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21 February 2022

Muddy Water Has Town Official Singing the Blues

Coastwatch GLERL NOAA imagery December 17, 2021 (annotated). Several years ago, when our kids were young and at least one was still in elementary school, I visited a class of 3rd graders taught by a friend of the family’s and put on a soil erosion demonstration. The “show and tell” consisted of setting up rainfall simulators for two contrasting land cover types represented by two baking pans: one filled with …

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9 March 2018

Friday fold: Raplee Monocline

It’s Friday! Let’s head to Utah for a guest Friday fold photo – a river rat’s view of the Raplee Monocline!!

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16 February 2018

Chemical Cocktails Confound Phosphorus Management

It’s been fifty years since the Canadian government at the urging of the International Joint Commission set aside the Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora, Ontario in 1968 to conduct large-scale experiments in aquatic ecology. There, the young Director named David W. Schindler, who would go on to become a world-renown limnologist, and others conducted experiments with nutrient loading and produce one of the most iconic photos in the field of …

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8 September 2017

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Ag Programs Under Review

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) has received a two-year $750,000 grant to evaluate the effectiveness of money spent on farm conservation programs by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). In addition to the GLC, Ohio State University and Michigan State University will play a role in the evaluation process. Earlier this year, the Trump Administration proposed to end funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and National Sea Grant programs. …

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22 April 2017

Toledo March for Science

Off to Toledo to March for Science! Updates later this morning!

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31 March 2017

Wetlands and Flood Mitigation: The 10 Percent Solution

Following the Great Flood of 1993, an official report called for more research to find ways to prevent flood devastation, apparently unaware the problem had been mostly solved, conceptually over a decade earlier. But taking action through the implementation of a national wetland restoration program has faced intractable political and economic obstacles.

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7 February 2017

Basaltic strata, faulting, and glaciation in western Iceland

Today, let’s journey to Iceland, to a bit northwest of Reykjavík. This is a view from the top of the Grábrók cinder cone, across the valley to the east. With very few exceptions, Iceland is a big pile of basalt, and that shows through in the walls of this valley, which display a stack of basaltic lava flows, intercalated in places with pyroclastic debris or volcaniclastic sediment. One portion of …

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30 September 2016

Lake Erie Algae Blooms Correlate to June Rainfall

June precipitation appears to be positively correlated to algae blooms in Lake Erie. Looking at monthly precipitation data readily-available from Weather Underground and comparing it to the Western Lake Erie Algae Bloom Severity Index, I was surprised by the strength of the correlation (0.6, 0.85 with an “outlier” removed). June precipitation was the only month to correlate to the Severity Index in my data set and I was surprised that …

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3 July 2016

Lake Erie Watershed Soil Phosphorus Study Shows Glyphosate Link

As reported recently by Laura Barrera in the magazine No-Till Farmer, a study led by Ohio Northern University chemistry professor Christopher Spiese links the popular herbicide glyphosate to dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) desorption in soils. Mobilization and runoff of phosphorus to streams and lakes is associated with toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. For decades, soil scientists have understood phosphorus to form low-solubility compounds …

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1 June 2016

Herbicides, Critical Source Areas, and Vegetated Buffers

Waging Chemical Warfare on Weeds Last fall, while on one of my country road walking routes, I noticed an advanced infestation of marestail (Conyza canadensis) in a soybean field. Evidently, this weed, and others, is becoming herbicide-resistant. A new agricultural herbicide called Acuron (link goes to manufacturer’s website) is on the market, and in some fields. Acuron has been developed in response to “superweeds” that have grown resistant to glyphosate, …

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30 May 2016

Scenes from a cut bank

My family and I went canoeing this weekend, and one of the more photogenic things we saw on the river was this fine cut bank: The bank is being actively undercut by the river, as evidenced by the overhanging soil + grass carpet, the slump scarps at the bottom (showing fresh, wet soil), and the bare tree roots that hang out like orange cables: I also shot a little video …

