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In this field exercise, students measure channel cross sections in a rough alluvial and smooth bedrock-floored reach in a local stream. This exercise is hypothesis-driven. The hypothesis states that increasing roughness decreases average stream velocity, and so the depth and/or width must increase for the rougher bed. Working in groups, students use hand levels, tape measures, and surveying rods to document channel geometry. They then must reduce the data and plot it as distance-elevation on a chart. Finally, they analyze and compare the results to the predicted roughness-hydraulic geometry relation. Students learn simple surveying methods to collect field data. Students compare real world data to theoretical predictions. Students gain insight into how bank and bed roughness influences water flow, and thus can also influence flood heights. Designed for a geomorphology course Integrates geomorphology into a core course in geology Designed for an introductory geology course Uses geomorphology to solve problems in other fields
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