Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Geological Sciences

First Advisor

Gregory Tucker

Second Advisor

Charles Stern

Third Advisor

Melissa Nigro

Fourth Advisor

Jason Kean


A single basaltic lava flow entered the Little Colorado River channel in the late Pleistocene, making it an ideal candidate for studying a river’s response to a lava flow blockage. Approximately ~125 km from where the Little Colorado River enters the Grand Canyon, remnants of the lava flow are seen along the western canyon wall of the Little Colorado River downstream of Grand Falls. Grand Falls features a knickpoint in the process of creating an epigenetic gorge adjacent to the basalt filled paleochannel. Modeling of the removal of this basalt flow from the Little Colorado River channel shows strong dependence on erodibility with lithological changes when using a sediment flux dependent stream power model.