chapter  14
10 Pages

ERODE – A Computer Model of Drainage Basin Development Under Changing Baselevel Conditions

WithN. Luanne Vanderpool

ERODE is a three-dimensional FORTRAN computer model which simulates the major geomorphic processes (slab failure and rockfall, rock creep, surface wash transport, gullying, and stream erosion) for slope development in a small drainage basin typical of the Colorado Plateau. ERODE is specific to the present climate and geologic conditions of the Colorado Plateau. However, it is a general-purpose model which can be used to study the consequences of changes in various conditions within the drainage basin.

ERODE has been employed to study the effects on a small drainage basin of variations in the local baselevel in the form of a relatively sudden increase or decrease. Such changes commonly occur in tributaries to major reservoirs such as Lake Powell, Utah, in response to energy and water usage demands. Results of this experiment confirm accepted ideas about baselevel: a rapid rise in baselevel results in decreased erosion, a rapid drop in baselevel results in increased erosion and stream incision. The baselevel changes result in only localized changes in the development of the basin. Long spans of time (tens of thousands of years) are required for effects to propagate upstream and upslope in the basin.