2017 RM Cell


September 8-10, Sawtooth Mountains and South Fork Payette River, Idaho

The 2017 Rocky Mountain FOP will examine how the geologic setting on million-year timescales sets the stage for glaciers, fires, erosion and channel evolution on modern timescales. The first day of this 2 ½ day field trip will provide an overview of the geologic history of central Idaho (Paul Link), followed by an exploration of the history of glaciation and recent faulting in the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains (Glenn Thackray), and isotopic and sedimentological records of salmon and disturbance in Redfish Lake (Mark Shapley and Bruce Finney). We will end day one with ‘cocktails and conifers,’ where Cathy Whitlock will discuss Holocene reconstructions of vegetation change from lake pollen and charcoal records. On Saturday, we will drive down the South Fork Payette River and examine Holocene terrace formation and channel incision (Jen Pierce, Tammy Rittenour), and Holocene records of fires and debris flows (Jen Pierce). At Lowman Idaho, we will turn up Clear Creek for a tour of the extensive 2016 Pioneer fire, recent debris flows and channel change (Jaime Goode, Nick Ellett). We will conclude on Sunday with discussions of channel evolution in the unconfined headwaters of the Salmon River (Jaime Goode), and records of fires and debris flows in the nearby Middle Fork Salmon (Kerry Riley).

This itinerary is available as a pdf (for sharing or printing).

Preliminary Itinerary


Evening: arrive at campsites. Camping will be at either Redfish Lake or Stanley Lake.


Glenn Thackray, Mark Shapley: Glacial moraine sequence and isotopic lake records — Pettit Lake
Glenn Thackray-Finding Fault: Sawtooth fault scarp in moraines of Fishhook/ Thompson Lake area.
Paul Link: Overview of geologic history of central Idaho
Cathy-cocktails and conifers


Jen Pierce Lar Svenson: Coffee and Fire history of the Sawtooths
Morning-overview of field stops, combine vehicles if possible
Depart down highway 21 to SF Payette
Helende Campground: Stop for terrace talk (Tammy/Jen). Bathrooms available
Additional fire/stratigraphy stop along way to Lowman (TBD)
Turn up Clear Creek/Bear Valley road. Stop 12 miles up road for overview of Pioneer fire (Jen/Jaime/Nick)
Monument debris flow and channel change (Nick/Jaime)
Loop back to camp through Bear Valley. Stop to watch salmon spawning (hopefully). Colden? Dan?

Sunday morning

Unconfined channels-headwaters of Salmon (Jaime)
Fires and debris flows in the Middle Fork (Kerry), Soldier Bark and Big Creek (Paul/Ben)
Responses of streamflow to climate warming (Ben/Chris/Sarah)

Parting of ways: ISU/Mt State could have optional extension of geo. talk if you depart through Sun Valley. Boise-bound folks — Garden Valley fault (Spencer Wood)


Jen Pierce, Jaime Goode, Nick Ellett


Jen Pierce, Jaime Goode, Nick Ellett, Glenn Thackray, Paul Link, Kerry Riley, Tammy Rittenour, Mark Shapley, Cathy Whitlock, Bruce Finney, Ben Crosby (?), Sarah Godsey (?), Colden Baxter (?) Dan Issak? Spencer Wood (?)

    Related articles:

  • Goode, J. R., Buffington, J. M., Tonina, D., Isaak, D. J., Thurow, R. F., Wenger, S., … & Soulsby, C. (2013). Potential effects of climate change on streambed scour and risks to salmonid survival in snow‐dominated mountain basins. Hydrological Processes, 27(5), 750-765.
  • Pierce, Jennifer L., Grant A. Meyer, and AJ Timothy Jull. “Fire-induced erosion and millennial-scale climate change in northern ponderosa pine forests.” Nature 432.7013 (2004): 87.
  • Pierce, Jennifer L., Grant A. Meyer, and Tammy Rittenour. “The relation of Holocene fluvial terraces to changes in climate and sediment supply, South Fork Payette River, Idaho.” Quaternary Science Reviews 30.5 (2011): 628-645.
  • Riley, Kerry, Jennifer Pierce, and Grant A. Meyer. “Vegetative and climatic controls on Holocene wildfire and erosion recorded in alluvial fans of the Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho.” The Holocene 25.5 (2015): 857-871.
  • Svenson LO (2010) Fire and climate in a Lodgepole Forest of Central Idaho: Annual, decadal, centennial, and millennial perspectives. Master’s Thesis, Boise State University, ID.
  • Tennant, Christopher J., Benjamin T. Crosby, and Sarah E. Godsey. “Elevation‐dependent responses of streamflow to climate warming.” Hydrological processes 29.6 (2015): 991-1001.
  • Thackray, Glenn D., Kari A. Lundeen, and Jennifer A. Borgert. “Latest Pleistocene alpine glacier advances in the Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho, USA: reflections of midlatitude moisture transport at the close of the last glaciation.” Geology 32.3 (2004): 225-228.
  • Thackray, Glenn D., David W. Rodgers, and David Streutker. “Holocene scarp on the Sawtooth fault, central Idaho, USA, documented through lidar topographic analysis.” Geology 41.6 (2013): 639-642.
  • Whitlock, Cathy, et al. “Holocene vegetation, fire and climate history of the Sawtooth Range, central Idaho, USA.” Quaternary Research 75.1 (2011): 114-124.