Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


GRAN, Karen B., Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota Duluth, 1114 Kirby Dr, Duluth, MN 55812, RIKER-COLEMAN, Kristin, Department of Natural Sciences, Geology Program, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Belknap and Catlin, P.O. Box 2000, Superior, WI 54880 and HILLER, Kristine, Jay Cooke State Park, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 780 Highway 210, Carlton, MN 55718,

The Duluth, MN, area experienced massive flash flooding following 8-10 inches of rain in 24 hours in June 2012, causing extensive damage at Jay Cooke State Park. One affected site involved a levee breach on Forbay Lake, releasing a flood wave downslope, carving a deep valley and destroying part of Highway 210. Although devastating for the park, the event provided opportunities for student research and outreach. Students from two classes at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) conducted research in October 2012 to reconstruct magnitude and timing of the flood wave, impoundment behind the road, breaching of the road, and subsequent incision. Students from a mid-level geomorphology course first visited the site during a 4-hour lab to qualitatively reconstruct major events. Over the next week, small groups developed research questions and wrote proposals focused on mapping and quantitative analyses at the site. They had one additional lab to collect field data and a third lab dedicated to data analysis. Student projects focused on delineating the flood wave’s lateral extent; determining peak shear stress and its effect on sediment mobility; estimating volumes of material eroded from the levee and deposited in the temporary impoundment; and tracking knickpoint propagation. Graduate students in a fluvial geomorphology course also developed independent research projects. These were completed outside normal lab time and were able to address more complex issues including paleoflood discharge, levee geotechnical stability, and detailed long profile development. In both cases, students spent significant time outside of class working on projects, but collectively, they were able to extensively document what happened during the flood event at this site. Research projects were written up in scientific paper format and presented to an audience including staff from Jay Cooke State Park and students from the University of Wisconsin Superior (UWS). To explain this dramatic event to park visitors, science education students from UWS are taking data collected by UMD students and developing education materials. This collaboration between UMD, UWS, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has provided research and public outreach opportunities for students that will eventually help educate the general public.