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John Moody

Research Hydrologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

I was born and raised in Colorado, and have a BA and MA in physics from the CU Boulder and SUNY at Stony Brook.  In 1968, I studied Oceanography at MIT and WHOI.  I taught Earth Sciences, Marine Biology and Oceanography on Cape Cod and worked as a Physical Oceanographer for the USGS doing environmental research on the Continental Shelf and in submarine canyons.  I returned to Colorado in 1987 to coordinate a multidiscipline project studying sed­iment-transported pollutants in the Mississippi River, and to work on additional research that focuses on river geomorphology. A severe wildfire in Colorado and subsequent flooding in 1996 provided the opportunity to study the geomorphic response of burned watersheds. 


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Moody, J.A. and Ebel, B. A., 2012, Hyper-dry conditions provide new insights into the cause of extreme floods after wildfire, Catena

Moody, J.A., 2012, An Analytical Method for Predicting Postwildfire Peak Discharges, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5236, 36 p.

Ebel, B.A., Moody, J.A., and Martin, D.A., 2012, Hydrologic Conditions Controlling Runoff Generation Immediately After Wildfire, Water Resources Research, in press

Moody, J.A., 2010, Plot-scale sediment transport processes on a burned hillslope as a function of particle size. Proceedings of the 9th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference. Las Vegas, NV., 12 pp.

Meade, R.H., and Moody, J.A., 2010, Causes for the decline of the suspended-sediment discharge in the Mississippi River System, 1940-2007: Hydrological Processes, v. 24, no. 1, p. 35-49. [Link]

Kinner, D.A. and Moody, J.A., 2010, Spatial Variability of Steady-state Infiltration into a Two-layer Soil System on Burned Hillslopes, Journal of Hydrology, v. 381, no. 3-4, 322-332. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Kinner, D.A., Úbeda, X., 2009, Linking hydraulic properties of fire-affected soils to infiltration and water repellency: Journal of Hydrology, v. 379, no. 3-4, p. 291-303. [Link]

Moody, J. A., and Martin, D. A., 2009, Forest fire effects on geomorphic processes, in Cerdá, A., and Robichaud, P., eds., Fire Effects on Soils and Restoration Strategies: Science Publishers, Inc, Enfield,New Hampshire, USA, p. 41-79.

Moody, J.A. and Martin, D.A., 2009, Forest Fire Effects on Geomorphic Processes, in Cerdà, A. and Robichaud, P. (eds.), Restoration strategies after Forest Fires, Chapter 2, Invited Contribution, Land Reconstruction and Management Series, Vol. 5, Science Publishers, Enfield, New Hampshire.

Moody, J.A. and Martin, D.A., 2009, Synthesis of Sediment Yields after Wildland Fire in Different Rainfall Regimes in the Western United States, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 18, 96-115. [Link]

Moody, J.A. and Meade, R.H., 2008, Terrace aggradation during the 1978 flood on Powder River, Montana, USA. Geomorphology. 99, 387-403. [Link]

Moody, J. A., Martin, D. A., and Cannon, S.H., 2008, Post-wildfire erosion response in two geologic terrains in the western USA: Geomorphology, v. 95, p. 103-118. [Link]

Moody, J. A., Martin, D. A., Haire, S.L., and Kinner, D. A., 2008, Linking runoff response to burn severity after wildfire: Hydrological Processes, v. 22, no. 13, p. 2063-2074. [Link]

Kinner, D.A., and Moody, J. A., 2008, Infiltration and Runoff Measurements on Steep Burned Hillslopes Using a Rainfall Simulator with Variable Rain Intensities: U.S. Geological Survey, Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5211, 64 p. [Link]

Pizzuto, J.E., Moody, J.A. and Meade, R.H., 2008, Anatomy and Dynamics of a Floodplain, Powder River, Montana, U.S.A., Journal of Sedimentary Research, 78, 16-28. [Link]

Moody, J.A. and Meade, R.H., 2008, Terrace aggradation during the 1978 flood on Powder River, Montana, USA, Geomorphology, 99, 387-403.

Moody, J. A., Martin, D. A., Oakley, T.M., and Blanken, P. D., 2007, Temporal and spatial variability of soil temperature and soil moisture after a wildfire: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5015.

