Journal of Earth Science Research
Journal of Earth Science Research(JESR)
Frequency: Annually
Field Validation of DEM- and GIS-Derived Longitudinal Stream Profiles
Longitudinal stream profiles provide valuable information concerning geomorphic features and energy states in a stream. Traditionally, stream profiles have been generated by field surveying or topographic map analysis. The continued growth of digital data and Geographic Information Systems (GISs) provide another method by which to achieve stream profile generation. This work examines the effectiveness of digital data, digital elevation models (DEM), and GIS to construct stream profiles. To determine the most effective and accurate data for profile generation, profiles were created using 1-meter (1-m) and 3-meter (3-m) DEMs developed from LiDAR data. Additionally, stream profiles were created from unfilled DEMs and filled DEMs to determine the need to correct potential errors in the DEMs. Thirty-three stream longitudinal profiles were created using GIS, with six segments verified by field surveys. Filled DEMs were found to remove actual features; thus, the filled DEMs were used in subsequent analyses. No significant differences between profiles generated from 1-m and 3-m were observed. Stream profiles constructed from unfilled, 3-m DEMs were similar to profiles generated from field surveyed data, although elevation differences were noted.
Keywords:DEM Resolution; Karst; Driftless Area; Lidar
Author: Kathryn E. Schroeder,Eric W. Peterson,Toby J. Dogwiler


  1. Duvall, A., E. Kirby, and D. Burbank, "Tectonic and lithologic controls on bedrock channel profiles and processes in coastal California," Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 2004, 109(F03002).
  2. Bishop, P. and G. Goldrick, "Morphology, processes and evolution of two waterfalls near Cowra, New South Wales," Australian Geographer, 23(2): p. 116-121, 1992.
  3. Bishop, P., "Long-term landscape evolution: linking tectonics and surface processes," Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32(3): p. 329-365, 2007.
  4. Goldrick, G. and P. Bishop, "Differentiating the roles of lithology and uplift in the steepening of bedrock river long profiles: An example from southeastern Australia," The Journal of Geology, 103(2): p. 227-231,1995.
  5. Goldrick, G. and P. Bishop, "Regional analysis of bedrock stream long profiles: evaluation of Hack's SL form, and formulation and assessment of an alternative (the DS form)," Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32(5): p. 649-671, 2007.
  6. Bridge, J.S., Rivers and floodplains: Forms, processes, and sedimentary record, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, p. 491, 2003.
  7. Mackin, J.H., "Concept of the graded river," Geological Society of America Bulletin, 59(5): p. 463-512, 1948.
  8. Halket, I.H., P.F. Rasmussen, and J.C. Doering, "The effect of the pool and riffle on dissolved, non-conservative mass transport in rivers," Water Quality Research Journal of Canada, 48(3): p. 232-242, 2013.
  9. Milne, J.A., "Bed-material size and the riffle-pool sequence," Sedimentology, 29(2): p. 267-278, 1982.
  10. Larue, J.-P., "Longitudinal profiles and knickzones: the example of the rivers of the Cher basin in the northern French Massif Central," Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 122(1): p. 125-142, 2011.
  11. Bishop, P., T.B. Hoey, J.D. Jansen, and I.L. Artza, "Knickpoint recession rate and catchment area: the case of uplifted rivers in Eastern Scotland," Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 30(6): p. 767-778, 2005.
  12. MacGregor, K.R., R.S. Anderson, S.P. Anderson, and E.D. Waddington, "Numerical simulations of glacial-valley longitudinal profile evolution," Geology, 28(11): p. 1031-1034, 2000.
  13. Woodside, J., E.W. Peterson, and T. Dogwiler, "Longitudinal profile and sediment mobility as geomorphic tools to interpret the history of a fluviokarst stream system," International Journal of Speleology, 44(2): p. 197-206, 2015.
  14. Morris, P.H. and D.J. Williams, "Exponential longitudinal profiles of streams," Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 22(2): p. 143-163, 1997.
  15. Snow, R.S. and R.L. Slingerland, "Mathematical Modeling of Graded River Profiles," The Journal of Geology, 95(1): p. 15-33, 1987.
  16. Rice, S.P. and M. Church, "Longitudinal profiles in simple alluvial systems," Water Resources Research, 37(2): p. 417-426, 2001.
  17. Chorley, R.J., A.J. Dunn, and R.P. Beckinsale, The History of the Study of Landforms: Geomorphology before Davis, vol. 1, 1964: Methuen.
  18. Hack, J.T., "Stream-profile analysis and stream-gradient index," Journal of Research of the US Geological Survey, 1(4): p. 421-429, 1973.
  19. van der Beek, P. and P. Bishop, "Cenozoic river profile development in the Upper Lachlan catchment (SE Australia) as a test of quantitative fluvial incision models," Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 108(B6, 2309), 2003.
  20. Leopold, L.B., M.G. Wolman, and J.P. Miller, Fluvial Processes in Geomorphology, San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company, p. 522, 1964.
  21. Carlston, C.W., "Longitudinal slope characteristics of rivers of the midcontinent and the Atlantic East Gulf Shores," International Association of Scientific Hydrology, Bulletin, 14(4): p. 21-31, 1969.
  22. Pazzaglia, F.J., T.W. Gardner, and D.J. Merritts, "Bedrock fluvial incision and longitudinal profile development over geologic time scales determined by fluvial terraces", in Rivers Over Rock: Fluvial Processes in Bedrock Channels, K.J. Tinkler and E.E. Wohl, Editors, American Geophysical Union: Washington, D. C. p. 207-235, 2013.
