First Advisor

Scott F. Burns

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology






Debris avalanches -- Oregon -- Mount Hood, Mudflows -- Oregon -- Mount Hood



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiv, 179 p.) : col. ill., col. maps


In November, 2006, a storm generated a minimum of 34 cm of precipitation in six days, triggering debris flows in many of the drainages on all sides of Mount Hood, Oregon. Of the eleven drainages surveyed, seven experienced debris flows; these include the White River, Salmon River, Clark Creek, Newton Creek, Eliot Creek, Ladd Creek and Sandy River basins. Flows in the White River, Eliot Creek, and Newton Creek, caused major damage to bridges and roadways. Initiation elevations averaged around 1,860 meters. Initiation zone material was predominantly sand (45-82%) with gravel (15-49%) and had few fines (3-5%). Four debris flows were triggered by landslides caused by undercutting of the river banks. Three developed through coalescence of multiple small debris flows within major channels and were termed "headless debris flows". Physical and morphological characterization of source areas was used to assess factors controlling debris flow initiation. Although findings indicate that all major drainages on Mount Hood are capable of producing debris flows, drainages with direct connection to a glacier, low percentages of vegetation, and moderate gradients in the upper basin were the most susceptible. Among basins not having debris flows, neither the Zigzag River nor Polallie Creek have a direct connection to a glacier, And the Muddy Fork and the Coe both have high percentages of vegetated slopes. The material in the upper basin of the Muddy Fork is predominately rock making initiation there weathering-limited. Additionally, the Muddy Fork and the Zigzag have two of the steepest gradients on the mountain. This pattern suggests that material there is regularly transported downstream through normal fluvial processes rather than building up to be catastrophically removed through debris flow processes.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Geology

Persistent Identifier