Moody, J. A., and Kinner, David A., 2006, Spatial structures of stream and hillslope drainage networks following gully erosion after wildfire: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 31, no. 3, p. 319-337. [Link]

Moody, J. A., Smith, D. J., and Ragan, B. W., 2005, Critical shear stress for erosion of cohesive soils subjected to temperature typical of wildfires: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 110, p. 1-13. [Link]

Kinner, D.A., and Moody, J. A., 2005, Drainage networks after wildfire: International Journal of Sediment Research, v. 20, no. 3, p. 194-201.

Moody, J. A., and Kinner, David A., 2004, Gully erosion after wildfire, in Proceedings Third International Symposium on Gully Erosion, National Sedimentation Laboratory, Oxford, Mississippi.

Moody, J. A., and Martin, D. A., 2004, Wildfire impacts on reservoir sedimentation in the western United States, in Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on River Sedimentation, Yichang, China, p. 1095-1102.

Doerr, S.H. and Moody, J.A., 2004, Hydrological Effects of Soil water Repellency: on Spatial and Temporal uncertainties, Invited Commentary, Hydrological Processes, 18, 829-832. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Meade, R.H. and Jones, D.R., 2003, Lewis and Clark’s Observations and Measurements of Geomorphology and Hydrology and Changes with Time, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1246, 110 p.

Moody, J.A. and Troutman, B.M., 2002, Characterization of the Spatial Variability of Channel Morphology, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 27, 1251-1266. [Link]

Martin, D. A., and Moody, J. A., 2001, Comparison of soil infiltration rates in burned and unburned mountainous watersheds: Hydrological Processes, v. 15, p. 2893-2903. [Link]

Martin, D. A., and Moody, J. A., 2001, The flux and particle size distribution of sediment collected in hillslope traps after a Colorado wildfire, in Proceedings of the Seventh Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Reno, Nevada, III-40 to III-47.

Moody, J. A., 2001, Sediment transport regimes after a wildfire in steep mountainous terrain, in Proceedings of the Seventh Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Reno, Nevada, X-41 to X-48.

Moody, J. A., and Martin, D. A., 2001, Post-fire, rainfall intensity - peak discharge relations for three mountainous watersheds in the western USA: Hydrological Processes, v. 15, no. 15, p. 2981-2993. [Link]

Moody, J. A., and Martin, D. A., 2001, Initial hydrologic and geomorphic response following a wildfire in the Colorado Front Range: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 26, p. 1049-1070. [Link]

Moody, J. A., and Martin, D. A., 2001, Hydrological and Sedimentologic Response of Two Burned Watersheds in Colorado: Denver, Colorado, U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4122, 142 pages.

Moody, J.A. and Martin, D.A., 2001 Initial Hydrologic and Geomorphic Response following a Wildfire in the Colorado Front Range: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 26, 1049-1070. [Link]

Moody, J.A. and Martin, D.A., 2001, Post-fire, Rainfall Intensity-Peak Discharge Relations for Three Mountainous Watersheds in the Western USA: Hydrological Processes, 15, 2981-2993. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Sullivan, J.F., and Taylor, H.E., 2000. Effects of the Flood of 1993 on the Chemical Characteristics of Bed Sediments in the Upper Mississippi River: Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 117, 329-351 [Link]

Moody, J.A. and Troutman, B.M., 2000, Quantitative Model of the Growth of Floodplains by Vertical Accretion: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 25, 115-133. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Pizzuto, J.E., Meade, R.H., 1999, Ontogeny of a Flood plain: GSA Bulletin, v. 111(2), 291-303. [Link]

Fujita, Koh-ichi, Moody, J.A., Uda, Takaaki, and Fujii, Masato, 1996, Accretion of Floodplains by Washload Deposit and Resulting Channel Narrowing, Journal of Hydraulic, Coastal and Environmental Engineering, Japan Society of Civil Engineering, 37, 47-62 ( An English version is available.)

Meade, R.H., Moody, J.A. and Stevens, H.H., 1995, Sampling the Big rivers, in Meade, R.H., ed., Contaminants in the Mississippi River, 1987-92: U.S. Geological Circular 1133, Chap. 5, p. 40-51.

Moody, J.A., 1995, Propagation and Composition of the Flood Wave on the Upper Mississippi River, 1993, in Floods in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, 1993, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1120-F., 21p.

