Unified Interior Regions

Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin

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USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin conduct a large number of cooperative and collaborative projects with other agencies and partners. A sampling of those projects are shown below on this web page.

Filter Total Items: 382
Date published: May 1, 2011
Status: Completed

Bathymetry of Groundhog and Totten Reservoirs

In order to better characterize the water supply capacity of Groundhog Reservoir, Dolores County, Colorado, and Totten Reservoir, Montezuma County, Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Dolores Water Conservancy District, conducted a bathymetric survey of Groundhog and Totten Reservoir. The study was performed in June 2011 using a man-operated boat-mounted multibeam...

Date published: January 10, 2011
Status: Completed

Rural Douglas County Groundwater Network

More than 70 percent of the municipal water supply in the south Denver metropolitan area is provided by groundwater, and homeowners in rural areas depend solely on self-supplied groundwater for water supply. Increased groundwater withdrawal to meet the demand of the rapidly growing population is causing water levels to decline. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Rural Water...

Contacts: Rhett R Everett
Date published: December 19, 2010
Status: Completed

RCMAP - Gunnison River at Spann Diversion at Gunnison, Colorado

The U.S. Geological Survey was engaged in a program to monitor and assess the long-term geomorphic behavior of selected river and stream reaches that previously had undergone some physical modification.  These modifications included natural channel adjustments to floods as well as intentional channel reconfigurations to alter the function or appearance of a river reach.
 

Gunnison...

Date published: October 1, 2010
Status: Active

Flood Database for Colorado

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Transportation, created a Web-based geodatabase for information on floods from 1867 through water year 2015 and information on paleofloods occurring in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years.  The geodatabase was created using Environmental Systems Research Institute ArcGIS JavaScript Application Programing Interface. Engineers...

Date published: November 21, 2009
Status: Completed

RCMAP - Uncompahgre River at Ridgway, Colorado

The U.S. Geological Survey was engaged in a program to monitor and assess the long-term geomorphic behavior of selected river and stream reaches that previously had undergone some physical modification.  These modifications included natural channel adjustments to floods as well as intentional channel reconfigurations to alter the function or appearance of a river reach.

The Uncompahgre...

Contacts: Cory A Williams
Date published: October 1, 2009
Status: Completed

Eagle River Water-Quality Data

The Eagle River drains approximately 970 square miles (sq mi) west of the Continental Divide in central Colorado before flowing into the Colorado River. The Eagle River watershed (ERW) is located primarily within Eagle County and includes the towns of Vail, Minturn, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum. The eastern boundary of the Eagle River watershed is drained by Gore Creek, located at Vail...

Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
Date published: September 30, 2009
Status: Completed

Development of a fecal contamination monitoring and control strategy in upper Fountain Creek, Colorado

Fountain Creek is a high-gradient stream on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The headwaters of Fountain Creek drain Pikes Peak, a major destination for tourism. Fountain Creek is a drinking-water source for the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is used for irrigation, recreation, and other purposes between Colorado Springs and the confluence with the Arkansas River at...

Contacts: David P Mau
Date published: June 21, 2009
Status: Completed

NAWQA High Plains Regional Groundwater Study

As part of the National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), the USGS has evaluated ground-water quality in the High Plains aquifer system. Beginning in 1999 and continuing for a period of 6 years, the High Plains Regional Groundwater Study intensively investigated the...

Date published: April 1, 2009
Status: Active

Snowpack Sublimation - Measurements and Modeling in the Colorado River Basin

Snow is an essential resource in the western United States (U.S.), providing water for drinking, irrigation, industry, energy production, and ecosystems across much of the region.  In the mountains of the western U.S., most precipitation falls as snow, which accumulates in seasonal snowpacks that serve as a large natural reservoir.

Snowpack sublimation, which is analogous to evaporation...

Date published: January 1, 2009
Status: Completed

Loutzenhizer Arroyo Water Quality Monitoring activities in the Lower Gunnison Basin

Emerging water-quality issues within Delta, Montrose, and Mesa counties reflect changing land use practices, housing development and related pressures due to growth. Significant amounts of data have been collected by members of the Gunnison Basin Selenium Task Force as it relates to selenium related water-quality problems.  

    Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
    Date published: January 1, 2009
    Status: Active

    Characterization of Selenium Sources in the Lower Gunnison River Basin

    High concentrations of dissolved selenium have been detected in the lower Gunnison River basin including the Uncompahgre River basin. Butler and others (1991 and 1996) identified the highest concentrations of selenium in surface waters in areas that are irrigated on soils derived from Mancos Shale. In July 1997, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission amended the classifications and...

    Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
    Date published: October 11, 2008
    Status: Completed

    RCMAP - Roaring Fork River at Basalt, Colorado

    The U.S. Geological Survey was engaged in a program to monitor and assess the long-term geomorphic behavior of selected river and stream reaches that previously had undergone some physical modification.  These modifications included natural channel adjustments to floods as well as intentional channel reconfigurations to alter the function or appearance of a river reach.

    The Roaring Fork...

    Contacts: Cory A Williams

    USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin produce hundreds of USGS-series publications, journal papers, and books each year that are subject to rigorous review by USGS specialists. The publications shown below on this page are related to study areas and staff members of USGS Science Centers in Region 7 compiled from the USGS Publications Warehouse.

    Filter Total Items: 4,849
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    Year Published: 2019

    Exploring controls on debris-flow surge velocity and peak discharge at Chalk Cliffs, Colorado, USA

    We present a series of debris-flow events and use combined sensor and video data to explore how sediment concentration and triggering rainfall intensity affect the velocity and discharge of debris-flow surges generated by surface-water runoff. We analyze an initial data set of 49 surges from four debris-flow events recorded by a monitoring system...

    Smith, Joel B.; Kean, Jason W.; Coe, Jeffrey A.
    Smith, J.B., Kean, J.W., and Coe, J.A., 2019, Exploring controls on debris-flow surge velocity and peak discharge at Chalk Cliffs, Colorado, USA, in Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, P.M., and Guillen, B.K., eds., Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment, Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation, Golden, Colorado, p. 199-206.

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    Year Published: 2019

    An evaluation of debris-flow runout model accuracy and complexity in Montecito, CA: Towards a framework for regional inundation-hazard forecasting

    Numerous debris-flow inundation models have been applied retroactively to noteworthy events around the world. While such studies can be useful in identifying controlling factors, calibrating model parameters, and assessing future hazards in specific study areas, model parameters tailored to individual events can be difficult to apply regionally....

    Bessette-Kirton, Erin; Kean, Jason W.; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Rengers, Francis K.; Staley, Dennis M.
    Bessette-Kirton, E.K., 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, California: Towards a framework for regional inundation-hazard forecasting, in Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, P.M., and Guillen, B.K., eds., Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment, Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation, Golden, Colorado p. 257-264.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Real-time monitoring of debris-flow velocity and mass deformation from field experiments with high sample rate lidar and video

    Debris flows evolve in both time and space in complex ways, commonly starting as coherent failures but then quickly developing structures such as roll waves and surges. This process is readily observed, but difficult to study or quantify because of the speed at which it occurs. Many methods for studying debris flows consist of point measurements (...

    Rengers, Francis K.; Rapstine, Thomas; Allstadt, Kate E.; Olsen, Michael; Bunn, Michael; Iverson, Richard M.; Kean, Jason W.; Leshchinsky, Ben; Logan, Matthew; Sharifi-Mood, Mahyar; Obryk, Maciej; Smith, Joel B.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Looking through the window of disturbance at post-wildfire debris-flow hazards

    The extreme heat from wildfire alters soil properties and incinerates vegetation, leading to changes in infiltration capacity, ground cover, soil erodibility, and rainfall interception. These changes promote increases in runoff and sediment transport that increase the likelihood of runoff-generated debris flows. Over a period of several years,...

    McGuire, Luke; Rengers, Francis K.; Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.; Tang, Hui; Youberg, Ann

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    Year Published: 2019

    Topographic change detection at Chalk Cliffs, Colorado, USA, using Airborne LiDAR and UAS-based Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry

    The Chalk Cliffs debris-flow site is a small headwater catchment incised into highly fractured and hydrothermally altered quartz monzonite in a semi-arid climate. Over half of the extremely steep basin is exposed bedrock. Debris flows occur multiple times per year in response to rainstorm events, typically during the summer monsoon season. The...

    Barnhart, Katherine R; Rengers, Francis K.; Ghent Jessica N; Tucker, Gregory E.; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Kean, Jason W.; Smith, Joel B.; Staley, Dennis M.; Kleiber, William; Wiens, Ashton M

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    Year Published: 2019

    Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources in the Beetaloo Basin, Australia, 2018

    Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 429 million barrels of continuous oil and 8 trillion cubic feet of continuous gas in the Beetaloo Basin of northern Australia.

