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Topographic Changes in Fluvial Terrace Deposits Used in Campsite Beaches along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon
Stanley S. Beus, Steven W. Carothers and Charles C. Avery
Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science
Vol. 20, No. 2 (1985), pp. 111-120
Published by: Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40021335
Page Count: 10
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Sandy alluvial terraces along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon are used as campsite beaches and constitute an important resource to river recreationists. Since the completion of glen Canyon Dam in 1963, a number of beaches appear to be gradually losing sand by erosion in a controlled-flow river system that normally precludes replenishment of lost beach sand from periodic sediment-enriched high water floods. Unexpected "spills" through glen Canyon Dam in 1983 and 1984 provided the first substantial high water floods through Grand Canyon in 20 years. Topographic profile surveys on 20 selected campsite beaches over a ten-year period (1974-1984) reveal minor to major changes in all the beach surfaces. Half of the beaches monitored had experienced some loss of sand by erosion in the eight-year period from 1974-1982. The high water floods of 1983 and 1984 reworked sandy sediment on all the beaches and produced more measurable changes than in the preceding eight years. A substantial net gain of sand on the 20 beaches more than compensated for the previous eight-year loss. Possibly occasional high water "spills" through the Grand Canyon are desirable to maintain existing campsite beaches.
Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science © 1985 Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences