Reconstructing paleoflood hydrology with slackwater deposits

Verde River, Arizona.

L. L. Ely, Victor Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fine-grained slackwater flood deposits provide a key to the paleoflood history of the Verde River in central Arizona. During large flows, the slackwater deposits accumulate in areas of sharply reduced flow velocity at channel expansions and contractions or in back-flooded tributaries. The upper surfaces of the highest deposits approximate the peak stages of the associated floods. Stratigraphic analysis, radiocarbon and archaeological dating, and correlation between slackwater sites along the study reach revealed multiple floods, including two paleofloods that pre-date the 80-year observational record of flows on the Verde River. Discharges calculated with the HEC-2 computer flow model extended the record of rare flood events by 1000 years. The largest flow in that time period measured only 5000-5400 cms, which supports the contention of an upper limit on the maximum flood that can be reasonably expected. Revised recurrence intervals based on the extended paleoflood record were used as a basis to compare various methods of flood frequency analysis. A combination of the log-Pearson Type III distribution for recurrence intervals up to 100 years, and a regional envelope curve for less frequent flow events, produced a frequency curve that coincided with both the modern and paleoflood discharges.-Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-126
Number of pages24
JournalPhysical Geography
Volume6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

Fingerprint

paleoflood
Hydrology
natural disaster
hydrology
Deposits
Rivers
river
recurrence interval
flood deposit
flood frequency
frequency analysis
event
flow velocity
contraction
tributary
Flow velocity
Discharge (fluid mechanics)
history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Reconstructing paleoflood hydrology with slackwater deposits : Verde River, Arizona. / Ely, L. L.; Baker, Victor.

In: Physical Geography, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1985, p. 103-126.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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