Abstract— Discharge and sediment distributions control the efficiency of sediment transport and incision into bedrock units in active stream channels. The efficiency of stream erosion is an important factor influencing the evolution of mountain landscapes. Variations in yearly precipitation affect the timing of snowmelt, and therefore, the water availability for discharge in high elevation streams. This study explores how differences in annual precipitation can impact alpine stream erosion. Water discharge, bed load sediments, and suspended solids were observed for major streams draining watershed areas between 10 km² and 43 km² in the Teton Mountain Range in northwestern Wyoming, USA. The maximum sediment sizes capable of being moved through the stream channels at late summer flow conditions were determined using basal shear stress and critical shear stress calculations. Annual precipitation data over 2 years was compared with sediment transport conditions to compare how precipitation impacted erosion. Erosion proved to be effective in both high and low precipitation conditions; however higher precipitation resulted in prolonged snowmelt, higher discharge, greater sediment transport, and therefore higher erosional efficiency.
Keywords— Teton Mountains, alpine streams, discharge, sediment transport.
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