Mike and Seth caught some revealing footage of the Virgin River in scary flash flood mode as it carried a huge cottonwood tree down-river like an insignificant Poohstick. See how dark the water is? The color comes from the high load of silt, mud, and rock the river picks up in a flood event. 95% of the erosion in Zion happens in punctuated events like this, where sudden, heavy rains create high-volume, high-velocity river conditions that pick up tons and tons of sediment and move it downstream. Once the momentum gets going, all that debris can scour banks and displace large areas of sediment, replacing ankle-deep shallows with deep pools, and vice-versa. It’s super fun to explore the river after a flood event like this and try to find the best “new” swimming holes the flood has created.
The guys filmed this footagee just above the Springdale River Park, where we pick up tubers at the end of their runs. Seems like tubing would be a little extreme with that amount of water and debris in the river, don’t you think? If you want to see a flash flood, I highly recommend a viewing it from a safe place like this, versus the in-canyon flash flood viewing a couple of our staff caught a couple weeks ago.