Big Lost River

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Big Lost River
Lostidahomap.png
Map of the lost streams of Idaho including the Big Lost River
Location
CountryUnited States
StateIdaho
CitiesMackay, Arco, Atomic City
Physical characteristics
SourceConfluence of North Fork and East Fork Big Lost River
 - locationCuster County, Idaho
 - coordinates43°56′01″N 114°06′38″W / 43.93361°N 114.11056°W / 43.93361; -114.11056[1]
 - elevation6,860 ft (2,090 m)
MouthBig Lost River Sinks
 - location
Butte County, Idaho
 - coordinates
43°47′39″N 112°50′26″W / 43.79417°N 112.84056°W / 43.79417; -112.84056Coordinates: 43°47′39″N 112°50′26″W / 43.79417°N 112.84056°W / 43.79417; -112.84056
 - elevation
4,790 ft (1,460 m)
Length135 mi (217 km)
Basin size1,867 sq mi (4,840 km2)[4]
Discharge 
 - locationnear Arco[2]
 - average86.3 cu ft/s (2.44 m3/s)[3]
 - minimum0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
 - maximum2,500 cu ft/s (71 m3/s)
Basin features
Tributaries 
 - leftNorth Fork Big Lost River, Thousand Springs Creek
 - rightEast Fork Big Lost River, Antelope Creek

The Big Lost River is a major river in the U.S. state of Idaho, about 135 miles (217 km) long.[5] It starts in the Rocky Mountains and flows in a generally southeast direction into the Snake River Plain. True to its name, the Big Lost River's surface flow does not reach any larger river, but vanishes into the Snake River Aquifer at the Big Lost River Sinks, giving the river its name.[4] The river is one of the Lost streams of Idaho, several streams that flow into the plain and disappear into the ground.

It rises at the confluence of the North Fork and East Fork Big Lost River deep in the Pioneer Mountains, a subrange of the Rockies, in Custer County, south-central Idaho. It flows northeast then turns sharply southeast at the confluence with Thousand Springs Creek which comes in from the left and into Butte County. The river is dammed to form Mackay Reservoir near the town of Mackay, then continues south through an agricultural valley, passing Arco. After Arco the river begins flowing east, then northeast, and finally due north. The river terminates at the Big Lost River Sinks, a patch of marshland where its water drains into the ground.

Despite the fact that its surface flow is lost (hence its name) a short distance out of the mountains, the river is hydrologically connected to the Snake River, the largest river of Idaho by discharge, via the Snake River Aquifer and various springs along the course of the Snake in its journey through the plain.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Big Lost River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1979-06-21. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  2. ^ "USGS Gage #13132500 on the Big Lost River near Arco, ID" (PDF). National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1946-present. Retrieved 2010-11-21. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "USGS Gage #13132500 on the Big Lost River near Arco, ID" (PDF). National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1946-present. Retrieved 2010-11-21. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Subbasin Assessment – Watershed Characterization" (PDF). Big Lost River Subbasin Assessment and TMDL. Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. 2004-05-06. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed May 4, 2011