Francis Rengers

Biography

General Research Statement: 

I investigate landslide and debris flow processes, primarily after wildfire. My work leverages high-resolution topography from airborne and ground-based lidar, as well as drone-based structure-from-motion, to characterize the controls on mass movement after wildfire.  I also use modeling and field-instrumentation to characterize how wildfire creates the hydrologic and soil conditions that lead to sedimentation hazards. My work is primarily focused in the semi-arid portions of the Western United States, and I have worked on projects in Australia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. In addition, I serve as an adjunct professor at the Colorado School of Mines, I advise USGS post-docs, and I am currently serving on Ph.D. thesis committees at several universities.

Google Scholar Profile

Research Gate

Education:

  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 2014. The Influence of Transient Perturbations on Landscape Evolution: Exploring Gully Erosion and Post-Wildfire Erosion.
  • M. S., Geology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 2005.  Grain Size Trends of Gravel Bars on the Rio Chagres, Panama
  • B. S., Geology, Summa Cum Laude, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. 2003. Spatial Analysis of Landforms on Reclaimed Surface Mines of Monongalia County 
  • B. A., French, Summa Cum Laude, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. 2003

Professional Appointments: 

2016-present                        Research Geologist

2014-2016                            Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Staley, D.M., Kean, J.W., Rengers, F.K. 2020. The recurrence interval of post-fire debris-flow generating rainfall in the southwestern United States. Geomorphology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107392

Rengers, F.K., McGuire, L.A., Oakley, N.S., Tang, H., Kean, J.W., and Staley, D.M. 2020. Landslides after Wildfire: initiation, magnitude, and mobility after fire.  Landslides. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10346-020-01506-3

Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Reitman, N.G., Smith, J.B., Coe, J.A., McGuire, L.A., 2020. The Influence of Frost Weathering on Debris Flow Sediment Supply in an Alpine Basin. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 125, e2019JF005369. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JF005369

Wall, S., Roering, J., Rengers, F.K., 2020. Runoff-initiated post-fire debris flow Western Cascades, Oregon. Landslides. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10346-020-01376-9

Rapstine, T.D., Rengers, F.K., Allstadt, K.E., Iverson, R.M., Smith, J.B., Obryk, M.K., Logan, M. Olsen, M.J. 2020. Reconstructing the velocity and deformation of a rapid landslide using multiview video. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JF005348

Kean, Jason W., Staley, D.M., Lancaster, J.T., Rengers, F.K., Swanson, B.J., Coe, J.A., Hernandez, J.L., Sigman, A.J., Allstadt, K.E., Lindsay, D.N., 2019a. Inundation, flow dynamics, and damage in the 9 January 2018 Montecito debris-flow event, California, USA: Opportunities and challenges for post-wildfire risk assessment. Geosphere.

McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., 2019. Las Lomas Hillside Lidar. https://doi.org/10.5066/P92HVD2T

Rengers, F.K., McGuire, L.A., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Youberg, A.M., 2019. Progress in simplifying hydrologic model parameterization for broad applications to post-wildfire flooding and debris-flow hazards. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 44, 3078–3092. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4697

Tang, H., McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Smith, J.B., 2019. Developing and Testing Physically Based Triggering Thresholds for Runoff-Generated Debris Flows. Geophysical Research Letters 46, 8830–8839.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083623

Tang, H., McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Smith, J.B., 2019. Evolution of debris flow initiation mechanisms and sediment sources during a sequence of post-wildfire rainstorms. Journal of Geophysical Research. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JF004837

Barnhart, K.R., Rengers, F.K., Ghent, J.N., Tucker, G.E., Coe, J.A., Kean, J.W., Smith, J.B., Staley, D.M., Kleiber, W., Weins, A.M. 2019. Topographic change detection at Chalk Cliffs, Colorado, USA, using Airborne LiDAR and UAS-based Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry. in Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, O.M., and Guillen, B.K. (Editors) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), Special Publication 28. p. 85-92 ISBN: 978-0-578-51082-8

