Sediment at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium

Each spring UW hosts the Under­grad­u­ate Research Sym­po­sium, a show­case of excit­ing projects from all dis­ci­plines on cam­pus. This year, Andrea mod­er­ated a ses­sion on our favorite topic — sed­i­ments! The ses­sion “Sed­i­men­tary Sig­na­tures and Processes: Inter­pre­ta­tions from both near and far” included stu­dent talks about sed­i­men­tol­ogy applied to archae­ol­ogy, agri­cul­ture, pale­o­ge­ol­ogy, and oceanog­ra­phy. Julia gave a great pre­sen­ta­tion of her research about sus­pended sed­i­ments in the Ama­zon River — from Julia:

My research visu­al­ized the diur­nal and sea­sonal sed­i­men­tary behav­ior along the Ama­zon Tidal River. Using suspended-sediment con­cen­tra­tions (SSC), I traced the spa­tial dis­si­pa­tion of the tidal sig­nal along the length of the tidal river as well as the changes in SSC through­out a tidal cycle.

This pre­sen­ta­tion was a cul­mi­na­tion of the irre­place­able years I have spent with the Sed­i­ment Dynam­ics Lab. To con­duct research from data I helped col­lect was incred­i­bly unique and gave me insight into what it takes to pull off such mas­sive projects. I am so grate­ful to this lab for giv­ing me such valu­able expe­ri­ences as well as unfor­get­table memories.”

Update from Kevin — Sed Lab work and grad school plans

My work in the UW Sed­i­ment Dynam­ics Lab began about 2 years ago after spend­ing a quar­ter in a research appren­tice­ship with Andrea Ogston and Emily Eidam. Since then, I’ve spent most of my time doing grain-size analy­sis on sed­i­ment sam­ples from the Mekong River in Viet­nam, the Ama­zon River in Brazil, and the Elwha River in north­west­ern Wash­ing­ton. My expe­ri­ences and knowl­edge gained through work­ing in this lab have been incred­i­ble, and they set the stage very well for my upcom­ing tran­si­tion to grad­u­ate school.

This sum­mer I begin work­ing towards my next big goal, a Master’s degree in Geol­ogy from Boston Col­lege. A whole new set of chal­lenges awaits, and I have this lab job to thank for my pre­pared­ness and eager­ness to tackle them. The time spent with the peo­ple in this lab group has taught me a lot about research and grad stu­dent life, as well as the best way to process a sed­i­ment sam­ple con­tain­ing both gravel and mud.

When I grad­u­ated from UW last spring, my options were wide open and I had no idea what I would end up doing. My plan was to not really have one. Chuck Nit­trouer and Andrea Ogston kept me in their lab, pro­vid­ing me with a sta­ble job over the past year. Also, Andrea put me in touch with my soon-to-be advisor/PI at Boston Col­lege, Gail Kineke. This group has pro­vided me with much sup­port, from writ­ing let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion to intro­duc­tory Mat­lab skills, and plenty of sam­ples to ana­lyze to keep me busy.

I am eager to take what I’ve learned in this lab and apply it dur­ing my next jour­ney. Because of the nur­tur­ing envi­ron­ment this lab group has cre­ated, I feel very well pre­pared to become a grad­u­ate student.

It’s not dirt, it’s sediment!”

- Kevin Simans

Kevin explores the bottom of former Lake Mills on the Elwha River (Washington State, Olympic Peninsula). The remains of Glines Canyon Dam can be seen in the background.

Kevin explores the bot­tom of for­mer Lake Mills on the Elwha River (Wash­ing­ton State, Olympic Penin­sula). The remains of Glines Canyon Dam can be seen in the background.

Sediment Dynamics put in Stone

Dur­ing Win­ter Quar­ter 2015, Chuck taught the Stratig­ra­phy course in Earth & Space Sci­ences (ESS 455).  Top­ics cov­ered: lithos­tratig­ra­phy, bios­tratig­ra­phy, chronos­tratig­ra­phy, chemostratig­ra­phy, seis­mic stratig­ra­phy, sequence stratig­ra­phy, and basin analy­sis.  That’s a bunch of strat and nicely com­ple­ments all the mod­ern sed­i­men­tary top­ics cov­ered in our lab group.