Moody, J.A. and Battaglin, W.A., 1995, Setting: Chemical Character of the Mississippi River, in Meade, R.H., editor, Contaminants in the Mississippi River, 1987-92, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1133, Chap. 4, p.30-39.

Moody, J.A., 1994, Observations of Mixing Processes Downstream from the Confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers: in Brandt, Alan and Fernando, H.J.S., editors, Double-Diffusive Convection, Geophysical Monograph 94, American Geophysical Union, 34 p.

Moody, J.A. and Meade, R.H., 1994, Evaluation of the Method of Collecting Suspended Sediment from Large Rivers by Discharge-weighted Pumping and Separation by Continuous Flow Centrifugation: Hydrological Processes, 8, 513-530. [Link]

Moody, J.A. 1993, Evaluation of the Lagrangian Scheme for Sampling the Mississippi River during 1987-90: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4042, 31 p.

Moody, J.A. and Goolsby, D.A., 1993, Spatial Variability of Triazine Herbicides in the Lower Mississippi River: Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 27, no. 10, p. 2120-2126.

Moody, J.A. and Troutman, B.M., 1992, Evaluation of the Depth-integration Method of Measuring Water Discharge in Large Rivers: Journal of Hydrology, vol. 135, p. 201-236. [Link]

Moody, J.A.., 1988, Small-scale Inlets as Tidal Filters, in Aubrey, D.G., and Weishar, L., eds., Hydrodynamics and Sediment Dynamics of Tidal Inlets, Springer-Verlag, New York, p. 137-156.

Moody, J.A., Butman, B. and Bothner, M.H., 1987, Near-bottom Suspended Matter Concentration on the Continental Shelf during Storms: Estimates based on the in situ Observations of Light Transmission and a Particle-size Dependent Transmissometer Calibration: Continental Shelf Research, vol. 7, no. 6, p. 609-628. [Link]

Moody, J.A.., Butman, B., Beardsley, R.C., Brown, W.S., Daifuku, P., Irish, J.D., Mayer, D.A., Mofjeld, H.D., Petrie, B., Ramp, S., Smith, P. and Wright, W.R., 1984, Atlas of Tidal Elevation and Current Observations on the Northeast American Continental Shelf and Slope: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1611, 122p.

Moody, J.A., 1974, A Naturalist’s Approach to Animals and Ecology, textbook published by Falmouth High School Falmouth, Ma., 401 p.


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Hydrologic Processeshydrodynamics
Hydrologic Processeshydrology
Hydrologic Processesrunoff
Hydrologic Processessediment transport
Hydrologic Processesstreamflow

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

A National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program

Geomorphology and Sediment Transport

Image of Current Focus for Geomorphology and Sediment Transport

I like to think of myself as one of the last Naturalists.  A person with a wide interest in the biological, ecological, geological and physical sciences and who loves to unravel how these sciences are intertwined. My educational background is in physics, which has allowed me to pursue these many interests. I taught marine biology, oceanography, earth sciences and physics and worked for a number of years as a physical oceanographer in the Atlantic Branch of Marine Geology in Woods Hole on Cape Cod.  Here I studied tides and sediment transport on the continental shelf. 

From Cape Cod, I moved back to Colorado where I was born and shifted my focus to studying geomorphology and specifically rivers.  Some rivers have been the Mississippi and its Tributaries, the Ob River in Russia, the Amazon River in Brazil, and Powder River in Montana.  The muddy Powder River, which flows into the Yellowstone River, provides a great outdoor laboratory for studying how a "natural" river works to create a landscape, because it transports sufficient sediment and is one of the few rivers that have not been affected by human intervention.  This research on rivers continues today, but I have expanded into the field of post-wildfire research after the 1996 Buffalo Creek wildfire destabilized two watersheds in Colorado, and a subsequent 100-year rainstorm  produced an extreme flood that eroded and deposited an impressive amount of sediment. 

Thus, my present research project investigates Erosion and Deposition Processes at multiple scales.  These research results are used to help develop physically-based algorithms of the essential processes at various scales, which can be linked together to form geomorphic models to predict future change.  Change can be the result of disturbances such as hurricanes, wildfires, and dam removal; desired restoration of watershed elements such as hillslopes and channels; control of invasive plant species; or potential changes in critical variables as the result of climate change.

Contact Information

John Moody
3215 Marine St, Bldg 6
Boulder, CO 80309
303-541-3084 - Fax
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