Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

S.F. Korom


Establishing a relationship between surface area and volume of prairie potholes provides a simple method to estimate changes in water storage across the landscape. Applications include better prediction of floods and improved design for wetland restoration. Length, width, depth, surface area, and volumes were surveyed for eighty two potholes within the upper Turtle River watershed which lies sixty kilometers west of Grand Forks, ND. These data were used to determine the relationship and uncertainty between pothole surface and volume. Chi squared tests defined distributions of each variable. F and T statistical tests resolved similarities in variance and mean. The eighty two potholes were separated according to their National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) classification and tested using chi squared. T and F tests on the separate classes verified if the populations have a different mean and variance. Difference in depth, in particular, suggests that the two most common NWI classes PEMC and PEMA in the watershed are separate and distinct, based on the results from discriminant analysis. Despite this conclusion and the fact that PEMC wetlands are physically larger than PEMA wetlands, there is a stronger correlation between surface area and volume when the two classes remain combined. Regression of surface area and volume leads to an equation that can be applied to similar watershed throughout the prairie pothole region.

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Geology Commons