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.