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To prepare for this activity, students receive background on bedforms and flow regimes in class and practice identifying and classifying bedforms from field photographs. Students are then given a map of a barrier beach/inlet/tidal delta complex in mid-coast Maine and asked to predict what bedforms they expect to find in specific sub-environments. During a subsequent field trip to the area, students observe, classify and map bedforms and relate them qualitatively to formative flows. Qualitative description and classification are supplemented by quantitative measurements of bedform morphology and orientation, and by GPS-located digital photographs. After the trip, students compare their predictions and observations of bedforms in the sub-environments, reflecting on the reasons for the differences and the evolution of their thinking. The exercise also serves to set the stage for subsequent quantitative studies of bedforms and bedload transport, as well as interpretation of sedimentary structures and clastic depositional environments in the geological record.
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