  23. Knox, J.C., "Floodplain sedimentation in the Upper Mississippi Valley: Natural versus human accelerated," Geomorphology, 79(3-4): p. 286-310, 2006.
  24. Knox, J.C., "Human impacts on Wisconsin stream channels," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 67(3): p. 323-342, 1977.
  25. Jacoby, B.S., E.W. Peterson, and T. Dogwiler, "Identifying the stream erosion potential of cave levels in Carter Cave State Resort Park, Kentucky, USA," Journal of Geographic Information Systems, 3(4): p. 323-333, 2011.
  26. Mateo-Lázaro, J., J.Á. Sánchez-Navarro, A. García-Gil, and V. Edo-Romero, "Developing and programming a watershed traversal algorithm (WTA) in GRID-DEM and adapting it to hydrological processes," Computers & Geosciences, 51: p. 418-429, 2013.
  27. Dogwiler, T., "Rush-Pine Creek Watershed preliminary assessment and scoping plan," Southeastern Minnesota Water Resources Center, Winona State University, Winona, MN, 2010.
  28. Jacoby, B., E.W. Peterson, J.C. Kostelnick, and T. Dogwiler, "Approaching cave level identification with GIS: A case study of Carter Caves," ISRN Geology, 2013(160397): p. 7, 2013.
  29. Jacoby, B.S., E.W. Peterson, T. Dogwiler, and J.C. Kostelnick, "Estimating the timing of cave level development with GIS," Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers, 11: p. 52-61, 2011.
  30. 30. Gao, Y., E.C. Alexander, and R.G. Tipping, "The development of a karst feature database for southeastern Minnesota," Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 64(1): p. 51-57, 2002.
  31. Gao, Y., E.C. Alexander, and R.G. Tipping, "Karst database development in Minnesota: design and data assembly," Environmental Geology, 47(8): p. 1072-1082, 2005.
  32. Gao, Y., R. Tipping, and E.C. Alexander Jr., "Applications of GIS and database technologies to manage a karst feature database," Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 68(3): p. 144-152, 2006.
  33. Tranel, L.M., J.A. Spotila, S.A. Binnie, and S.P.H.T. Freeman, "Quantifying variable erosion rates to understand the coupling of surface processes in the Teton Range, Wyoming," Geomorphology, 228: p. 409-420, 2015.
  34. Tranel, L. and J. Spotila, "Relief history and coupling of erosional processes in the Teton Range, Wyoming," University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 30(27), 2006.
  35. Deng, Y., J.P. Wilson, and J.C. Gallant, "Terrain Analysis," in The Handbook of Geographic Information Science, J.P. Wilson and A.S. Fotheringham, Editors, Blackwell: Oxford. p. 417-435, 2008.
  36. Hammer, R.D., F.J. Young, N.C. Wollenhaupt, T.L. Barney, and W. Haithcoate, "Slope class maps from soil survey and digital elevation models," Soil Science Society of America Journal, 59(2): p. 509-519, 1995.
  37. Zhang, X., N.A. Drake, J. Wainwright, and M. Mulligan, "Comparison of slope estimates from low resolution DEMS: Scaling Issues and a fractal method for their solution," Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 24: p. 763-779, 1999.
  38. Arnold, N., "A new approach for dealing with depressions in digital elevation models when calculating flow accumulation values," Progress in Physical Geography, 34(6): p. 781-809, 2010.
  39. Runkel, A.C., et al., "Hydrogeology of the Paleozoic bedrock in southeastern Minnesota," Minnesota Geological Survey Report of Investigations, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Geological Survey, vol. 61, p. 205, 2003.
  40. Runkel, A.C., J.R. Steenberg, R.G. Tipping, and A.J. Retzler, "Geologic controls on groundwater and surface water flow in southeastern Minnesota and its impact on nitrate concentrations in streams," Minnesota Geological Survey, Editor, Minnesota Geological Survey, p. 70, 2013.
  41. Knox, "J. Geologic history of valley incision in the Driftless Area," in Pleistocene Geology and Evolution of the Upper Mississippi Valley: A Working Conference, Winona State Univeristy: Winona State Univeristy, 1985.
  42. Mossler, J.H., "Paleozoic Lithostratigraphic Nomenclature for Minnesota," Minnesota Geological Survey, Editor, Minnesota Geological Survey: Saint Paul, MN. p. 36, 1987.
  43. Alexander Jr, E. and R. Lively, "Karst–aquifers, caves, and sinkholes," in Geologic Atlas of Fillmore County, Minnesota, County Atlas C-8, pt. C, Minnesota Geological Survey, Editor, St. Paul, MN. p. 10-18, 1995.
  44. Galzki, J., D. Mulla, N. Joel, and S. Wing, "Targeting best management practices (BMPs) to critical portions of the landscape: Using selected terrain analysis attributes to identify high-contributing areas relative to nonpoint source pollution," A. Birr and B. Weisman, Editors, Minnesota Department of Agriculture. p. 31, 2008.
  45. Peterson, E.W., T.B. Sickbert, and S.L. Moore, "High frequency stream bed mobility of a low-gradient agricultural stream with implications on the hyporheic zone," Hydrological Processes, 22(21): p. 4239-4248, 2008.
  46. Dogwiler, T. and C.M. Wicks, "Sediment entrainment and transport in fluviokarst systems," Journal of Hydrology, 295: p. 163-172, 2004.
  47. Stout, J.C., P. Belmont, S.P. Schottler, and J.K. Willenbring, "Identifying Sediment Sources and Sinks in the Root River, Southeastern Minnesota," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(1): p. 20-39, 2013.