Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Houston Saunderson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


A knowledge of spatial and temporal patterns of sediment yields and an understanding of the factors that determine those patterns have theoretical, environmental and socio-economic significance. To assess the change in sediment yields (in both space and time) a data base of 193 river gauging sites spanning the eastern provinces of Canada and eastern United States was compiled. The original source of the data was the United States Geological Survey data base (obtained from a Hydrosphere Data Inc. cd-rom) and Environment Canada (HYDAT) data base, which included stream discharge, sediment loads and basin areas, with record lengths of one year through 42 years. The results indicate non-stationarity in spatial patterns of yields and oscillations in the time series (for stations with at least 15 years of record length). The temporal trend spans eastern North America, indicating the significance of climatological conditions (wetter or dryer than normal weather conditions). The shifting spatial patterns can additionally be attributed to changes in land use and land disturbance. The magnitude differences between sediment yields across the study area (with a general inverse relationship of increasing sediment yield with decreasing latitude) are also attributed to availability of erodible material. Since the 1970s, many of the gauging stations have been closed, making long-term time series analysis difficult. As time goes on, the availability of basic hydrologic data and subsequent analysis become even more important in furthering our theoretical knowledge of global environmental change, and in planning and design of reservoirs and dams.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Sedimentology Commons