Home Archived May 12, 2018

Stanton Repeat Photography

Mile 133.8, Tapeats Rapid, Downstream View from River Left (Stake 1502a)

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Stake 1502a, 24 February 1890 View Larger Image
24 February 1890
Although Stanton’s railroad route would be cut through the diabase cliffs on the right side of this view, most of what appears are sloping debris fans and colluvium leading towards the bottom of Tapeats Rapid. Mormon tea, white bursage, catclaw, and barrel cactus were the dominant plants when Stanton captured this view. Sandy beaches heavily used by pre-dam river runners are visible on the opposite shore.
Photo credit: Robert B. Stanton, 57-RS-584, courtesy of The National Archives

Stake 1502a, 8 February 1990 View Larger Image
8 February 1990
A century later, many of the same Mormon tea, white bursage, catclaw, and barrel cacti are still present, along with many new plants. The beaches on river right have eroded away, to return ephemerally after periodic high dam releases; the upstream one by about two feet and the one farther downstream by three or four. On the day this photograph was taken, the water level is about three feet lower than it was in 1890.
Photo credit: Ralph Hopkins

Stake 1502a, 25 September 2010 View Larger Image
25 September 2010
The camera station is slightly off, creating problems with the cliffs on the right side, but many of the same plants and rocks can be identified. Many of the desert plants persist, particularly Mormon tea. The sand bars on river right appear to have similar amounts of sand to the 1990 view, and there is more vegetation – mostly tamarisk – present on them. Tamarisk, leafed out in the warm season, is readily apparent along the left shoreline as well.
Photo credit: John Mortimer

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