Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers

Early in Thanksgiving week we were able to visit an iconic location of the American West, the confluence of the Green (left) and Colorado (right) Rivers. There has been so much written about these rivers and so much western history has happened between the two rivers that a visit here is really mandatory for any devotee of the area.

You can clearly see the Green River with a large dose of suspended solids coming into the main stem of the Colorado looking just like a lateral moraine between two converging alpine glaciers. It is interesting to watch the dividing line between the two rivers slowly dissipate as you travel down stream. Any trace of this division will be obliterated in about four miles when the rivers passes through the upper most rapid in Cataract Canyon, Brown Betty.

Last year, I had the opportunity to fly over the confluence and experience the "google earth" view. You can see the silty Green River water staying remarkably separate from the Colorado for quite a ways further than this year's experience. The biggest reason was last year's discharge was approximately 800 cfs and this year it was flowing at over 2400 cfs.

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