Using Terrestrial LiDAR to Monitor Erosion within the Gold Basin Landslide Complex, Verlot, WA
In 2014 the United States Forest Service closed the Gold Basin Campground of western Washington in an effort to protect the public from unstable hillslopes directly adjacent to the campground. The Gold Basin Landslide Complex (GBLC) is actively eroding via block fall, dry ravel, and debris flows, which contribute sediment into the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River. This sediment diminishes the salmonid population within the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River by reducing habitable spawning grounds, which is a big concern to the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. In this investigation, I quantified patterns of degradation and total volume of sediment erosion from the middle lobe of the GBLC over the period of July 2015 through January 2016 using terrestrial (ground-based) LiDAR (TLS). I characterized site specific stratigraphy and geomorphic processes, and laid the groundwork for future, long-term monitoring of this site. Results of this investigation determined that ~ 4,800m3 of sediment was eroded from the middle lobe of the GBLC during the 6 month study period (July 2015 – January 2016). This erosion likely occurred from debris flows, raveling of poorly sorted sand and gravel deposits and block failures of high plasticity silts and clays, and/or other mass wasting mechanisms. The generalized stratigraphic sequence in the GBLC consists of alternating massive beds of sand and gravel with silts and clays. The low permeability of these silts and clays provide a perfect venue for groundwater to percolate, as I observed during field investigations, which likely contributes to the active instability of the hillslopes. Continued monitoring and mapping of this complex will lead to viable information that could help both the United States Forest Service and the Stillaguamish Tribe.