Physiographically controlled allometry of specific sediment yield in the Canadian Cordillera: A lake sediment-based approach

E. Schiefer, O. Slaymaker, B. Klinkenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


It is generally supposed that specific sediment yield declines as the drainage basin area increases, as part of the mobilized sediment becomes trapped in the downstream cascade of storage zones. In British Columbia, using fluvial suspended sediment load data. Church and Slaymaker (Nature 1989. Vol 337. pp. 452-454) have observed a pattern of increasing specific sediment yield at all spatial scales up to 3 × 104 km2. This trend has been attributed to the dominance of secondary remobilization of Quaternary sediments over primary denudation of the land surface. Using a larger data set of lake sediment-based estimates of long-term sediment yield, sub-regional patterns of specific yield have been investigated for the Canadian Cordillera. Between spatial scales of 0.9 and 190 km2 sediment yield trends are differentiated by physiography, as indicated by the variable allometry observed in the specific sediment yield-drainage basin area relations. Highest sediment yields were observed in the Coast Mountains where specific sediment yields conform to the regional pattern described by Church and Slaymaker. However, in flat-lying plateau and major valley areas specific sediment yield decreases with increasing drainage area, thus conforming to the conventional model of sediment delivery. In several other sub-regions of intermediate relief there were no significant relations between specific yield and drainage area. These results suggest that no single model of sediment yield is adequate to describe sediment transfer processes in the Canadian Cordillera at the sub-regional scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalGeografiska Annaler, Series A: Physical Geography
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Geology


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