Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Short-Term Wildfire Impacts in a Rocky Mountain Catchment: Searching for Evidence of Riverine Black Carbon Transport after the Cold Springs Wildfire Public Deposited

  • Black Carbon (BC) is a long-lasting and ubiquitous product of combustion. It is found nearly everywhere on the Earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere. It was originally considered to be very stable in soils, but is now understood to be mobile in terrestrial and aquatic environments. The magnitude of BC flux into oceans via riverine transport has been established, but the exact conditions under which transport occurs are unknown. This research monitored surface water sites to determine if a pulse of BC could be identified from a recently burned forested area in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. BC was shown to vary more highly in concentration at lower stream order, however, short-term trends in concentration demonstrated no signal of recent fire activity in dissolved BC. Instead, surface waters exhibited evidence of a stable pool of dissolved BC being released to streams from the watershed.
Date Awarded
  • 2017-01-01
Academic Affiliation
Committee Member
Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2019-12-02
Resource Type
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