Debris Flow Monitoring at Chalk Cliffs, CO (2014)
The USGS and its cooperators have installed debris-flow monitoring equipment in the largest drainage basin at Chalk Cliffs, CO. Data collection at this site supports research on the hydrologic factors that control debris-flow initiation, entrainment, and flow dynamics.
This debris flow took place August 1, 2014. The video includes two different views of an instrumented reach of the channel. Instruments measure rainfall, flow stage, and ground vibrations. The data are described in 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.
Chalk Cliffs, located 8 miles southwest of Buena Vista, CO, is one of the most active debris-flow areas in the state. Typically one or more debris flows occur each year after intense or prolonged rainfall. The debris flows are triggered by surface-water runoff over loose material stored in channels.