On April 12-16 we went on our 5th survey cruise to the Elwha Delta as part of an ongoing 2-year field effort. The cruise served a dual purpose as an educational field experience for the seven students in the spring Marine Sedimentary Processes class. Students helped collect data for the ongoing Elwha sediment dispersal project, and also collected special data for their individual research projects. The weather was pretty rough for the first couple days, but we were rewarded with sunshine toward the end of the trip. In all, we collected 72 sediment samples, dozens of water samples, ship-based ADCP data, PAR sensor (light) data in the plume, seabed videos, benthos samples, CTD transects, and more. Everyone had a great time and learned a lot!
This quarter (Spring 2013), Andrea, Chuck, and Emily are back at Friday Harbor Labs teaching an intensive, 15-credit research apprenticeship course for undergraduates entitled Marine Sedimentary Processes. The class explores marine sediment dispersal and deposition in the context of the Elwha River Restoration, but covers a wide range of geology and oceanography topics. During the class, students design and execute individual research projects while working as a team to gather, process, and analyze data from the submarine Elwha Delta and nearby shores. Everyone from the Sediment Dynamics Group will visit the class during the quarter to present lectures, provide project assistance, and lead field trips to San Juan Island and the Elwha watershed. Stay tuned!
WEEK 1 saw the class of to a busy start, with orientations, lectures, lab instruction, and a field trip to Lime Kiln State Park & False Bay. Next week: field work!
In January we had an amazing opportunity to host a student cruise on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, a 274-ft global class research vessel. The 2-day cruise began and ended in Seattle, and we took a group of 20 students and 10 researchers to the Elwha Delta in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to learn about sedimentary processes in an energetic tidal system. The Thompson is a bit bigger than the R/V Barnes, our typical research platform!
On the second day of the cruise, we successfully re-deployed a seabed instrument which will spend up to 4 months collecting data from the bottom boundary layer (portion of the water column immediately above the sea bed).
This is part of an ongoing 3-year study of the sediment dynamics offshore of the Elwha River during and after deconstruction of two hydroelectric dams near the coastline, a historic restoration project described by Olympic National Park’s Dam Removal Blog and chronicled by a series of time-lapse images (also from the National Park Service) posted here.
As part of the educational program for the cruise, we collected water and seabed samples from deep and shallow sites – though the shallow sites were only accessible using the Thompson’s work boat. It was hard work, but someone had to do it…
We were excited to see a new sandbar growing offshore of the river mouth. The sediment plume generated by the river was not particularly large on Jan. 24th (not much recent rain), but we still collected some nice temperature/salinity/sediment profiles.
If you’re interested in getting started with Delft3D, check out this set of notes on compiling Delft3D on Linux.