riparian rap

Minnesota geomorphology trip, part one.

Two weeks ago Kate (my spouse and silent partner in LRRD) and I took a working vacation in Minnesota, first visiting the St. Anthony Falls Hydraulic Laboratory.  Karen Campbell was kind enough to give us a tour.

This is a fantastic facility.  Built in the 1930’s, it uses a natural drop in the Mississippi River (rich history of the area here) to provide head for the lab.  Researchers can get hundreds of cfs without pumping.  It’s the only facility of its kind in the world.

Here you see Karen and Kate overlook SAFL’s new Outdoor Stream Lab, an experimental channel built last year.  OSL link:

We were also able to see the lab’s famous Jurassic Tank and other research facilities.

The Lab has done a lot of work on scale modeling, most famously of a couple of dam removals.  Video from National Geographic here.  Here Karen shows Kate a model of a model; a small representation of the Elwha Dam removal.

We’ll be collaborating with Karen on an upcoming NSF proposal to develop curriculum for river models.  I’m very grateful to her for working with us on that.

The last couple of photos show an old flume I’m pretty sure is featured in some of the first educational films on fluid mechanics.  (I wish SAFL/UMN would put these online and not require DVD orders.)  Quite a steampunk contraption.  Check out those massive galvanized iron pipes.  Lots of history at this place.