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Quantifying fluvial erosion rates on Cascade Volcanoes

  • Principal Investigator (PI): John Pitlick, University of Colorado
  • UNAVCO Engineers:
    Jim Normandeau (Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens), Sarah Doelger (Mount St. Helens)
  • Dates: August 2011
  • Location: Tahoma Creek, Mount Rainer National Park and North Fork Toutle River, Mount St. Helens National Park, Washington

Written by Jim Normandeau


The goal of the project is to develop data sets that can be used to model erosion and deposition along rivers draining two Cascade volcanoes, Mt. Rainier and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The project has two components, one focusing on processes of sedimentation on Tahoma Creek on Mt. Rainier, the other focusing on processes of erosion on the North Fork Toutle River near Mt. St Helens.

Field Work

TLS measurements were taken at selected localities on these two rivers. Data sets (DEMs) developed from these measurements can track changes in valley-floor topography and develop models of erosion and sediment transport. The fieldwork at Mt. Rainier was supported by the National Park Service and fieldwork at Mt. St. Helens was supported by the USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory.


Future plans include mapping the same areas, to, develop estimates of erosion and deposition by differencing the elevations. These future surveys will help develop quantitative models of erosion and sediment transport on these dynamic river systems.

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Last modified: 2020-02-03  20:49:06  America/Denver