Well I just submitted a proposal for the acquisition of some LIDAR data. Light Detection and Ranging is a method for collecting really high resolution, precise elevation data (or really data off of any surface). In the geosciences, we generally would kill for a good dataset of flown LIDAR (i.e Airborne Laser Swath Mapping).
What you say do I want this complicated, yet awesome elevation data for? Well, you can read my proposal here if you care to. Basically, due to some massive flooding on the Wabash and Ohio Rivers in June, the Wabash river drastically changed course through a process called meander cutoff. I have been out to the site a couple of times since the floods, and it will be very cool to continue to study this stuff. Although, this isn’t my dissertation work, I am excited for the research, and subsequent publications which will come from this. One of the other great things is that both my advisor Bruce Rhoads, and a colleague Jim Best are fully behind me and helped tremendously in getting the proposal in shape. It is very nice to have that kind of support!
Things are shaping up to be very productive this year. I already am part of a AGU book chapter (forthcoming), and am doing work with Bruce on river confluence dynamics, processing my own data from this summer (more on this later), and now working on this cutoff channel project. If I do get the LIDAR, it will be spectacular. I am really, really excited and hopeful! My fingers are crossed.
Class is going great. It is really complicated, I would love to summarize some of the topics, but it is just hopeless to do in any way that isn’t dreadfully complex, but I’ll try anyway in bullet style:
- Open channel flows (e.g. rivers, canals, etc.) move water under the force of gravity downslope
- this water resists its movement, generating turbulence (i.e, heterogeneity in instantaneous flow movement)
- this turbulence, in combination with the weight of the water shear against the bed, and can move sediment in a variety of complex ways
- professor of said class sees fit to make us model these complex processes 🙂
- said models take up all of the students’ free time, sanity, and will to live
- nuf said
Some pictures from the cutoff: