Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-13-2015   #1
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
Arkansas River GLOF

Thought I would share some info I learned this summer. I took a one day class through the CO. Mountain College in Leadville called "When Ice Ruled Leadville". It was taught by geologist, Dr. Vince Matthews. Awesome day. We spent an hour or two in a classroom and then all jumped in a short bus and went to several locations where we hiked while he lectured about what we were looking at relative to the glacial history of the area. Spent time up Evans Gulch above Leadville observing the upland features. Drove up the Lake Creek drainage and spent time overlooking Twin Lakes. The lakes are created/dammed by a terminal moraine and a recessional moraine. There are lateral moraines 800' above Twin Lakes. The best part,and primary reason for me being there, was our stop at the AHRA putin for the Numbers.

Let me say, I am not a geologist, just a boater with curiosity...

Pine Creek comes in at the Pine Creek rapid. Duh! Its quite a tight valley as is the Ark at that point. Its where the Ark comes closest to the granite wall on river left with the creek coming in on river right. The last glacial period was yesterday in geologic terms. So, 10 or 11,000 years ago the Pine Creek glacier had pushed across the Ark and dammed the rio as it plugged against the river left wall. It created a lake behind it that was 600' deep and 14 miles long! The head of the lake was at Malta! GLOF stands for Glacial Lake Outburst Flood. The evidence suggests that when the glacial dam failed catastrophically the lake drained in as little as 24 hours! This cycle has happened 3 times in the last 30,000 years. You can see terraces and cuts from the several floods all down through the Numbers and Fractions. There are large rocks as far down river as Salida from these events.

One extrapolation I've made is that since the entire rio bed was deposited, arranged and rearranged by this last event, it means that the beautiful sculpting of the granite boulders that we see, usually on the downstream side, has all been done in the last 10,000 years. Maybe I'm just getting old but that is a human scale of time.

Anyway, this all has certainly changed how I look at and experience the river. What a beautiful paradise we have to paddle in.

Phil U. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #2
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 582
That's crazy awesome!! I love rocks, so much. I actually really wanted to be a geologist, just to lazy to go to school.

I've always been super interested in erosion... I usually end up with one or two sweet rocks in my pocket after any kind of adventure. It's just cool to think that way back when, this little tiny pebble I've got in my pocket was a boulder the size of my house!!

I usually look at my surroundings and try to think of all the processes that have worn everything down over the years, wonder what it looked like so long ago.

Thanks for the read!

It's a good day to be a duck....
soggy_tortillas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #3
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 582
I bet it would have been so cool to see that lake drained! Wow!!!!
It's a good day to be a duck....
soggy_tortillas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #4
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Say 14 mi long, average 1 mile wide, average 90 ft deep. That's 800 af (similar to Blue Mesa Reservoir). Send that all downstream in one day and you've got 400k cfs. Them's boatable flows!
DanOrion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #5
rivervibe's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 379
Thanks for the post! I love stuff like this too. I always point out to friends in my car all the glacial evidence in the Ark Valley that you see when driving north to BV. You can clearly see glacial moraines stretching across the valley in the vicinity of Nathrop and one can even imagine how the glaciers coming down from the Collegiates pushed the river up against the Mosquitoes on river left.

Indeed. Such an amazing place to live!
Please take a look at my Photo Web Gallery.
I also have here some gear reviews (that I might update soon).
rivervibe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #6
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Good stuff Phil. Thanks for the lesson.
The sunshine walked beside her
glenn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #7
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 321
GLOFs are a frequent occurrence in places where glaciers are retreating (which is almost everywhere that has glaciers these days due to climate change). Here is a video of a GLOF in Nepal. They often come in spurts as many glacial dams collapse in stages. The water is so thick with sediment it flows almost more like a viscous oil.

benpetri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #8
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
Cool vid. I remember reading an AW article maybe 20 years ago about a river trip in Nepal that came to a confluence with a trib that was in mid GLOF. I think they were on a couple rafts and got destroyed by the volume.
Phil U. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015   #9
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 52
Thanks for sharing - cool stuff. Do you know if Vince matthews will be doing the class again this year? If so, I might try to take it.
outwash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2015   #10
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 740
The More You Know!

Couldn't resist.

Other Animated GIF

yesimapirate is online now   Reply With Quote

ark, arkansas, arkansas river

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lost: Paddle on Arkansas River below Bear Creek Rapids kaufmanncar Lost & Found 0 05-23-2005 08:31 AM
Arkansas River on the rise!! marko Whitewater Kayaking 0 07-30-2004 07:04 PM
Lost Paddle: Pine Creek, Arkansas River O Lost & Found 0 06-18-2004 11:08 PM
Team Wavesport Lesson/Arkansas River marko Whitewater Kayaking 1 06-11-2004 11:07 AM
Team Wavesport lesson on Arkansas River marko Whitewater Kayaking 5 05-28-2004 10:46 AM

» Classified Ads
Demo Hobie Adventure...

posted by 4CRS

This is a used Hobie Adventure 10'8" Inflatable Stand Up...

Dagger Nomad Medium Lime

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


Pyranha Burn 3 Large B/G/W

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:15 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.