North Fork Gunnison River

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North Fork Gunnison River
River
North Fork Gunnison River.JPG
The river near Paonia, Colorado.
Country United States
State Colorado
Source Rocky Mountains
 - elevation 6,470 ft (1,972 m) [1]
 - coordinates 38°56′35″N 107°21′8″W / 38.94306°N 107.35222°W / 38.94306; -107.35222 [2]
Mouth Gunnison River
 - elevation 5,096 ft (1,553 m) [1]
 - coordinates 38°46′58″N 107°50′12″W / 38.78278°N 107.83667°W / 38.78278; -107.83667Coordinates: 38°46′58″N 107°50′12″W / 38.78278°N 107.83667°W / 38.78278; -107.83667 [2]
Basin 741 sq mi (1,919 km2) [3]
Discharge for Below Paonia
 - average 227 cu ft/s (6.4 m3/s) [3]
 - max 3,990 cu ft/s (113.0 m3/s)
 - min 4.4 cu ft/s (0.1 m3/s)

The North Fork Gunnison River (locally known as the North Fork) is a tributary of the Gunnison River, 33.5 miles (53.9 km) long,[4] in southwestern Colorado in the United States. It drains part of the southwestern flank of the Elk Mountains northeast of Delta.

It is formed in the mountains of northwestern Gunnison County by the confluence of Muddy Creek and Anthracite Creek. The confluence is located along State Highway 133 on the south side of McClure Pass. It descends to the southwest through a widening valley past Somerset, Paonia, and Hotchkiss. It joins the Gunnison in eastern Delta County downstream from the Black Canyon between Delta and Hotchkiss. The valley of the river, called the North Fork Valley, has a temperate climate that has historically been a center of fruit growing in southwestern Colorado. It is also a regional center of the coal mining industry, centered on the mining town of Somerset in the upper valley. Modern coal mining operations are highly visible along the upper valley walls. The creeks at the headwaters of the river pass through areas of highly erodible shale, resulting in high concentrations of sediment during springtime runoff.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: North Fork Gunnison River, USGS GNIS.
  3. ^ a b Water Data Report, Colorado 2003, from Water Resources Data Colorado Water Year 2003, USGS.
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 18, 2011