NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY - FARGO, N D
BILLINGS COUNTY, N.D.
Most streams transport the largest component of their sediment load in suspension. This is certainly true in North Dakota, where the parent sediments (shaly bedrock, clay-rich tills, and lacustrine silts and clays) yield large quantities of fine-grained sediments into low-gradient rivers. Suspended load is visible as a cloud of sediment in transport.
Some historians conjecture that the Red River of the North received its name due to its reddish-brown appearance under high suspended load.
In this photograph, the Little Missouri River appears brown under its high suspended load, introduced into the drainage by erosion of clay-rich sediments in this semi-arid region of badlands.