    Schenk, Christopher J.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Finn, Thomas M.; Marra, Kristen R.; Brownfield, Michael E.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.; Drake, Ronald M.
    Schenk, C.J., Mercier, T.J., Woodall, C.A., Finn, T.M., Marra, K.R., Brownfield, M.E., Leathers-Miller, H.M., and Drake, R.M., II, 2019, Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources in the Beetaloo Basin, Australia, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3013, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193013.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Post-fire rockfall and debris-flow hazard zonation in the Eagle Creek Fire burn area, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon: a tool for emergency managers and first responders

    The Eagle Creek Fire engulfed 48,832 acres (196 km2) within the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon beginning September 2nd and was 100% contained by November 30th, 2017. The Columbia River Gorge area is steep and heavily forested characterized by cliffs and flanking talus slopes, receiving > 100 inches (> 254 cm) of precipitation annually. The...

    Calhoun, Nancy C.; Burns, William J.; Hayduk, S.H.; Staley, Dennis M.; Kean, Jason W.
    Calhoun, N.C., Burns, W.J., Hay, S., Staley, D.M., and Kean, J.W. (2019), Post-fire rockfall and debris-flow hazard zonation in the Eagle Creek fire burn area, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon: A tool for emergency managers and first responders, in Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment, edited by Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, P.M., and Guillen, B.K., Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, Special Publication #28, p. 581-588.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Taking the pulse of debris flows: Extracting debris-flow dynamics from good vibrations in southern California and central Colorado

    The destructive nature of debris flows makes it difficult to quantify flow dynamics with direct instrumentation. For this reason, seismic sensors placed safely away from the flow path are often used to identify the timing and speed of debris flows. While seismic sensors have proven to be a valuable tool for event detection and early warning, their...

    Michel, A.; Kean, Jason W.; Smith, Joel B.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Coe, Jeffrey A.
    Michel, A., Kean, J.W., Smith, J.B., Allstadt, K., and Coe, J.A. (2019), Taking the pulse of debris flows: extracting debris-flow dynamics from good vibrations in southern California and central Colorado, in Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment, edited by Kean, J.W., Coe, J.A., Santi, P.M., and Guillen, B.K., Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, Special Publication #28, p. 154-161.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Assessment of tight-oil and tight-gas resources in the Junggar and Santanghu Basins of Northwestern China, 2018

    Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 241 million barrels of tight oil and 10.1 trillion cubic feet of tight gas in the Junggar and Santanghu Basins of northwestern China.

    Potter, Christopher J.; Schenk, Christopher J.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Finn, Thomas M.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.; Marra, Kristen R.; Le, Phuong A.; Drake, Ronald M.; Brownfield, Michael E.; Pitman, Janet K.
    Potter, C.J., Schenk, C.J., Mercier, T.J., Tennyson, M.E., Finn, T.M., Woodall, C.A., Leathers-Miller, H.M., Marra, K.R., Le, P.A., Drake, R.M., II, Brownfield, M.E., and Pitman, J.K., 2019, Assessment of tight-oil and tight-gas resources in the Junggar and Santanghu Basins of northwestern China, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3012, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193012.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Inundation, flow dynamics, and damage in the 9 January 2018 Montecito Debris-Flow Event, California, USA: Opportunities and challenges for post-wildfire risk assessment

    Shortly before the beginning of the winter rainy season, one of the largest fires in California history (Thomas Fire) substantially increased the susceptibility of steep slopes in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to debris flows. On January 9, 2018, before the fire was fully contained, an intense burst of rain fell on the portion of the burn...

    Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.; Lancaster, Jeremy T.; Rengers, Francis K.; Swanson, Brian J.; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Hernandez, Janis; Sigman, Aaron; Allstadt, Kate E.; Lindsay, Donald N.

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    Year Published: 2019

    Viable long-term gas hydrate testing site confirmed on the Alaska north slope

    In December 2018, data acquired in a Stratigraphic Test Well drilled from the 7-11-12 pad in the western part of the Prudhoe Bay Unit, Alaska North Slope confirmed the occurrence of two high-quality reservoirs fully saturated with gas hydrate. The drilling was the initial phase of a planned, three-well program designed to conduct an extended...

    Ray Boswell; Scott Marsteller; Nori Okinaka; Motoi Wakatsuki; Collett, Timothy S.; Robert Hunter; Tom Walsh; David Itter; Stephen Crumley

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    Year Published: 2019

    Geological and geophysical data for a three-dimensional view—Inside the San Juan and Silverton Calderas, Southern Rocky Mountains Volcanic Field, Silverton, Colorado

    IntroductionThe San Juan-Silverton caldera complex located near Silverton, Colorado, in the Southern Rocky Mountains volcanic field is an ideal natural laboratory for furthering the understanding of shallow-to-deep volcanic-related mineral systems. Recent advances in geophysical data processing and three-dimensional (3D) model construction will...

