Quantifying landscape evolution along the Salmon River, central Idaho

Brian Yanites, Geology

In the recent geologic past, the Salmon River has eroded a deep canyon along its path. Understanding the history of the river system and the driving mechanisms of landscape change in the region has important implications for a number of disciplines such as the geologic history of the central Idaho and the evolution of fish species in the Inland Northwest. The work presented here will improve our understanding of the controls and driving mechanisms of landscape change along the Salmon River. This will be accomplished by calibrating a numerical model for erosion processes in the region around the Salmon River. The model will be used to estimate a date of incision of the Salmon River, which will provide insight on the mechanisms driving landscape change in this region. Support of the grant will allow the PI to use a novel technique that measures the rate of erosion in a river basin, which is necessary for model calibration. The project will establish a new research direction for the PI in a local area with high potential for scientific discovery. The results will be disseminated in a journal article and will also provide the preliminary data necessary for a larger NSF proposal.