Research topic for Lee’s Ferry

Lee’s Ferry is notable due to the ease of access this location provides to the Colorado River. The river is normally bounded by steep rock walls, but at Lee’s Ferry, there is a gradual slope to the river. I would like to investigate the reasons for this change in topography.

The incision rate of a river into the surrounding rock is determined by several factors such as water velocity, grain size of sediment load, and the mechanical properties of the rock that the river is incising. Generally, incision rate increases with stream speed and turbulence, and with the size of the grains carries by the stream. Weaker rocks are also more easily cut into.

Since Lee’s Ferry lacks the steep rock walls found farther west, like in the Grand Canyon, I believe that the incision rate of the river at Lee’s Ferry must be lower than in other areas. I plan to measure river velocity, grain size, and the strength of the rock at Lee’s Ferry, and this data to that found by other studies of the Colorado River.

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An introduction


Lee’s Ferry, via flickr

Lee’s Ferry, Arizona is a historic area near the Utah-Arizona border. Located just 85 miles from the steep-walled the Grand Canyon, Lee’s Ferry served as an important Colorado River crossing point, as it is one of the few places where the river is easily accessible. The site is named after John Doyle Lee, who founded a ferry service there in the late 19th century.


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