First Advisor

Adam Booth

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geology and University Honors




Watersheds -- Mathematical models, Geomorphology -- California -- Eel River Watershed, Structural geology -- California -- Case studies, Plate tectonics -- California -- Case studies




In mountainous landscapes throughout the world bedrock dominated river channels record a history of the tectonic and climatic evolution of the drainage basins that contain them. In traditional analysis of river profiles, uplift and erosion are considered to be in balance in a steady state. In this study the transient state of a drainage basin is explored and numerically modeled, where a Gaussian shaped pulse of tectonic uplift overwhelms the river's incision and forces a diversion of the drainage network. I review the derivation of and use the detachment limited stream power equation to execute a model to find the physical condition that produce these dramatic drainage response. The Eel River and the unique tectonics of the nearby Mendocino Triple Junction, a well-researched case study in this phenomenon, provide context and parameters. The results of my models suggest that a rapid increase in uplift and a low erosion factor are the two most important conditions for a diversion response.


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