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Citation Ferguson, R. I., M. Church, C. D. Rennie, and J. G. Venditti (2015), Reconstructing a sediment pulse: Modeling the effect of placer mining on Fraser River, Canada. J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf., 120, 1436–1454. doi: 10.1002/2015JF003491.
Organization UBC
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JF003491/full
Abstract/Description or Keywords Gold mining along 525 km of the Fraser River between 1858 and 1909 added an estimated 1.1 × 108 t of tailings, half gravel and the rest finer, to the river's natural sediment load. We simulate the response using a 1-D multigrain size morphodynamic model. Since premining conditions are unknown and modern data are insufficient for tuning the process representation, we devised a novel modeling strategy which may be useful in other data-poor applications. We start the model from a smoothed version of the modern longitudinal profile with bed grain size distributions optimized to match alternative assumptions about natural sediment supply and compare runs that include mining with control runs that can be used to quantify the effects of deficiencies in process representation and initialization. Simulations with an appropriate choice of natural supply rate closely match the best available test data, which consist of a detailed 1952–1999 gravel budget for the distal part of the model domain. The simulations suggest that the main response to mining was rapid bed fining, which allowed a major increase in bed load transport rate with only slight (~0.1 m) mean aggradation within the mining region and most of the excess sediment exported well beyond the mountain front within the mining period or soon afterward. We compare this pattern of response by a large, powerful river with previous case studies of river adjustment to sediment supply change.
Information Type Article
Regional Watershed Province
Sub-watershed if known Lower Fraser
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Project status complete
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