Understanding river science through river models

mm Paul Verbiton February 3, 2020
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river delta model

A river is a body of water that is large and flowing. It is part of the water cycle of the Earth, and its existence is essential, as it helps sustain life. Rivers contribute to the topography of the Earth by sculpting it, as they carry large amounts of sediment and water from land to sea.

Rivers originate from where the snow or rainwater collects, or from a spring, usually in a mountain. This water flows through the land and reaches another big body of water, such as the ocean. We use river models to explain and understand better about this water body.

How Is River Science Used in a River Model?

Many people today use the term river science when describing the study of fluvial processes and how this kind of water flow affects the river system. River science is an interdisciplinary concept that integrates physics, fluid mechanics, chemistry, geology, and biology, governing the transport of water and sediment. In river models, these projects involve the study of ecological, chemical, and physical processing affecting the dynamics and formation of the riverine ecosystems. Also, these models describe the influence of riverine ecosystems across various temporal and spatial scales through these processes.

River science aims to create a predictive framework for the connection between ecological and fluvial processes, as well as the patterns at varying scales. The river model helps you understand more about the river systems, ranging from small streams to large rivers across gradients.

It can also include the connection between downstream navigable rivers, headwaters, groundwater, floodplains, riparian zones, and watersheds. This is because a river is a network of vertical, lateral, and longitudinal linkages.

The Use of Stream Table for Observation of River Science

By using a stream table, you can take note as you explore the river models that you create. The stream table is an exciting, engaging, and fun way to experiment and understand how the size of sediment, the slope steepness, and the rate of water flow has an effect on the fluvial landforms. You may create multiple landforms on the table and use flags with a label to identify each landform. You may adjust the inclination of water or lower or raise the water flow on the stream table.

This allows you to study the relationship between land and water and its cause and effect. You can also add man-made or natural objects on your stream tables like a dam or tress. When creating a replica of river science on a stream table, you see how the velocity of the water can influence the sediment on the river.

Additionally, you can also see how the deposition and erosion of sediment can affect the course of the river. This includes how human activity can also alter the river system.

This activity can also help you identify the differences between clay, sand, and gravel in terms of water transportation. You will learn how the water in river deposits, transports and erodes different types of sediments. With the use of river models, you can tell the process of how the stream transports and deposits these sediments. It is also possible to demonstrate how the channelizing streams and dams affect the sediment being deposited.

On the whole, you will understand river science much better if you use a model on a stream table, gaining knowledge of the functions of the stream.

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Paul Verbiton

I enjoy spotting opportunities and doing my best to grab them if I can. I am eager to see the world, I love taking photos and writing, coming up with topics that are pleasant to read, funny, and interesting at the same time.

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