Legacy Sediment

Have you ever wondered what happens to sediment once dams are removed? Scientists from Boston College and Franklin and Marshall are studying the effects. They’ve discovered that sediment once ponded by a dam in Lancaster County, PA traveled all the way to the Chesapeake Bay! This sediment transport effects nutrient availability and river morphology. Links […]

Snowflake Analysis

Shoveling has been a reoccurring theme for the previous week with two winter storm systems coming through. Snow/ice is classified as a mineral meaning that we have the ability to classify it! Take out your hand lens and grain size chart and determine what size particles you are shoveling, skiing, or sledding in! Bonus-the snowflakes […]


I learned about this mixture in my soils class last week, called plinthite. I am not sure whether or not it is considered a rock, or soil. It is a mixture of clay, quartz and other minerals that hardens when it gets wet, supposedly irreversibly hard. I find this rather interesting, because I would think […]

Skiing and Sediment Transport

Downhill skiing can be an analogy for sediment transport in fluvial systems. Skiers that stay on their feet can be thought of as suspended particles. Skiers that end up summersaulting can be thought of as incipiently suspended load. Skiers that fall flat on their face can be thought of as bedload where the critical shear […]

Pollution in the Mariana Trench

Wanna hear some bad news? Scientists have recently discovered that the Mariana Trench, a huge void caused at the intersection between two tectonic plates, is absolutely loaded with harmful pollutants that are damaging all sorts of ecosystems. We used to be confident that the Mariana Trench, a setting even more hostile than the top of […]

Sediments Entering Feather River

The Feather River is is the outlet for the Oroville Dam. Floodplain deposits besides this river would tell us the shear velocity during certain floods and what particle sizes would comprise the suspended, incipiently suspended, and bedload. If the sediments behind the dam were cored, we could figure out what shear velocity is necessary for […]

The Need for Environmental Protection Policies

http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-tolland-crash-evacuations-0213-20170212-story.html As many of you have probably already heard, a tractor trailer slid off of I-84 in Tolland Sunday night.  This vehicle was carrying roughly 900 barrels of chemicals that were being transported to a facility in Massachusetts.  When it slid off the road, on a section state police Sgt. Kenneth Albert described as a […]

Erosion on the Oroville Dam Spillway

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/12/us/california-oroville-dam-failure/index.html The area around the Oroville Dam in California is currently being evacuated as the primary spillway of the dam has been damaged from erosion. This article shows the huge holes in the concrete spillway that were caused by overflow of the dam from recent large amounts of rainfall. California was facing a huge draught […]

Sand for Snow and Ice

Portland begins cleaning sand and gravel off roadways after recent snow storm This link brings you to an article about the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and how they use sand and gravel to provide traction for cars on the road, and the cleanup afterward. While cleaning up the sand and gravel may seem tedious, I […]

Formation of the Sahara

How did the mighty Sahara Desert form? This huge desert, the largest in the world not counting the Arctic or Antartica, covers roughly 10% of Africa. How does such a structure form? According to this article: (http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/paleoclimatology/science-sahara-desert-formed-7-million-years-ago-02160.html) the region in the north of Africa first started experiencing desertification over 7 million years ago during the […]

Another Use for that Christmas Tree you Take Down Every January

http://www.loyolamaroon.com/10012165/worldview/state/christmas-trees-stop-coastal-erosion-in-jefferson-parish/ I came across this article recently and, while a little late for this winter, it may get people thinking about what to do when the holidays are over in future years.  Louisiana is very susceptible to coastal erosion, which can affect both domestic and commercial structures and activities.  To combat this, a state project […]

Major Types of Dunes: Where and How They Form

By: Madeline Kollegger and Taylore Grunert Parabolic Parabolic dunes – also called U-shaped, blowout, or hairpin dunes – tend to form where vegetation covers the sand. Winds may erode a section, pushing the sediment leeward. The vegetation will hold back the arms of the dune, so that the dune points in the leeward direction. The […]

Parabolic Dunes

https://phys.org/news/2017-01-invasive-sedge-dunes-native-grass.html I saw this article about invasive species being better at protecting a dune from erosion than native species, and it got me to thinking. When we were outside Wilbur Cross we talked about two different types of dunes, barchan dunes, and parabolic dunes. Barchan dunes move with the limbs first, while parabolic dunes move […]

Sediment in Rivers

Below are two different articles about different rivers located in very different parts of the country, both bodies of water have issues with sediment in the flow of the river. The south river located in Maryland will have less sediment in the water, as the current load of sediment has clouded up the water, and […]

