Debris-flow monitoring, Chalk Cliffs, Colorado

  • View of monitoring basin from the debris-flow fan near Chaffee County Road 162.
  • Station 1 (view down-channel).
  • Station 2 (view down-channel).
  • Station 3 (view down-channel)
  • Map of the study basin
  • View from video camera towards Station1


Chalk Cliffs, located 8 miles southwest of Buena Vista, CO, is one of the most active debris-flow areas in the state. Typically one or more debris flows occur each year after intense or prolonged rainfall. The debris flows are triggered by surface-water runoff over loose material stored in channels.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its cooperators have installed debris-flow monitoring equipment in the largest drainage basin at Chalk Cliffs.

Purpose of Monitoring

Data collection at this site supports research on the hydrologic factors that control debris-flow initiation, entrainment, and flow dynamics.

The instrumentation was installed in the summer of 2008 and includes a series of three monitoring stations located along the main channel. Data from one of these stations (Station 1) is transmitted from the site and displayed here.

Current Monitoring Status


Frequency of Web Graph Updates

Graphs are updated approximately every 5 minutes. Typically the most recent data on the graph lags the current time by about 5 minutes. Updates may be interrupted occasionally by instrument, computer, or network malfunctions.

Monitoring performed in Cooperation with

University of Colorado (National Science Foundation award EAR-06-43353 to G.E. Tucker) and East Carolina University (National Science Foundation award BCS-0934131 to T.A. Wasklewicz).

Interactive Panorama

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For more information


This monitoring site was operated as part of a research project. Active data collection may be discontinued at any time in the future.

These data are preliminary and have not received final approval. Data relayed by radio or other telemetry have received little or no review. Inaccuracies in the data may be present because of instrument malfunctions or physical changes at the measurement site. Subsequent review may result in significant revisions to the data.

Data users are cautioned to consider carefully the provisional nature of the information before using it for decisions that concern personal or public safety or the conduct of business that involves substantial monetary or operational consequences.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

U.S. Geological Survey
Geologic Hazards Team
Box 25046, MS 966
Denver, CO 80225