Abstract by Joel Barker
Water balance study and climate record analysis of a fen and its accompanying watershed in Central Utah
During unusually wet conditions in the Younger Dryas period, parts of the Fish Lake Plateau of central Utah experienced large landslides, creating a chaotic terrain of hummocks and swales with small internally drained basins forming lakes, ponds, and fens. Previous climate records and new RockEval pyrolysis data showed that one fen switched between wetland and pond environments since the landslide occurred. To understand this transition from wetland to pond (and vice versa), a water budget must be created for the corresponding watershed:
where G_w=Groundwater In, ET=Evapotanspiration, and R=Runoff
The water table is tracked using three pressure transducers in a well at the center of the fen, while a cylindrical flume measures any spillage (runoff). Evapotranspiration is related to published NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data:
While prior studies established a qualitative climate record, we hope to quantify the change in precipitation needed to change the fen to a pond all year.