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a VirtualTourist member from Huntington Beach

Olympic National Park

Why Hoh river has grey color?

While camping at the Hoh rain forest we noticed the water of the river was not clear. It has a grey or whitish tinge to it. Does anyone know why this is the case? This was back in August.


4 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Lents

There could be a number of reasons, and not knowing exactly what was going on in that area at the time makes it difficult to say. It is most likely dissolved minerals of some sort from somewhere upstream. However, depending on where you were on the river there could also be logging activity going on that is washing a bit of material into the water.

Sometimes there is also yellowish blobs in the rivers in our area with a white foam on the top. This is a different type of dissolved mineral but generally happens in areas with a lot of deciduous leaf decay.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Minneapolis

Yes, it is the most unusual shade of blue/grey, isn't it? Hope this helps:

[original VT link]

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Fort Scott

This is quite a common state for rivers that are largely fed by glaciers. The Hoh is just such a river. The stone beneath the glaciers is ground as fine as flour and easily stays in suspension in moving water.

Some times two rivers will run into each other. One will be colored by such silt while the other will be clear. They then often run together with out mixing. It is quite interesting.

Paste the following into the search box and hit search on google earth and you will see just such an occurrence on the Green River at the Gates of Lodore.

40°31'39.93"N, 108°59'5.50"W

It is quite beautiful.


answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Lents

Oddly enough I just got back from a trip to Mt Rainier National Park, and there they have an interpretive sign that talks of how the glaciers and the stone that gets ground up under the glacier can change the river color. Sometimes it is white, but it depends on the minerals involved.

I'm fairly certain that somewhere on my camera I got a couple of photos of this sign due to encountering this very thread before going up there.

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