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Reading The Riverbed

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It is a wonderful opportunity for a group of Augustana College Geography Students.

They are involved in a field study, collecting sediment samples from the Mississippi River.

The R/V Scholar Ship is the name of the Augustana boat. It is a floating classroom.

Doctor Reuben Heine is leading the study. It’s called Reading The Riverbed.

Using a cylinder dredge, the professor and students haul in sediment from the bottom of the river.

What they recently found below the main channel includes zebra mussels and rock samples.

Doctor Heine says one of the rock samples was found east of the I-280 Bridge. He believes it is hundreds of millions of years old.

The students are also studying sand which can dictate the speed of the current in the river.

The river sediment also has an impact on habitat.

Doctor Heine says sediment size is important for hydrologists and engineers who model flood heights.

In parts of the Lower Mississippi River, sediment can replenish coastal wetlands which serve as barriers to hurricanes.

The students will compare their samples to a study which was done in 1925 to determine how sediments have changed over that period of time.

The students will also study St. Louis and the Lower Mississippi River Delta Region as they Read The Riverbed!

The field study will take the students to Memphis, the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans.

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