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SHAKE AND BLOW
More than 100 years of flooding and erosion in 1 event
by Staff Writers
Boulder CO (SPX) Mar 29, 2017


Flood impacts in the North St. Vrain Creek catchment, northern Colorado, USA. Images in D and E are from Google Earth.

Sara Rathburn of Colorado State University and colleagues have developed an integrated sediment, wood, and organic carbon budget for North St. Vrain Creek in the semi-arid Colorado Front Range following an extreme flooding event in September of 2013.

Erosion of more than 500,000 cubic meters, or up to ~115-years-worth of weathering products, occurred through landsliding and channel erosion during this event.

More than half of the eroded sediment was deposited at the inlet and delta of a water supply reservoir, resulting in the equivalent of 100 years of reservoir sedimentation and 2% loss in water storage capacity.

The flood discharged 28 mega-grams of carbon from one square kilometer of land (28 Mg C/km2), which is more like what would happen in humid, tectonically active areas.

To get an idea of what that means, Rathburn explains, a mega-gram of carbon (C) eroded from one square kilometer of land is equivalent to about a million paper clips covering an 18-hole golf course. So in this scenario, the flood discharged 28 million paper clips from just a golf course-sized area.

Post-flood remobilization resulted in a further ~100-years-worth of reservoir sedimentation plus export of an additional 1.3 mega-grams of carbon per square kilometer (1.3 Mg C/km2) of wood.

Pronounced channel widening during the flood created accommodation space for 40% of flood sediment and storage of wood and eroded carbon. Confined channels, normally dismissed as transport reaches, can store and export substantial amounts of flood constituents.

The results of this study by Rathburn and colleagues indicate that many flood-affected Colorado Front Range rivers will export sediment, wood, and carbon for years to come, posing ongoing challenges for water-supply management, with implications for terrestrial carbon cycling.

Research paper: The fate of sediment, wood and organic carbon eroded during an extreme flood, Colorado Front Range, USA

SHAKE AND BLOW
Rooftop refugees plead for water in flooded Peru city
Huarmey , Peru (AFP) March 21, 2017
Stranded on their rooftops by flooding and mudslides, residents of Huarmey, Peru ironically need the one thing they see everywhere they look: water. As AFP toured the waist-deep rivers of mud that were once Huarmey's streets, people in the small coastal city shouted from their rooftops, "Water, we want water!" Last Wednesday, the rain that has been pummeling Peru for a week sent a series ... read more

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