Paleoflood hydrology and extraordinary flood events

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

221 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Paleoflood hydrology is the study of past or ancient flood events. The most accurate technique involves the analysis of slackwater deposits and paleostage indicators (SWD-PSI). Slackwater deposits are sand and silt emplaced from suspension in exceptionally deep, high-velocity floods that characterize narrow, deep canyons in resistant geologic materials. These and other paleostage indicators are used to establish hydraulic grade lines for the generating flow events. Favorable sites for slackwater deposition include channel-margin areas where stresses and velocities are reduced below critical values necessary to maintain fine-grained bedload material (sand and silt) in suspension. Computerized procedures for hydraulic flow modeling are used to tie the elevations of the highest slackwater deposits to surveyed river cross sections. The flood discharges calculated by this method can be calibrated through the study of modern floods on gaged rivers. Correlation of multiple SWD-PSI sites along a river reach is used to identify the maximum paleostage achieved by a given flood. Advances in the dating of flood deposits permit estimates of flood frequency to be made extending over a data base of thousands of years. The major geochronologic tool is radiocarbon dating of various kinds of organic matter intercalated with the slackwater deposits. An important development is the use of the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer for direct measurement of 14C. Tiny blebs of charcoal, seeds and other organics can be analyzed in order to date ancient flood deposits of hydrologic significance. Since SWD-PSI studies yield very accurate determinations of paleoflood ages and magnitudes, there is a pressing need for new statistical procedures that make optimum use of the information content in paleoflood records for flood-frequency analysis. Nevertheless, SWD-PSI paleoflood hydrology has moved beyond the research phase; its use should be encouraged in evaluating past experience of extraordinary floods at appropriate hazardous sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume96
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 1987

Fingerprint

paleoflood
hydrology
flood deposit
flood frequency
silt
river
hydraulics
sand
flow modeling
rivers
frequency analysis
radiocarbon dating
bedload
charcoal
fluid mechanics
canyon
spectrometer
dendrochronology
cross section
indicator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Paleoflood hydrology and extraordinary flood events. / Baker, Victor.

In: Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 96, No. 1-4, 15.12.1987, p. 79-99.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{8280179783bc4d6ca9f19cb3acae18b9,
title = "Paleoflood hydrology and extraordinary flood events",
abstract = "Paleoflood hydrology is the study of past or ancient flood events. The most accurate technique involves the analysis of slackwater deposits and paleostage indicators (SWD-PSI). Slackwater deposits are sand and silt emplaced from suspension in exceptionally deep, high-velocity floods that characterize narrow, deep canyons in resistant geologic materials. These and other paleostage indicators are used to establish hydraulic grade lines for the generating flow events. Favorable sites for slackwater deposition include channel-margin areas where stresses and velocities are reduced below critical values necessary to maintain fine-grained bedload material (sand and silt) in suspension. Computerized procedures for hydraulic flow modeling are used to tie the elevations of the highest slackwater deposits to surveyed river cross sections. The flood discharges calculated by this method can be calibrated through the study of modern floods on gaged rivers. Correlation of multiple SWD-PSI sites along a river reach is used to identify the maximum paleostage achieved by a given flood. Advances in the dating of flood deposits permit estimates of flood frequency to be made extending over a data base of thousands of years. The major geochronologic tool is radiocarbon dating of various kinds of organic matter intercalated with the slackwater deposits. An important development is the use of the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer for direct measurement of 14C. Tiny blebs of charcoal, seeds and other organics can be analyzed in order to date ancient flood deposits of hydrologic significance. Since SWD-PSI studies yield very accurate determinations of paleoflood ages and magnitudes, there is a pressing need for new statistical procedures that make optimum use of the information content in paleoflood records for flood-frequency analysis. Nevertheless, SWD-PSI paleoflood hydrology has moved beyond the research phase; its use should be encouraged in evaluating past experience of extraordinary floods at appropriate hazardous sites.",
author = "Victor Baker",
year = "1987",
month = "12",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1016/0022-1694(87)90145-4",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "96",
pages = "79--99",
journal = "Journal of Hydrology",
issn = "0022-1694",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "1-4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Paleoflood hydrology and extraordinary flood events

