Document Type


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Publication Title

Geoscience Frontiers


Stream, Morphology, Garnet Canyon, Sediment, Talus


Characterizing stream erosion in any steep mountain landscape is arduous, but the challenge level increases when the stream flows through a glaciated catchment frequently modified by hillslope debris. Glacial landforms and stochastic mass wasting in alpine systems may interfere with sediment delivery to downstream sites where detrital sediments are often collected to represent upstream bedrock sources. To use detrital sediments as indicators of erosion, we need to understand potential sediment accumulation in flat glaciated reaches or behind rockfall barriers. This study investigates the stream channel in Garnet Canyon, a glaciated catchment located in the central Teton Range, to describe hillslope coupled channel morphology and the subsequent effects on sediment transport throughout the catchment. Stream cross-section surveys and sediment size measurements of the surface bedload were collected in the field within a glacially flattened segment of Garnet Canyon. Calculations of shear stress conditions allowed evaluation of the importance of mineral densities on potential grain entrainment. The length of the Garnet Canyon stream observed in this study was coupled with hillslope deposits. Critical shear stresses were sufficient to move gravel-sized sediments through all sections when calculated with quartz mineral density and through most sections when applying apatite mineral density. These results verify the application of detrital sediments to evaluate erosion rates or spatial bedrock sources because snowmelt stream flow efficiently moves entrained sediment past glacially reduced slopes and potential talus barriers.

Funding Source

The University Research Grant program at Illinois State University and the Graduate Research Development Program Grant at Virginia Tech provided funding for field support.




First published in Geoscience Frontiers 9 (2018): 1193e120.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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