Abstract

Alluvium deposited in a reservoir from 1937 to 1976 records the sediment-yield history of a small (2.8 km2), high-relief basin in semiarid southern Utah. Stratification in the alluvium shows that sediment was deposited in the reservoir only 21 times in 38 yr, a runoff recurrence interval of 1.8 yr. Thus, on average, the particular combination of rainfall intensity, duration, and antecedent moisture conditions producing runoff did not recur often. On the basis of the volume of beds in the reservoir fill, sediment yield of individual runoff events averaged 2500 m3/km2 (5.3 a-ft/mi2) with slightly less than one order of magnitude variation. This low variation is not expected of small basins and probably resulted from limited hillslope sediment supply, suggesting that transport processes were more rapid than weathering processes. Sediment yield, therefore, was evidently controlled by the availability of freshly weathered material.

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