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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A buddy and I ran up to the Lake Powell delta this weekend from Bullfrog Marina. It has channelized out a bunch.
We ran into some buzzards floating out of cat and had the best Carne Asada! Incredible hospitality.
I don't want to "out" anyone as a motor head but... I sure had fun running into you folks.

If you're triggered by motors but still want to see the delta, skip to 2:37 in the vid.

 

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It was absolutely wonderful running into you guys. You guys are always welcome at my dinner table/campfire.

The delta was super rowdy against the cliff below white canyon creek. If anyone is planning on running out to bullfrog keep the lifejackets on until you are on the lake. Large sand waves and unpredictable features all over the place...
 

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Super Cool! Thanks for documenting this awesome geologic event. I spied it from the bridge a couple days ago and wondered what it looked like. How many ponies are you guys running on the outboards?
 

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Thanks for the vids.... heard all about it from AZPowell on my ride home from Cataract on the 11th. We had a great trip too...short and sweet. That Northwash takeout sure does suck right now though.

Looks like a great frame @BGillespie made for your sport boat too. Looking forward to someday getting on the river with ya.
 

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Nice work, John. Thanks for posting that! Just to be clear, were those the silt escarpments crumbling into the river between 4 and 5 minutes on the video?
 

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Wow your updated video was very interesting compared to photos I saw from our friend Brent who was up there this spring. I posted some of his photos on one of the threads going in the spring about cataract or dirty devil. Nothing like burning a little gas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice work, John. Thanks for posting that! Just to be clear, were those the silt escarpments crumbling into the river between 4 and 5 minutes on the video?
It looked more like the historic debris that lines steeper canyon walls. Sorry I don't have an eye for geological/erosion features. I'm a retired glue sniffer...
I have 2 other videos on my YouTube channel that my buddy Brent posted. The delta is in better lighting. There hasn't been much change since June when my buddy Brent was there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow your updated video was very interesting compared to photos I saw from our friend Brent who was up there this spring. I posted some of his photos on one of the threads going in the spring about cataract or dirty devil. Nothing like burning a little gas.
When we ran it in May, a week after Brent's run, the "mud-bergs" were 8 foot tall. Much more braided and less defined.
It seems to be channelizing on river right.
Although, similar to AZpowells comments, the sand waves above the delta and below hite are big enough to warrant life jackets.
 

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I had never been down through the delta before and now wish I would have taken some video while I was down there... on the sweeping right corner below white creek canyon there were some of those 8 foot tall sediment bergs. It looked like during the major blowouts on the green and dirty devil the river pushed up against the canyon wall and was caring at the bergs from the bottom up. The sediment chunks were tilted and the main flow was only about 30-40 feet wide. The waves coming off the walls and the bergs were very irregular. One of the waves we blasted through (while still barged up, 25 snout, 16' cat, and 14' raft) was about the size of sock it to me at around 4k... I had to drive the boat below this into the canyon wall and untie the smaller boats to fit through the narrow channels exiting through the bergs (3-4 narrow channels about 10-15 feet wide)... there were multiple spots that could have pinned and flipped a very large boat including my snout along this corner...

After exiting that shoot the river was extremely shallow and covered in sandwaves from about 1' 2.5' tall, and was running my jackass very shallow until we were back in green water...
 

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I ran Cataract with the CU Kayak Club spring break trip in March in 2001 and 2002. 2001 we had to rent a motor boat to get across the lake that came all the way to at least Gypsum Canyon. 2002 was the first major year they lowered the lake levels and current went almost all the way to Hite (maybe half a mile of rowing/paddling across the lake). It was crazy how fast we made it out in 2002. It was actually really fun. Narrow, constantly shifting sand waves, and the current never stopped.

Craziest part of the day was my buddy Tim stopped to pee on a spot that he thought was dry, hard, ground but as he stepped out of his kayak and put weight on the ground it gave way and he was instantly up to his arm pits in thick, wet, heavy silt muck. The only reason he didn't go deeper was because he fell onto his kayak as he went down. Took him 10 minutes to get back in the boat. His whole kayak was FILLED with that sticky mud. Kinda scary when ya think about it....who knows how deep he would have gone.

It is definitely going to be interesting watching what happens with the erosion at the delta and how the river channelizes.
 

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A buddy and I ran up to the Lake Powell delta this weekend from Bullfrog Marina. It has channelized out a bunch.
We ran into some buzzards floating out of cat and had the best Carne Asada! Incredible hospitality.
I don't want to "out" anyone as a motor head but... I sure had fun running into you folks.

If you're triggered by motors but still want to see the delta, skip to 2:37 in the vid.

Of course you did, looks like a killer time..
 
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Wonder what's in those "sediment bergs." If they are White Canyon uranium mill tailings, might want to call them The Udall Piles. Udall and his Wrecked Bureau were unwilling to give AEC time to remove tailings before filling Fowell, not that AEC wasn't a willing participant in all kinds of radioactive atrocities involving our rivers.