Rengers, F.K., Rapstine, T.D., Allstadt, K.E., Olsen, M., Bunn, M., Iverson, R.M., Kean, J.W., Leshchinsky, B., Logan, M., Sharifi-Mood, M., Obryk, M., and Smith, J. 2019. Real-time monitoring of debris-flow velocity and mass deformation from field experiments with high sample rate lidar and video. in Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, O.M., and Guillen, B.K. (Editors) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), Special Publication 28. p. 192-198 ISBN: 978-0-578-51082-8.

Bessette-Kirton, E., Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Rengers, F.K., Staley, D.M. 2019. An evaluation of debris-flow runout model accuracy and complexity in Montecito, CA:  Towards a framework for regional inundation-hazard forecasting.  in Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, O.M., and Guillen, B.K. (Editors) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), Special Publication 28. p. 257-264 ISBN: 978-0-578-51082-8

McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Tang, H., and Youberg, A.M. 2019.  Looking through the window of disturbance at post-wildfire debris-flow hazards.  in Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, O.M., and Guillen, B.K. (Editors) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), Special Publication 28. p. 516-523 ISBN: 978-0-578-51082-8

Rengers, F.K., McGuire, L.A., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Youberg, A.M., 2019. Progress in simplifying hydrologic model parameterization for broad applications to post-wildfire flooding and debris-flow hazards. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 44, 3078–3092.  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4697

Tillery, A.C., Rengers, F.K., 2019. Controls on debris-flow initiation on burned and unburned hillslopes during an exceptional rainstorm in southern New Mexico, USA. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4761

Jibson, R.W., Allstadt, K.E., Rengers, F.K., Godt, J.W., 2018. Overview of the geologic effects of the November 14, 2016, Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake. US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5146.

McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Mirus, B.B., 2018. Incorporating spatially heterogeneous infiltration capacity into hydrologic models with applications for simulating post-wildfire debris flow initiation. Hydrological Processes 32, 1173–1187.

Rengers, F.K., McGuire, L., 2018. Quantifying Post-Wildfire Hillslope Erosion with lidar. The Fifth International Conference on Geomorphometry.

Rengers, F.K., McGuire, L.A., Ebel, B.A., Tucker, G.E., 2018. The evolution of a colluvial hollow to a fluvial channel with periodic steps following two transformational disturbances: A wildfire and a historic flood. Geomorphology 309, 121–130.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.01.003

Staley, D.M., Tillery, A.C., Kean, J.W., McGuire, L.A., Pauling, H.E., Rengers, F.K., Smith, J.B., 2018a. Estimating post-fire debris-flow hazards prior to wildfire using a statistical analysis of historical distributions of fire severity from remote sensing data. International Journal of Wildland Fire 27, 595–608.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF17122

Massey, C., Townsend, D., Rathje, E., Allstadt, K., Kaneko, Y., Lukovic, B., Bradley, B., Wartman, J., Horspool, N., Hamling, I., Wartman, J., Carey, J., Cox, S., Davidson, J., Dellow, S., Holden, C., Jones, K., Kaiser, A., Lyndsell, B., McColl, S., Morgenstern, R., Petley, D., Rengers, F.K., Rhoades, D., Rosser, B., Strong, D., Singeisen, C., Villenueve, N., 2018. Landslides Triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake, New ZealandLandslides Triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake, New Zealand. Bulletin Seismological Society of America.  https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170305

Allstadt, K.E., Jibson, R.W., Thompson, E.M., Massey, C.I., Wald, D.J., Godt, J.W., Rengers, F.K., 2018. Improving near-real-time coseismic landslide models: Lessons learned from the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 108, 1649–1664.  https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170297

Inbar, A., Nyman, P., Rengers, F.K., Lane, P.N., Sheridan, G.J., 2018. Climate dictates magnitude of asymmetry in soil depth and hillslope gradient. Geophysical Research Letters 45, 6514–6522. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL077629

McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., 2017. Debris flow initiation by runoff in a recently burned basin: Is grain-by-grain sediment bulking or en masse failure to blame? Geophysical Research Letters 44, 7310–7319.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL074243

Rengers, F.K., 2017. Fourmile Canyon Wildfire Longitudinal Profile Data: U.S. Geological Survey data release.

