• Photo by: John Dersham

    Little River Canyon

    National Preserve Alabama

Turbidity

Picture of three glass beakers with water with turbidities of 10, 200, and 1500. Turbidity is the amount of particulate matter that is suspended in water. Turbidity measures the scattering effect that suspended solids have on light: the higher the intensity of scattered light, the higher the turbidity. Material that causes water to be turbid include:
  • clay
  • silt
  • finely divided organic and inorganic matter
  • soluble colored organic compounds
  • plankton
  • microscopic organisms

Turbidity makes the water cloudy or opaque. Turbidity is measured by shining a light through the water and is reported in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU). During periods of low flow (base flow), Little River is usually a clear green color, and turbidities are low, usually less than 10 NTU. During a rainstorm, particles from the surrounding land are washed into the river making the water a muddy brown color, indicating water that has higher turbidity values. Also, during high flows, water velocities are faster and water volumes are higher, which can more easily stir up and suspend material from the stream bed, causing higher turbidities.



Did You Know?

TAG Rail Lines

Railroad spur lines connected Lookout Mountain ore mines to valley furnaces. This railroad was know as the Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Rail Line (TAG Rail Lines).