AGU 2014

The 2014 AGU Meet­ing was a great suc­cess! Prior to the offi­cial start of AGU, we met with other col­lab­o­ra­tors research­ing the Mekong Delta to share infor­ma­tion and plan for future field efforts, meet­ings, and mod­el­ing work­shops. We plan to have a ses­sion ded­i­cated to the Mekong Delta Project at Ocean Sci­ences 2015 in New Orleans! There will also be a mod­el­ing work­shop for stu­dents held in Viet­nam later this year! Many peo­ple in our group gave great talks at AGU. Andrea Ogston pre­sented results from our pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies in Viet­nam, Emily Eidam pre­sented her work on the Elwha River, and to wrap up AGU, Aaron Fricke gave a talk on his work in the Ama­zon River. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all the speakers!

Congrats to Dr. Dan!

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Dr. Dan Nowacki!  Dan turned in his dis­ser­ta­tion, enti­tled “Sed­i­ment dynam­ics in tidal envi­ron­ments span­ning a range of flu­vial influ­ence”, over the win­ter break.  His dis­ser­ta­tion research cov­ers a wide range of envi­ron­ments from the shal­low tidal flats of Willapa Bay, to the inter­tidal chan­nel envi­ron­ments along the tidal Ama­zon River, to the dis­trib­u­tary chan­nels of the Mekong tidal river and estu­ary.  The next step for Dan is a pres­ti­gious Menden­hall Post­doc­toral Research Fel­low­ship.  In March, he moves to Woods Hole, Mass­a­chu­setts to join the USGS Coastal and Marine Sci­ence Cen­ter.  Con­grat­u­la­tions, Dan, on a job well done!


2014–2015: Fall Rivers & Beaches class

Last fall Chuck and Dave Mont­gomery (ESS) taught Ocean/ESS 230, “Rivers and Beaches,” a class which intro­duces stu­dents to the geol­ogy of river sys­tems in a com­plete source-to-sink frame­work from the head­wa­ters to the marine envi­ron­ment. This is a pop­u­lar sci­ence class for both majors and non-majors, and includes a Nisqually River field trip, Puget Sound field trip (aboard the R/V Thomp­son), and Olympic Penin­sula camp­ing trip depend­ing on whether stu­dents take the 3-credit or 5-credit option. This year’s class saw the Nisqually just prior to a win­ter flood, explored muddy deposits of Puget Sound, and wit­nessed the type of winds and waves that help shape beaches on the outer coast.

The class learns about grain sizes (boulders!) at the headwaters of the Nisqually, just downstream of the Nisqually Glacier in Mt. Rainier National Park.

The class learns about grain sizes (boul­ders!) at the head­wa­ters of the Nisqually, just down­stream of the Nisqually Glac­ier in Mt. Rainier National Park.

Dave explains differences in stream morphology between the upper and lower watershed

Dave explains dif­fer­ences in stream mor­phol­ogy between the upper and lower watershed

Students help cast a large CTD "rosette," an instrument and sampling package which collects water and measurements of temperature and salinity as it travels to the bottom of the Sound.

Stu­dents help cast a large CTD “rosette,” an instru­ment and sam­pling pack­age which col­lects water and mea­sure­ments of tem­per­a­ture and salin­ity as it trav­els to the bot­tom of the Sound.

Katie finishes her dissertation

Con­grats to Katie who com­pleted her dis­ser­ta­tion, enti­tled “Fjord sed­i­men­ta­tion dur­ing the rapid retreat of tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers: obser­va­tions and mod­el­ing.” Katie is leav­ing for an excit­ing new posi­tion as a Research Geol­o­gist in the Upstream Research Com­pany at Exxon. Way to go Katie!

Update from Saigon

Dan C. spent the end of August in Saigon orga­niz­ing logis­tics for the Sep­tem­ber field work. The sci­en­tific equip­ment has arrived, and we are excited to start in the field in a cou­ple weeks. Here’s a view of the Saigon River from down­town Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), about 130 km north­west of our study site on the tidal Mekong River:


Rip Hale, PhD

A big con­grat­u­la­tions to Rip Hale, who suc­cess­fully defended his dis­ser­ta­tion on August 22! Rip’s dis­ser­ta­tion was titled “Inves­ti­gat­ing sed­i­ment trans­port on the Waipaoa mar­gin: link­ing in situ obser­va­tions with pre­served deposits.” Areas of focus included river-ocean coher­ence of sed­i­ment trans­port events, sig­nal prop­a­ga­tion in Poverty Bay, mechan­ics of wave-supported fluid muds, and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of past event deposits through dig­i­tal analy­ses. Rip is now headed to Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity in Nashville for a post-doctoral posi­tion focus­ing on the Ganges-Brahmaputra River dis­per­sal sys­tem. Way to go, Rip!!!