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Open-File Report 2014–1204

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District

Correlations of Turbidity to Suspended-Sediment Concentration in the Toutle River Basin, near Mount St. Helens, Washington, 2010–11

By Mark A. Uhrich, Jasna Kolasinac, Pamela L. Booth, Robert L. Fountain, Kurt R. Spicer, and Adam R. Mosbrucker

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.0 MB)Abstract

Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, Cascades Volcano Observatory, investigated alternative methods for the traditional sample-based sediment record procedure in determining suspended-sediment concentration (SSC) and discharge. One such sediment-surrogate technique was developed using turbidity and discharge to estimate SSC for two gaging stations in the Toutle River Basin near Mount St. Helens, Washington. To provide context for the study, methods for collecting sediment data and monitoring turbidity are discussed. Statistical methods used include the development of ordinary least squares regression models for each gaging station. Issues of time-related autocorrelation also are evaluated. Addition of lagged explanatory variables was used to account for autocorrelation in the turbidity, discharge, and SSC data. Final regression model equations and plots are presented for the two gaging stations. The regression models support near-real-time estimates of SSC and improved suspended-sediment discharge records by incorporating continuous instream turbidity. Future use of such models may potentially lower the costs of sediment monitoring by reducing time it takes to collect and process samples and to derive a sediment-discharge record.

First posted September 22, 2014

For additional information, contact:
CVO, Volcano Science Center
Cascades Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100
Vancouver, WA 98683-9589

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Suggested citation:

Uhrich, M.A., Kolasinac, Jasna, Booth, P.L., Fountain, R.L., Spicer, K.R., and Mosbrucker, A.R., 2014, Correlations of turbidity to suspended-sediment concentration in the Toutle River Basin, near Mount St. Helens, Washington, 2010–11: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1204, 30 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Data Collection and Analysis Methods

Statistical Methods

Final Regression Models

Final Regression Model Graphs

Discussion and Future Studies



References Cited

Appendix A. Suspended-Sediment Sample, Discharge, and Turbidity Data

Appendix B. Robustness Check Data

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