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Title: Quantifying sources of fine sediment supplied to post-fire debris flows in forest catchments using fallout radionuclide tracers
Authors: Smith, HG
Sheridan, GJ
Nyman, P
Child, DP
Lane, PNJ
Hotchkis, MAC
Jacobsen, GE
Keywords: Sediments
Tracer Techniques
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2012
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Smith, H. G., Sheridan, G. J., Nyman, P., Child, D. P., Lane, P.N.J., Hotchkis, M. A. C., Jacobsen, G. E. (2012). Quantifying sources of fine sediment supplied to post-fire debris flows using fallout radionuclide tracers. GEOMORPHOLOGY, 139, 403-415.
Abstract: Fine sediment supply has been identified as an important factor contributing to the initiation of runoff-generated debris flows after fire. However, despite the significance of fines for post-fire debris flow generation, no investigations have sought to quantify sources of this material in debris flow affected catchments. In this study, we employ fallout radionuclides ((CS)-C-137, Pb-210(ex) and Pu-239,Pu-240) as tracers to measure proportional contributions of fine sediment (<10 mu m) from hillslope surface and channel bank sources to levee and terminal fan deposits formed by post-fire debris flows in two forest catchments in southeastern Australia. While Cs-137 and Pb-210(ex) have been widely used in sediment tracing studies, application of Pu as a tracer represents a recent development and was limited to only one catchment. The ranges in estimated proportional hillslope surface contributions of fine sediment to individual debris flow deposits in each catchment were 22-69% and 32-74%. The greater susceptibility of Pb-210(ex) to apparent reductions in the ash content of channel deposits relative to hillslope sources resulted in its exclusion from the final analysis. No systematic change in the proportional source contributions to debris flow deposits was observed with distance downstream from channel initiation points. Instead, spatial variability in source contributions was largely influenced by the pattern of debris flow surges forming the deposits. Linking the tracing analysis with interpretation of depositional evidence allowed reconstruction of temporal sequences in sediment source contributions to debris flow surges. Hillslope source inputs dominated most elevated channel deposits such as marginal levees that were formed under peak flow conditions. This indicated the importance of hillslope runoff and fine sediment supply for debris flow generation in both catchments. In contrast, material stored within channels that was deposited during subsequent surges was predominantly channel-derived. The results demonstrate that fallout radionuclide tracers may provide unique information on changing source contributions of fine sediment during debris flow events. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Gov't Doc #: 4202
ISSN: 0169-555X
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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