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Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4104

Variations in Sand Storage Measured at Monumented Cross Sections in the Colorado River Between Glen Canyon Dam and Lava Falls Rapid, Northern Arizona, 1992-99

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Prepared in cooperation with the

By Marilyn E. Flynn and Nancy J. Hornewer


Bed elevations were measured at 131 monumented cross sections in the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and Lava Falls Rapid from June 1992 to September 1999 to provide data on channel sand storage. This report documents the location of the 131 monumented cross sections, dates of measurements for all cross sections, methods of data collection and processing, and spatial and temporal variation and variability in changes in cross-sectional area for selected cross sections. Additionally, data were analyzed to determine if changes in sediment storage could be related to main channel flow conditions and tributary sediment inputs. Most of the cross sections showed a limited capacity, both in terms of amount and residence time, to store sediment. Data for 83 of the 131 cross sections were comprehensive and complete, and were used for analyses in this report. This data set is referred to as the primary data set. Of these 83 cross sections, 19 had a net gain in stored sediment, 61 had a net loss of stored sediment, and 3 had no change in stored sediment for the period of data collection, excluding data collected during the high release from Glen Canyon Dam in 1996. A subset of the primary data set consisting of the sections downstream from the Paria and Little Colorado Rivers with measurements made on or nearly on the same day, referred to as the matching-date data set, was used to explore the effects of controlled flows and tributary flows on the changes in cross-sectional area. The matching-date data set consists of data from 57 cross sections. Of these 57 cross sections, 1 had a net gain in stored sediment, 55 had a net loss of stored sediment, and 1 had no change in stored sediment. Results of the analysis did not show that changes in cross-sectional area were strongly related to main channel flow conditions or tributary sediment inputs.


Cross-section variability
Changes in cross-sectional area
Factors affecting sediment storage changes
Selected references

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