AU - Baker, Victor

PY - 1987/12/15

Y1 - 1987/12/15

N2 - Paleoflood hydrology is the study of past or ancient flood events. The most accurate technique involves the analysis of slackwater deposits and paleostage indicators (SWD-PSI). Slackwater deposits are sand and silt emplaced from suspension in exceptionally deep, high-velocity floods that characterize narrow, deep canyons in resistant geologic materials. These and other paleostage indicators are used to establish hydraulic grade lines for the generating flow events. Favorable sites for slackwater deposition include channel-margin areas where stresses and velocities are reduced below critical values necessary to maintain fine-grained bedload material (sand and silt) in suspension. Computerized procedures for hydraulic flow modeling are used to tie the elevations of the highest slackwater deposits to surveyed river cross sections. The flood discharges calculated by this method can be calibrated through the study of modern floods on gaged rivers. Correlation of multiple SWD-PSI sites along a river reach is used to identify the maximum paleostage achieved by a given flood. Advances in the dating of flood deposits permit estimates of flood frequency to be made extending over a data base of thousands of years. The major geochronologic tool is radiocarbon dating of various kinds of organic matter intercalated with the slackwater deposits. An important development is the use of the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer for direct measurement of 14C. Tiny blebs of charcoal, seeds and other organics can be analyzed in order to date ancient flood deposits of hydrologic significance. Since SWD-PSI studies yield very accurate determinations of paleoflood ages and magnitudes, there is a pressing need for new statistical procedures that make optimum use of the information content in paleoflood records for flood-frequency analysis. Nevertheless, SWD-PSI paleoflood hydrology has moved beyond the research phase; its use should be encouraged in evaluating past experience of extraordinary floods at appropriate hazardous sites.

AB - Paleoflood hydrology is the study of past or ancient flood events. The most accurate technique involves the analysis of slackwater deposits and paleostage indicators (SWD-PSI). Slackwater deposits are sand and silt emplaced from suspension in exceptionally deep, high-velocity floods that characterize narrow, deep canyons in resistant geologic materials. These and other paleostage indicators are used to establish hydraulic grade lines for the generating flow events. Favorable sites for slackwater deposition include channel-margin areas where stresses and velocities are reduced below critical values necessary to maintain fine-grained bedload material (sand and silt) in suspension. Computerized procedures for hydraulic flow modeling are used to tie the elevations of the highest slackwater deposits to surveyed river cross sections. The flood discharges calculated by this method can be calibrated through the study of modern floods on gaged rivers. Correlation of multiple SWD-PSI sites along a river reach is used to identify the maximum paleostage achieved by a given flood. Advances in the dating of flood deposits permit estimates of flood frequency to be made extending over a data base of thousands of years. The major geochronologic tool is radiocarbon dating of various kinds of organic matter intercalated with the slackwater deposits. An important development is the use of the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer for direct measurement of 14C. Tiny blebs of charcoal, seeds and other organics can be analyzed in order to date ancient flood deposits of hydrologic significance. Since SWD-PSI studies yield very accurate determinations of paleoflood ages and magnitudes, there is a pressing need for new statistical procedures that make optimum use of the information content in paleoflood records for flood-frequency analysis. Nevertheless, SWD-PSI paleoflood hydrology has moved beyond the research phase; its use should be encouraged in evaluating past experience of extraordinary floods at appropriate hazardous sites.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0023536714&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0023536714&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/0022-1694(87)90145-4

DO - 10.1016/0022-1694(87)90145-4

M3 - Article

VL - 96

SP - 79

EP - 99

JO - Journal of Hydrology

JF - Journal of Hydrology

SN - 0022-1694

IS - 1-4

ER -