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Energy expenditure and geomorphic work of the cataclysmic Missoula flooding in the Columbia River Gorge, USA

AutorBenito, Gerardo
Palabras claveFloods
Stream power
Missoula flooding
Fecha de publicación4-dic-1998
EditorJohn Wiley & Sons
CitaciónEarth Surface Processes and Landforms 22(1998) 457-472
ResumenCataclysmic releases from the glacially dammed Lake Missoula, producing exceptionally large floods, have resulted in significant erosional processes occurring over relatively short time spans. Erosional landforms produced by the cataclysmic Missoula floods appear to follow a temporal sequence in many areas of eastern Washington State. This study has focused on the sequence observed between Celilo and the John Day River, where the erosional features can be physically quantified in terms of stream power and geomorphic work. The step-backwater calculations in conjunction with the geologic evidence of maximum flow stages, indicate a peak discharge for the largest Missoula flood of 10 × 106m3s-1. The analysis of local flow hydraulics and its spatial variation were obtained calculating the hydrodynamic variables within the different segments of a cross-section. The nature and patterns of erosional features left by the floods are controlled by the local hydraulic variations. Therefore, the association of local hydraulic parameters with erosional and depositional flood features was critical in understanding landform development and geomorphic processes. The critical stream power required to initiate erosion varied for the different landforms of the erosional sequence, ranging from 500 W m-2 for the streamlined hills, up to 4500 W m-2 to initiate processes producing inner channels. Erosion is possible only during catastrophic floods exceeding those thresholds of stream power below which no work is expended in erosion. In fact, despite the multiple outbursts which occurred during the late Pleistocene, only a few of them had the required magnitude to overcome the threshold conditions and accomplish significant geomorphic work
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-9837(199705)22:5<457::AID-ESP762>3.0.CO;2-Y
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