Date of Graduation

Summer 2014


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


floodplains, fluvial sediments, urban pollution, topographic control, Wilson Creek

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences | Geology | Sedimentology


Elevated concentrations of toxic metals in sediments represent an environmental threat, but can also be used as tracers for dating floodplain deposits, particularly if the pollution history is known. Following, metal profile variations within floodplain soil cores affected by urban releases can provide an understanding of human-related watershed changes and geomorphic history. Wilson Creek in Springfield, Missouri drains the old industrial center of the city that dates back to the mid-1800s. The purpose of this study is to investigate the geomorphic history of urban floodplain deposition along a 597 m long reach of Wilson Creek, located immediately below a USGS discharge gaging station. The sub-basin of this study area drains 96 km2 of southern Greene County. Metal analysis of floodplain surface samples indicate that landform elevation, proximity to the channel, and channel capacity contribute to sedimentation patterns. Field and LiDAR data in combination with a NRCS soil map allowed for accurate identification of valley floor landforms and associated distribution patterns of anthropogenic metals Cu, Pb, and Zn and the naturally occurring metals Ca and Fe. Aerial photographs supported these findings based on width measurements from select channel locations over a 57-year period. Results suggest that channel widening due to greater flow energy occurred throughout most of the study reach since 1953, except for cross-sections affected by bedrock control.


© Aubree Lynn Vaughan

Campus Only