Document type: DU ETD
Collection: Geology Theses  
Title An Analysis of the Hillslope-Floodplain Boundary
Author(s) Rudd, Lawrence P.
School/Department Department of Geography
Institution University of Denver
Degree Type Master's
Degree Name M.A.
Type of Resource text
Degree Date 1980 December
Digital Origin reformatted digital
Rights Statement All Rights Reserved
Reason for Restrictions No restrictions
Type of Restriction No restrictions
Keyword(s) Geography
Genre Dissertations, Academic
Abstract The basal hillslope endpoint is studied on concave-convex hillslopes bordering floodplains. The purpose of this study is to establish a definition of the hillslope-floodplain boundary according to formative process. The physical characteristics of the sediments deposited on each landform are believed to reflect the distinctive processes involved in the formation of each landform. The study area is located in the drainage basin of Fountain Creek, about two miles northeast of Pinon, Colorado. This area has a mid-latitude steppe, a semiarid climate and is underlain by nearly flat lying Pierre Shale of upper Cretaceous age. All of the hillslopes used in this study are located in third order drainage basins. Analysis of the particle size distributions of hillslope and floodplain sediments revealed that the hillslope-floodplain boundary takes the form of a broad transition zone in the study area and cannot be located within the 1.5 foot soil sampling interval used in the study. Neither the verbal description of the sorting of each soil sample nor a comparison of soil organic content to distance downslope could be used to distinguish between hillslope and floodplain sediments. Three size parameters (median, mean, and sorting) of the soil samples taken furthest on the floodplain side of all the sampling areas studied were found to be significantly different, at the 5%level, from soil samples taken furthest on the hillslope side of all the sampling areas indicating that the hillslope-floodplain boundary occurs within this transition zone. The hillslope-floodplain transition zone could not be narrowed to one sampling interval when the individual soil samples were compared using bivariate scattergrams,correlation and regression analysis, and a second paired t-test. On none of the hillslopes studied could the hillslopefloodplain boundary be located using three hillslope endpoint definitions proposed in the literature, consequently, no comparison was made between the different definitions of the basal hillslope endpoint. In conclusion it is suggested that the shale lithology and small drainage basin order in the study area had the greatest influence on the inability of this study to locate the hillslope floodplain boundary.
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