October 1, 2023


Epicurean Science & Tech

Scientists say Lake Powell sediment retains clues to handling the shrinking reservoir

2 min read

As Lake Powell drinking water ranges keep on to tumble, it’s not just facet canyons that are staying exposed. A new report seems at the historical past of the sediment that has been still left behind.

Scientists are understanding far more about the layers of sand and mud deposited by the Colorado River in Lake Powell. They’re studying canyons remaining dry after the reservoir receded from its peak 1983 drinking water stage. Cari Johnson, an creator on the report and a geology professor at the College of Utah, mentioned they are employed to finding out sedimentary formations much more mature.

She claimed the extensive info on drinking water degrees for the reservoir give them an edge in their research.

“If we’re going back again and seeking in deep time, hundreds of thousands-of-yrs outdated rocks, we’re sort of guessing at what the formative conditions ended up,” Johnson claimed. “But here we know what the formative conditions ended up down to month-to-month scales or far better.”

Lake Powell initial started filling up in 1963, with the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam. Due to the fact 2000, drinking water concentrations have been declining simply because of the megadrought in the location. In 2021, it achieved a historic minimal stage, and this calendar year, it carries on to drop.

Sediment accumulation has now led to a lessen in reservoir capacity — due to the fact 1963, it’s gone down nearly 7%, in accordance to a report produced final thirty day period. At present, the reservoir sits just beneath 24% or about 177 toes below comprehensive pool.

Knowing how sediment has moved into the landscape will enable with long term management of the place, in accordance to report co-writer Scott Hynek of the United States Geological Survey Utah H2o Science Center.

“This is type of a person of the keys to handling this sediment in the Colorado river technique now, because if we have completely reduce lake ranges, all of this sediment is heading to be moving out of the system and into new destinations,” he mentioned.

Johnson stated people today handling the reservoir just cannot just assume of h2o, they want to believe about sediment too, which has “largely been ignored as a piece of that truly huge, complex puzzle.”

She additional it’s humbling to research how persons have shaped the landscape in and about Lake Powell.

“There is a legacy of Lake Powell and the footprints still left at the rear of in our have selections on this landscape, and you can see it,” she said.

Generated with assistance from the Community Media Journalists Affiliation Editor Corps funded by the Company for General public Broadcasting, a personal corporation funded by the American persons.

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