Rengers, F.K., Pagonis, V., Mahan, S.A., 2017. Can thermoluminescence be used to determine soil heating from a wildfire? Radiation Measurements 107, 119–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.radmeas.2017.09.002

Ebel, Brian A, Rengers, F.K., Tucker, G.E., 2016. Observed and simulated hydrologic response for a first-order catchment during extreme rainfall 3 years after wildfire disturbance. Water Resources Research 52, 9367–9389.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019110

Kean, J.W., McGuire, L., Rengers, F.K., Smith, J.B., Staley, D.M., 2016. Amplification of postwildfire peak flow by debris. Geophysical Research Letters 43, 8545–8553.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL069661

McGuire, L.A., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Rengers, F.K., Wasklewicz, T.A., 2016. Constraining the relative importance of raindrop-and flow-driven sediment transport mechanisms in postwildfire environments and implications for recovery time scales. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121, 2211–2237.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016JF003867

McGuire, L.A., Rengers, F.K., Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Mirus, B.B., Baum, R.L., Godt, J.W., 2016. Elucidating the role of vegetation in the initiation of rainfall-induced shallow landslides: Insights from an extreme rainfall event in the Colorado Front Range. Geophysical Research Letters 43, 9084–9092.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL070741

Rengers, F.K., Lunacek, M., Tucker, G., 2016. Application of an evolutionary algorithm for parameter optimization in a gully erosion model. Environmental modelling & software 80, 297–305. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.02.033

Rengers, F.K. , McGuire, L., Kean, J.W., Staley, D.M., Hobley, D., 2016b. Model simulations of flood and debris flow timing in steep catchments after wildfire. Water Resources Research 52, 6041–6061. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015WR018176

Rengers, F.K., McGuire, L.A., Coe, J.A., Kean, J.W., Baum, R.L., Staley, D.M., Godt, J.W., 2016. The influence of vegetation on debris-flow initiation during extreme rainfall in the northern Colorado Front Range. Geology 44, 823–826. https://doi.org/10.1130/G38096.1

Rengers, F., Tucker, G.E., Moody, J.A., Ebel, B.A., 2016. Illuminating Wildfire Erosion and Deposition Patterns with Repeat Terrestrial Lidar. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 588–608. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JF003600

Rengers, F.K., Tucker, G.E., Mahan, S.A., 2016. Episodic bedrock erosion by gully-head migration, Colorado High Plains, USA. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 41, 1574–1582.  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.3929

Ebel, B.A., Rengers, F.K., Tucker, G.E., 2015. Aspect-dependent soil saturation and insight into debris-flow initiation during extreme rainfall in the Colorado Front Range. Geology 43, 659–662. https://doi.org/10.1130/G36741.1

Rengers, F.K., Tucker, G., 2015. The evolution of gully headcut morphology: a case study using terrestrial laser scanning and hydrological monitoring. Earth surface processes and landforms. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.3721

Rengers, F.K., Tucker, G., 2014. Analysis and modeling of gully headcut dynamics, North American high plains. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JF002962

Rengers, F.K. and Tucker, G., 2013, Processes and rates of headcut migration in eastern Colorado gullies: West Bijou Creek field trip guide. Geological Society of America Field Guide 33, 259-267, https://doi.org/10.1130/2013.0033(09)

Rengers, F.K., Wohl, E., 2007. Trends of grain sizes on gravel bars in the Rio Chagres, Panama. Geomorphology 83, 282–293.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.02.019