Lava Fire Hose

http://sfist.com/2017/02/01/video_lava_stream_dramatically_pour.php Check out the video from this link. In Hawaii, the Kiluea volcano has been producing an igneous delta with non-viscous magma. Recently there was a landslide of sorts, which exposed a huge opening adjacent to an active lava tube. The result is this incredible outpouring of liquid rock…some of the most incredible nature footage […]

The Destructive Beauty of Volcanism: 2016

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/12/2016-the-year-in-volcanic-activity/510641/ http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/volcanic-lightning While this article from The Atlantic was more of a slideshow, the captions for many of the photos did a good job simplifying complex processes.  The image that really captured my attention was the first image in the slideshow.  This was a picture of volcanic lightning forming above the erupting Sinabung volcano in […]

Stone Candle Holder

My parents just got back from a trip to Arizona, and the Grand Canyon. They brought me back this stone candle holder. I find the different layers incredibly interesting, but I’m wondering what all the dark lines between the different sections/top could be-they are slight ridges that stick out of the side of the holder. […]

Help for the Mississippi River from Obama

http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/01/mid-baratara_sediment_diversio.html One of the last few things President Barack Obama did was approve this sediment diversion on the west bank of the Mississippi River. This sediment diversion is a beginning part of the 50 year, $50 billion project to stabilize the wetlands and coastline of Louisiana. The diversion will move 75,000 cubic feet per second […]

Sediment Loss on the Mississippi River Delta

The Mississippi River Delta is losing a football field of wetlands every hour. This is partly because of all the levees being built along the Mississippi River to stop the river from flooding communities. The levees may seem like a good idea to the people living alongside the Mississippi, but the river needs to naturally […]

A New Way to Protect Salt Marshes

This article discusses a new way people are determining if salt marshes are vulnerable to erosion. The system that they used creates estimates with large margins of error, meaning that this ratio can only truly be used to predict whether a marsh has enough incoming sediment to thrive or disappear. Perhaps this ratio can be […]

Channeled Scablands

20,000 years ago the Cordilleran Ice Sheet was moving north. In western Montana a particular ice lobe from this sheet blocked a crucial valley in a  place called Clark Hill. Because this crucial pass was blocked off, melt water from the ice sheet began to fill a giant basin now referred to as Missoula. The […]

The Grand Canyon, From the Sediment Perspective

Madeline Kollegger and Taylore Grunert The Grand Canyon is known around the world for its incredible layers, and defying depth. It formed from the bed of the Ancient Colorado River, as it wound around the plateaus in the Colorado Plateau Province. The water in the river, and the sediment it carried wore away at the […]

River Incision experiment

  We attempted to generate the highest incision rates as possible in this sediment simulation. By increasing the flow rate and making the channel as narrow as possible, the water will flow extremely rapidly. However, the channel continues to widen as the canyon walls collapse. This is especially true along the edge of the outside […]

Cross Bedding in the Flume

  I was surprised to notice that, while we were playing with the flume, cross bedding had formed. The first layer of bedding was already there at the start of the lab. The next two layers formed once we changed the velocity of flow, causing the water levels to sink and rise. I thought it […]

Ganges River – Pollution

The Ganges River is one of the world’s largest, and feeds the largest delta in the world. This river starts in the Himalayas, getting fed by the melting glaciers there. Scientists estimate that the Ganges River and Delta, which have already seen their fair share of natural disasters, may become even more dangerous when climate […]

A Call for Levees on New York’s Waterfront

http://science.time.com/2012/11/02/manhattan-goes-dutch-building-levees-in-gotham/ In his discussion of the plan to build levees to protect New York City, Jeffery Kluger discussed the possible structural and economic impact posed by another storm such as Hurricane Sandy.  In his article, he focused on Manhattan, discussing how the geology of the island is primarily granite.  Due to this, if storm surge […]

Sediment: Not Good To Spill

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4267539-155/dam-project-fills-american-fork-with http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/american-fork/monitoring-clean-up-plan-for-tibble-fork-sediment-spill-still/article_20f70fe9-f9b9-59ea-90ca-89cc55c750ac.html These are links to articles that talk about a sediment spill in August 2016 that killed fish in the American Fork River. The sediment (which was accidentally spilled) was laden with heavy metals, and was part of a dam rehabilitation project upstream. As the fine grain sediment settled, in some places it made […]