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ADV point measurements within rapids of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon

December 31, 2006

Rapids on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon attract over 20,000 white-water enthusiasts a year and are considered one of the premiere collections of rapids in North America. While this collection of rapids is an important recreational resource, relatively little is known of the specific hydraulics of individual rapids. Flow measurements are occasionally made in the low-velocity reaches between rapids, but the turbulent and dangerous nature of rapids makes in-situ data collection challenging. The present study measured hydraulics within a small rapid in Grand Canyon as well as an alluvial reach of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon using a Sontek Argonaut acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV)2. The ADV was mounted near the center-front of a motor-powered 19-foot J-snout boat; the instrument sample volume was located 80 cm below the surface. The quality of the measurements was best in the slower water above the rapid and in Glen Canyon. Waves, aeration, and high-velocity water rendered specific measurements in the core of the rapid difficult as the ADV instrument could only measure velocities less than about 3.0 m/s. Nonetheless, velocity, bathymetry, and water-surface maps were constructed for the rapid and the reach in Glen Canyon. The compiled data sets can be used for predicting the erosion potential of debris fans forming the rapid and the development of numerical models to better characterize rapids.

Publication Year 2006
Title ADV point measurements within rapids of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon
DOI 10.1061/40856(200)158
Authors Christopher S. Magirl, Peter G. Griffiths, Robert Webb
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70216708
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Rocky Mountain Regional Office