Danica Roth

Slope, Roughness, and Grain Size: What Does Throwing Rocks down Hills Tell Us about Steepland Sediment Transport before and after Wildfire?

Danica Roth, Colorado School of Mines

Commonly used sediment transport models are fundamentally unable to account for long-distance particle motions characteristic of steep regions. This type of transport is a primary cause of elevated erosion rates after wildfire and may even contribute to postfire debris flows in some areas. Roth will present recent work showing that the incineration of vegetation causes measurable changes in surface roughness that drastically increase particle travel distances. Experimental data from rock drop experiments on burned and vegetated slopes in the Oregon Coast Range demonstrate that long-distance particle motion falls into three distinct regimes along a continuum that can be systematically represented by a simple model that scales with surface slope, roughness, and particle size. These results represent a key first-order step toward accounting for the effects of surface roughness on long-distance transport when predicting postfire and steepland erosion.

Read more about Roth's research interests and current projects on her profile


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