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Debris flows in Grand Canyon National Park: Peak discharges, flow transformations, and hydrographs

December 31, 1997

Direct measurements of debris-flow hydrograph and flow behavior in remote drainage areas are rare. We infer hydrographs and flow behavior for recent debris flow in bedrock tributaries of the Colorado River from preserved stratigraphic relations, sedimentology and surface morphology of debris fans and evidence of flow-surface elevations. We propose that 3 types of debris-flow hydrographs occur in Grand Canyon: Type I flows have a single debris-flow peak followed by recessional 'hyperconcentrated flow' or streamflow; Type II flows have multiple debris-flow peaks with intervening 'hyperconcentrated flow' and (or) streamflow phases; and Type III flows begin as either Type I or Type II flows, but late-stage recessional streamflow is higher than the stage(s) of the debris-flow phase(s) and extensively reworks debris-flow deposits of buries them beneath streamflow sand and gravel. Field evidence shows that debris-flow peaks last for seconds to minutes, while recessional flows have durations of several hours to a day.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1997
Title Debris flows in Grand Canyon National Park: Peak discharges, flow transformations, and hydrographs
DOI
Authors Theodore S. Melis, Robert Webb, Peter G. Griffiths
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70216722
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Rocky Mountain Regional Office