Capstone project

Geomorphology of Water Canyon Watershed on Santa Rosa Island

I established baseline morphological data to characterize Water Canyon watershed on Santa Rosa Island (33.9o North, 120.0o West), by taking cross-sections of the stream channel to study stream dynamics and sediment transport throughout Water Canyon watershed (August 2015-March 2016). To take the cross-sections I used an electronic survey tool known as the total station that measures slope distance, horizontal and vertical angles of a target point (Feng et al. 2001). Using these cross-sections allowed me to observe the channel morphology to identify sections of deposition and erosion of the stream channel in addition to making physical comparisons between upstream and downstream portions of the watershed. I studied the effects of faulting related to stream channel morphology and bedrock influences on slope and stream channel formation in the downstream reaches of the watershed. Being the first person to conduct fluvial geomorphological research on Water Canyon I have established permanent survey points along the stream channel with which to assess future stream channel evolution. Based on the data, I have found that the degree of longitudinal slope is similar throughout 91% of the survey points along the stream channel. However, the depth of the stream channel increases, and meander frequency decreases downstream of the fault compared to upstream. The physical landscape of the watershed shows evidence of faulting such as stream displacement, sinuosity differences, vegetation differences, and topographical changes in the faulted area of the stream channel. This means that faulting has played a large role in stream channel formation in the watershed. Also by creating baseline data and protocol, future research can be done to calculate physical stream channel changes and erosion rates throughout the watershed.

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