2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)

Paper No. 33
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


LORD, Mark L., Geosciences & Natural Resources Mgmt, Western Carolina Univ, Cullowhee, NC 28723-9047 and SCHWARTZ, Robert K., Dept. of Geology, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA 16335, mlord@wcu.edu

The outburst of glacial Lake Regina was the last significant glacial event to occur in southeastern Saskatchewan and resulted in a well-preserved single-event array of large-scale erosional bedforms in the Souris Spillway. The analysis of these bedforms provides insight into the origin of a variety of large-scale erosional bedforms and a detailed view of the evolution a spillway produced by an outburst. The outburst initiated with the breach of a stagnant or dead ice dam that released about 7.4x1010 m3 of water generating a discharge of 9x105 m3/s with velocities from 2 to 10 m/s. Ice was present along some of the flow margins and as isolated blocks within the spillway, but the bedforms developed without ice cover.

Two-dimensional transverse ripples (relief ~1 m, width ~50 m) dominate the central scoured zone from the lake outlet to 10 km downstream. Sorted bedload boulders occur within the troughs and fine downstream. Longitudinal grooves and ridges (relief 1-2 m, length 400-2000 m) dominate from 10 km downstream to the end of the scoured zone (140 km downstream). Poorly sorted bedload boulders occur along the ridge crests whereas well-sorted smaller boulders are concentrated along the groove axes. In some places, the groove axes are ‘beaded’ with elongate, low relief (<1m) depressions containing very high concentrations of well-sorted boulders. A narrow zone of longitudinal-elongate scour depressions flank the scoured upland.

Fluid kinematics changed with flood stage and position in the spillway. During earlier stages of the flood, fluid motion changed downstream from presumably more laminar in the outlet area to turbulent with regular patterns of separated flow forming rollers above erosional ripples in the transverse field to streamwise vortices above grooves and ridges in the downstream field. Fluid motion along the shallower flow margins was dominated by isolated and less well organized streamwise vortices and roller-vortex combinations. With time, vortices migrated upstream into the lower portion of the transverse bedform field. During the waning stage, entrenchment of the main spillway channel and decreased flow led to beaded depressions in groove-axes. Concurrently, ripple-trough runout channels formed with late-stage drainage into the newly created inner channel, which then conveyed most of the flow.