    Yager, Douglas B.; Anderson, Eric D.; Deszcz-Pan, Maria; Rodriguez, Brian D.; Smith, Bruce D.
    Yager, D.B., Anderson, E.D., Rodriguez, B.D., Deszcz-Pan, M., and Smith, B.D., 2019, Geological and geophysical data for a three-dimensional view—Inside the San Juan and Silverton calderas, Southern Rocky Mountains volcanic field, Silverton, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019-3026, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193026.

    Photos and videos described and linked on this webpage come from a wide variety of USGS science activities and presentations performed by USGS Science Center staff members in the Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin.

    Filter Total Items: 515
    Image: Colorado River near Moab
    December 24, 2014

    Colorado River near Moab

    The Colorado River as it runs near Moab, UT, surrounded by sandstone cliffs.

    Image: Colorado River near Moab
    December 24, 2014

    Colorado River near Moab

    The Colorado River as it runs near Moab, UT, surrounded by sandstone cliffs.

    Photo of an active oil and gas pad on Bureau of Land Management lands near Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
    November 30, 2014

    Active oil and gas pad near Canyonlands National Park

    Active oil and gas pad on Bureau of Land Management lands near Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

    View into Green River Basin from Wyoming Range, Dry Piney Basin
    November 11, 2014

    View into Green River Basin from Wyoming Range, Dry Piney Basin

    View into Green River Basin from Wyoming Range, Dry Piney Basin

    A managed wildfire burns in a Ponderosa pine stand, New Mexico
    October 8, 2014

    A managed wildfire burns in a Ponderosa pine stand, New Mexico

    A managed wildfire burns in a Ponderosa pine stand, New Mexico

    Earth As Art image of Utah, Arizona
    October 4, 2014

    Cloud Lightning

    What looks like lightning arcing through an ominous cloud is actually a dry landscape of rocky buttes in southern Utah and northeastern Arizona. River channels flow north from Arizona into the San Juan River. The light vertical feature at the top of the image is referred to as Comb Ridge, a jagged fold in the Earth's crust called a monocline.

    • Collection: Earth
    ...
    An archaeologist and fire scientist looking at the burned ground of a forest to assess impacts of wildfires on archaeological si
    September 30, 2014

    Assessing impacts to archaeological sites through collaboration

    Archaeologists and fire scientists collaborate to assess impacts of wildfires on archaeological sites in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

    hand holding a sherd, a fragment of an ancient vessel
    September 30, 2014

    How fire research can help reduce cultural resource fire damage

    Pre- and post-fire measurements of fire effects can help archaeologists and fire scientists determine how wildfires and prescribed fires impact cultural resources, and how management actions may reduce likelihood of damage

    Installing piezometer on the bank of the New Fork River
    September 28, 2014

    Installing piezometer on the bank of the New Fork River

    Installing piezometer on the bank of the New Fork River

    Installing stream thermistor at New Fork Groundwater Streamgage
    September 25, 2014

    Installing stream thermistor at New Fork Groundwater Streamgage

    Installing stream thermistor at New Fork Groundwater Streamgage

    Confluence of New Fork (foreground) and Green Rivers
    September 25, 2014

    Confluence of New Fork (foreground) and Green Rivers

    Confluence of New Fork (foreground) and Green Rivers

    News items shown on this page are highlights of selected studies conducted and publications produced by USGS Science Center staff members in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin.

    Filter Total Items: 329
    USGS
    October 16, 1997

    When Henry J. Moore was growing up on Third Avenue during the 1930s, he says he didn’t pay much attention to the comic-book space dust being kickedup by Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Twenty years later, however, Moore’s interest in the dust and landforms of Planet Earth set him on a course that would eventually land in the dust on Mars; in a matter of speaking.

    USGS
    September 26, 1997

    High concentrations of dissolved salts in the lower Colorado River basin have been linked to regional geologic collapse near Glenwood Springs, Colo., according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Colorado Geological Survey.

    USGS
    June 9, 1997

    The 1996/97 austral summer season marked the beginning of the newest deep ice core drilling project sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs.

    USGS
    June 2, 1997

    The U. S. Geological Survey has released Open-File Report 97-59 entitled: Geology and Structure of the Pine River, Florida River, Carbon Junction, and Basin Creek Gas Seeps, La Plata County, Colorado.

    USGS
    November 21, 1996

    The gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) was detected in some urban stormwater samples collected in 16 cities and metropolitan areas by the U.S. Geological Survey, but all detections of MTBE were less than the lower limit of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s draft lifetime health advisory for drinking water.

    This page includes links to Social Media accounts (top of page), Science Centers (middle of page), and Regional Office staff members (bottom of page) of the USGS Region 7--Upper Colorado Basin.