the channel. Basal normal force was recorded by a 232 cm^2 force plate installed in the bedrock channel bed directly beneath the laser distance meter. The 10-Hz stage data is collected only when it is raining due to data storage limitations. Similarly, the 333-Hz ground motion and force data are provided only during significant flow events. These events occurred on 4 July 2014, 31 July 2014, 1 August 2014, 4 August 2014, and 6 August 2014. The first three events are primarily debris flows and the last two events are debris floods. Note that the rain gage at the Lower station, which is partially shielded by a near-vertical cliff, is used primarily as a trigger for sampling 10-Hz stage data rather than providing an accurate representation of rainfall at the station.

Details of the sensors and photos of each station are contained in the "README.zip" file. The file also contains formulas for (1) converting the distance between the laser and the flow surface (or stationary bed surface) to stage above the datum for each station, and (2) converting the raw voltage readings from the geophones and force plate transducer into engineering units of ground velocity and normal force, respectively.

Additional details of the study are provided in the journal articles:

McCoy, S. W., J. W. Kean, J. A. Coe, G. E. Tucker, D. M. Staley, and T. A. Wasklewicz (2012), Sediment entrainment by debris flows: In situ measurements from the headwaters of a steep catchment, J. Geophys. Res., 117, F03016, doi:10.1029/2011JF002278.

Kean, J. W., J. A. Coe, V. Coviello, J. B. Smith, S. W. McCoy, and M. Arattano (2015), Estimating rates of debris flow entrainment from ground vibrations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL064811.

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