White Canyon uranium mill (also known as Hite, Utah, uranium mill), San Juan County
The small mill, essentially a pilot-scale operation, began operating in mid 1949. The mill was shut down at the end of 1953. Over its operating life, the mill treated 26,358 (short) tons of ore averaging 0.43 percent U3O8. On average, 43 percent of the ore's uranium was not recovered, but remained in the mill tailings impounded at the mill site.
The mill was dismantled by Vanadium Corporation of America (VCA) in about 1954. Based on the quantity of ore treated at the mill, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) estimated that some 26,000 tons of tailings were originally impounded at the mill site.
In November 1963, when the future Lake Powell was scheduled to begin forming behind the Glen Canyon Dam, the AEC requested the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to determine what would be the future radiation effect of the White Canyon mill tailings, which contained an estimated 13 grams of radium-226, when flooded by the lake. The study concluded that, given the isolated location of the site and the dilution factor represented by the large volume of water in the lake, the mill tailings could remain at the former mill site and be inundated by the lake waters. It was postulated that, after a period of years, the natural action of sedimentation in the lake would cover the tailings under several feet of silt. After the study, VCA in the mid 1960s removed some "high grade" tailings material from the former mill site and presumably reprocessed those tailings at its Shiprock, New Mexico, mill.
The former mill site and the old tailings pile were covered by rising waters of Lake Powell in 1965.
Two independent studies of large mouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) from Lake Powell report that selenium concentrations in the fish greatly exceed national averages. This abnormally high selenium concentration in fish reflects the high concentration in the reservoir. Selenium transported from the submerged tailings piles is a likely contributor to the high concentration.
Sources and further information:
White Canyon Mill Site (DOE EIA)
Uranium Mill Tailings in the Colorado River Basin (Spring 2000, Glen Canyon Institute)
 

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It looked more like the historic debris that lines steeper canyon walls. Sorry I don't have an eye for geological/erosion features. I'm a retired glue sniffer...
I have 2 other videos on my YouTube channel that my buddy Brent posted. The delta is in better lighting. There hasn't been much change since June when my buddy Brent was there.
Thanks John. I'd really like to see what that stuff looks like up close, however as I've started thinking about it, the magnitude of the anthropogenic (man-made) silt deposits being exposed at the new delta is mindboggling. I saw someone refer to it as the "Dominy Formation" in a post on the UtahRafters FB page which seems appropriate. It'd be interesting to show it all on a geologic map (denoted by the geologic symbol "Qdm" of course).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
(denoted by the geologic symbol "QDm" of course).
Of course... haha.

I first heard the "Dominy Formation" from the Returning Rapids folks. I kinda DIG it.

One of these days, you'll need to do a cat trip with us and run out through the delta. You'll get to see it 1st hand... and then explain it to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wonder what's in those "sediment bergs." If they are White Canyon uranium mill tailings, might want to call them The Udall Piles. Udall and his Wrecked Bureau were unwilling to give AEC time to remove tailings before filling Fowell, not that AEC wasn't a willing participant in all kinds of radioactive atrocities involving our rivers.

White Canyon uranium mill (also known as Hite, Utah, uranium mill), San Juan County
The small mill, essentially a pilot-scale operation, began operating in mid 1949. The mill was shut down at the end of 1953. Over its operating life, the mill treated 26,358 (short) tons of ore averaging 0.43 percent U3O8. On average, 43 percent of the ore's uranium was not recovered, but remained in the mill tailings impounded at the mill site.
The mill was dismantled by Vanadium Corporation of America (VCA) in about 1954. Based on the quantity of ore treated at the mill, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) estimated that some 26,000 tons of tailings were originally impounded at the mill site.
In November 1963, when the future Lake Powell was scheduled to begin forming behind the Glen Canyon Dam, the AEC requested the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to determine what would be the future radiation effect of the White Canyon mill tailings, which contained an estimated 13 grams of radium-226, when flooded by the lake. The study concluded that, given the isolated location of the site and the dilution factor represented by the large volume of water in the lake, the mill tailings could remain at the former mill site and be inundated by the lake waters. It was postulated that, after a period of years, the natural action of sedimentation in the lake would cover the tailings under several feet of silt. After the study, VCA in the mid 1960s removed some "high grade" tailings material from the former mill site and presumably reprocessed those tailings at its Shiprock, New Mexico, mill.
The former mill site and the old tailings pile were covered by rising waters of Lake Powell in 1965.
Two independent studies of large mouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) from Lake Powell report that selenium concentrations in the fish greatly exceed national averages. This abnormally high selenium concentration in fish reflects the high concentration in the reservoir. Selenium transported from the submerged tailings piles is a likely contributor to the high concentration.
Sources and further information:
White Canyon Mill Site (DOE EIA)
Uranium Mill Tailings in the Colorado River Basin (Spring 2000, Glen Canyon Institute)
Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwww. Yuk.
 

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Thanks for posting that video. We (6 self-supported kayaks) put in below the Dirty Devil on 10/10 heading to Bullfrog. That day we went as far as the north side of The Horn. Sorry that I have no photos of the river between the put-in and the delta but I couldn't put my paddle down. It was easy floating until the river made a sharp right at White/Farley then it turned into a quarter-mile of Class II+ rapids through piles of mud. From Trachyte to the delta was a continuous string of 2-3' high sand waves. Never seen anything like it.
 
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