A new geological research project on the Yellowstone River is the first to map the elevation of a large chunk of its surface in the lower Colorado River Basin, and it shows that the region’s high elevation is associated with a huge volume of water.
The results are published online today in the journal Science Advances.
The work is a continuation of a geologic investigation of the upper Colorado River that began in the 1970s, with Lippman, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wyoming, and his colleagues using a new technique to identify a previously undiscovered mass of water below the surface.
The study’s lead author, Dan Lipsman, is now a doctoral candidate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, Florida.
Lipsman and his team, which includes collaborators from universities and the National Park Service, focused on an area of high elevation called the Yellowstone Flood Plain, which stretches about one-fifth of the state of Montana.
In a 2014 paper, Lipsmann and his co-authors estimated that the area contains up to 400 trillion cubic feet of water that would flow into the Yellowstone basin, equivalent to about 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The team mapped the elevation profile of the area using a technique called geophysical radar, a device that records changes in the Earth’s magnetic field in a specific area.
Using this method, the researchers could determine how much water was above ground, and then compare the elevation with that of the flood plain.
This allowed them to determine that the elevation above the floodplain was about 4,000 feet higher than the surface elevation of the basin.
They were also able to calculate that the volume of the region is roughly 10 trillion cubic yards, or roughly 20 times the volume in the Yellowstone floodplain.
While Lipsamp was not involved in the study, the new work represents a step forward in understanding the geologic processes that led to the high elevation and its associated water.
“We have now made a huge step forward by mapping the upper elevation of this area,” Lipsam said.
“The elevation of these areas are very, very high, and they’re all associated with huge volumes of water.”
“What’s interesting is that the water is coming from two directions,” Lippom added.
“It’s from the east, where it’s coming from the Colorado River, and from the west, where the water has gone into the lake and the reservoir, and is going to flow into this area.”
These are really massive water sources, and the water that flows from them is going directly into the lakes and the reservoirs.
So what we’re seeing here is that this region is also very rich in water, and we know that the flow rate of water is about 1.5 cubic feet per second.
“Lipsam, who holds a Ph.
D. in geology from the University.
and is now an assistant professor of geosciences at the Wyoming School of Mines and Technology, is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo.”
That’s kind of what’s been the biggest challenge with this work.”””
So, we can actually see a change in water flow rates.
That’s kind of what’s been the biggest challenge with this work.””
We were able to go through and measure the change in elevation from the ground, to the top of the river, and also the elevation changes on the lakebed,” Lipman said.
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Yellowstone Basin Project (BLP).