Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016ND307B

Effect of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment on Rivers and Drainage Basins in the Red River Valley

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,013 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,026

Principal Investigators: Phil Gerla

Abstract: Isostatic adjustment in the Red River region affected the development of the drainage pattern during the last 12,000 years and continues to do so in subtle ways. Strandlines, which were deposited horizontally by Lake Agassiz, bound the extremely low gradient Red River Valley (referred to as the Valley). Changes in strandline elevation from north to south can be attributed to higher rates of isostatic adjustment. Many tributaries of the Red River (of the North), and the Red River itself, respond to low gradient in different ways, such as frequent flooding and high sinuosity in the flood plain. The highly meandering river can cause riverbanks to become unstable, and frequent flooding damage can be costly. This research project will explore how adjustment influenced the development of the drainage pattern through time and continues to affect the potential for floods.