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29 February 2016

Lead, Plumbosolvency, and Phosphates in the Environment

What’s happened to the water supply in Flint Michigan is especially ironic considering the state is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, which make up 95% of the surface fresh water in the United States. If Michiganders can’t have safe public water, who can? Plumbosolvency The problem, briefly summarized here, boils down to variable source water chemistry, plus common chemicals added at the water-works, interacting with outdated lead plumbing components …

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18 February 2016

Sand shadow

A couple of weeks ago, before a series of snowfalsl altered my daily work routine in a destabilizing way, I took a walk through the braided floodplain / gravel fan of Passage Creek, where it exits the Massanutten Mountain system near the state fish hatchery. There, no longer restrained by the steep walls of quartzite, the creek’s water can expand during flood times over a broad forested plain of channel …

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1 January 2016

Agricultural Runoff and Ohio’s Senate Bill 1

In response to the August 2014 shutdown of Toledo’s water supply due to microcystin contamination, the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 1, which regulates fertilizer and manure application to farm fields. Essentially, the new regulations prohibit spreading manure or fertilizer in the Lake Erie Watershed when soils are frozen, snow-covered or saturated, or if there is a more than 50% chance of at least one-half inch of rain in the …

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16 November 2015

Field Drain Tile and the “Re-Eutrophication” of Lake Erie

Algae Blooms, Microcystin and Phosphorus It’s been over a year since Toledo, Ohio and surrounding communities shut down public water supplies due to an algae bloom and microcystin contamination in western Lake Erie. Was the trouble a “one-off” or can we expect more of these events in the future? While attending a seminar this year hosted by the Michigan Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, my interest was …

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22 September 2015

New LiDAR of the Fort Valley & surrounding area

New LiDAR imagery for the Fort Valley reveals bedrock structures and subtle aspects of fluvial geomorphology.

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12 September 2015

New GigaPans from Team M.A.G.I.C.

Hampshire Formation outcrops on Corridor H, West Virginia: [gigapan id=”178008″] link (Marissa Dudek) [gigapan id=”177198″] link (Callan Bentley) Faults in the Tonoloway Formation, Corridor H, West Virginia: [gigapan id=”176602″] link (Marissa Dudek) Conococheague Formation, showing stromatolites and cross-bedding: [gigapan id=”177155″] link (Callan Bentley) [gigapan id=”177355″] link (Jeffrey Rollins) Tiny folds and faults, from a sample I collected somewhere, sometime… oh well, it’s cool regardless: [gigapan id=”178807″] link (Robin Rohrback) Fern …

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12 March 2013

Five new GigaPans from Thoroughfare Gap

Yesterday, I took five new GigaPans at Thoroughfare Gap, a water gap where Broad Run cuts through Bull Run Mountain, the eastern limb of the Blue Ridge Anticlinorium at my latitude. The rocks here are the Cambrian-aged Chilhowee Group, with bedding tilted moderately to the east during Alleghanian mountain-building in the late Paleozoic. To the west is the crystalline core of this massive regional fold, and to the east is …

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10 September 2012

New GigaPans: Red hole, Blue hole

Last Thursday, I shot a few GigaPans of moderately-dipping quartz sandstone layers (the Silurian-aged Massanutten Formation) in the creek a few miles from my house. All four GigaPans are at popular local swimming holes. The first three are from Red Hole, and the last one is from Blue Hole. Check them out: [gigapan id=”113761″] link [gigapan id=”113759″] link [gigapan id=”113765″] link [gigapan id=”113764″] link Explore here on the webpage, or …

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26 August 2012

Paw Paw Tunnel GigaPans

A weekend expedition to GigaPan the C&O Canal’s singular Paw Paw Tunnel results in an exposition on Devonian sedimentation, Alleghanian mountain-building, structural geology, and the incision of the Potomac River to produce entrenched meanders.

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