I saw my future today

But first, something entirely different. Jordan and I got out for a little bike ride the other day. It was the first time for her in probably about six months, and boy it sure did make me happy to spend time with her! I’m glad that Spring is finally here, and hopefully we will get out together more often now. I know she had fun, look at that smile!

And a lovely post ride self portrait:

Now, back to the future…Great Scott!

So this morning Shane and I took a quick trip to one of the Fluvial group’s longterm research sites. Bruce met us out there and we did a little reconnaissance. The pictures below are of the Embarras River. There are two reaches of river there, one straight, and the other meandering (i.e. Highly Sinuous). Here is a map if you are curious.

The stretch just below the “Embarras River” Label is the Highly Sinuous reach, then just below that is the straight reach. Bruce and his students have keep measurements here since 1996.

I am slowly seeing my future research shape up, and it is very likely that I will be studying the HS reach. I have several questions regarding the flow structure and turbulence through meander bends, which in order to answer I will have to make very detailed measurements. This means I need a site that is easy to get to, relatively small so I can measure with a sufficient resolution, and preferably has a backlog of data for me to evaluate temporal changes. Embarras HS fit the bill perfectly. I’ll forgoe boring you with specifics about what exactly I want to study, but it has to do with the role of fluid turbulence and structure of the way meander bends change through time. Here at UIUC, I have all the equipment I need, and now, hopefully I’ll have a good research site as well. Now onto some pictures of the site:

Just a nice overview shot. It may not be clear in the picture, but there is an alternation of slope from curve to curve. Normally in the spring, the grass is tall and you wouldn’t be able to see this. The meander bends through this reach are all actively migrating and expanding, making it perfect for me to investigate how turbulence relates to the changes through time.

Looking downstream through one of the ‘double headed’ bends. The outside bank is a very typical cutbank, and the blocks with grass on them that fell in as the bend eroded outward are classic bank toe failures. Also you can see the flow cross over and a defined bar unit structure (if you’re actually curius about this, ask and I’ll explain it).

Looking upstream on the dowstream lobe of a two lobe (double headed) bend. See all the stuff on the water surface? That is a pool, and the stuff (anisotropic flow structure) is turbulence in action. It is very complex, but I think it does have a specific structure, and has something to do with the way this bend has moved through time.

Ok, well I know this has been a boring post as they go, but it touches on something that is incredibly exciting to me. Thanks for slugging it through. I have written a research proposal, and I may post it up here in a bit, though I think I may wait until things are more set in place. In the meantime, I am preparing for Boston…

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3 responses to “I saw my future today

  1. Way cool! My two favorite pics (other than the two of you two) are the last two in the series. I like the way the bank is falling off into the stream, and the turbulence shot is enough to make even the least interested look closer. Water, well liquid, does really neat things, some are almost supernatural in behaviour. I really enjoyed this one Son. Looking forward to the proposal too.
    Love ya!!

  2. Cool, yeah turbulence is cool stuff. Mathy, complicated, and not well understood cool stuff. You can see the rest of the pictures here: http://s243.photobucket.com/albums/ff48/sandcountyfrank/Field%20Work/Embarras%20River/?albumview=slideshow

  3. Hey, read some of the PHDcomics. Neat stuff. Some is really funny, even to a layperson…lol.
    Love ya!

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