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Snowmelt and Floods

The movie "Fargo" won an "Oscar" for Best Original Screen Play at the Academy Awards in the spring of 1997. Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota were again in the headlines a few weeks later because of record-setting snowmelt floods.

Exercise: Determine the volume of water stored in the snow in the Red River basin. Also, give some possible reasons for why the flooding of the Red River was greater and occurred later in northern North Dakota than in southern North Dakota? [This is answered in the discussion.]

Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Curriculum Topic Benchmarks: M1.3.10, M4.3.8, M4.3.12, M4.3.17, M4.4.1, S1.3.8, S2.4.1
Subject Keywords: Snowmelt, Flood, Snow water equivalent, Density, Earth science

Author(s): James Foster
PUMAS ID: 01_29_98_1
Date Received: 1998-01-29
Date Revised: 1998-05-12
Date Accepted: 1998-05-19

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