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Conclusions on Colorado River Research!

Conclusions on Colorado River Research!

After looking at the different data that was collected from the 4 different testing zones, it can be concluded that every zone, except for zone 3, had an increase in pH from the morning to the afternoon. We also noticed the exact same trend for salinity (range of .2ppt to .5ppt), which implies that the direct relationship between pH and salinity holds true for zone 3 where the Paria River tributary enters the Colorado River. The TDS for each of the zones remained pretty average, ranging anywhere from .2573g/l to .673g/l, which is typical for freshwater lakes. I also noticed that for zone 3 and zone 4 on day 2, there was a drastic drop of TDS and Electric Conductivity, in comparison to the other zones at any time of day. I also noticed a pretty consistent trend of the dissolved oxygen levels going down in the afternoon, due to an increase in temperature. Not only were the DO levels the lowest in the afternoon when the water temperature was warmer, but it was also the lowest at zone 1 (point bar) and at zone 2 (loading dock). This was expected because there is a lot more human activity in this area, and there is much more DO in zone 3 and 4 because the Paria River tributary helps more circulation and distribution of the DO in the water. Overall, I noticed distinct differences between the first two zones and the last two zones, which implies that the Paria River affects the water quality and overall chemistry of the water once it enters the Colorado River (FiveCreeks, 2012).

The picture above is the pH, DO, and EC meters that we borrowed from Dr. Kyle Murray to conduct our water quality tests.

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Companion Canyon!

Companion Canyon!

After trying to research the origin of the Grand Canyon, I kept stumbling across many different ages. I found it interesting that no one has been able to determine the true age of the Grand Canyon, which therefore makes it even harder to determine exactly when the Colorado River cut through it. It seems as if the Colorado River did a good job of eroding and erasing many of the clues to help age the rock! The most probable scenario is that the Colorado River started flowing west and had enough velocity to cut through the Grand Canyon starting around 6 million years ago. It has also been suggested that the Grand Canyon is composed of two canyons, with an older canyon in the western part that is about 70 million years old, while the canyon to the east is much younger at about 10 million years old. There is also evidence of the western canyon having been carved out by a river that flowed from west to east, which indicates that another river may have played a part in the carving of the Grand Canyon! Then many millions of years after, the Colorado River started to flow through the Grand Canyon from east to west at such a great velocity, that it was able to carve through the younger east canyon and erode more of the western canyon! (Yahoo! Science News, 2012).

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Revised Methodology!

Revised Methodology!

Me and my partner went to Lee’s Ferry this past week for Spring Break and finally got the chance to conduct our water quality tests on the Colorado River. After walking along the Colorado River, my partner and I realized that we had to slightly change the number of sites in our methodology due to lack of river accessibility. We thought it was best to test at 4 different zones both morning and night for 3 days straight.

Our testing zones were the following:
1- At the point bar where the Colorado River starts to meander and curve around on the east side of the camping grounds
2- At the beach area where there is a lot of human activity from starting the boats and where the rafting groups start their trip
3- Where the Paria River meets the Colorado River
4- A few meters down the Colorado River after the Paria River has entered

We thought it was best to test at sites that are very different from each other due to the different variables from each site affecting each of the results differently. We also wanted to test in the afternoon at the same 4 sites in order to see both the spatial and temperature distribution of the water’s chemistry.

After conducting our tests, our results came out as expected. The third zone where the Paria tributary meets the Colorado River showed the most drastic results. It had the highest salinity, water temperature, TDS, out of all of the other zones, which also caused it to have the highest dissolved oxygen content out of all of the other testing zones. It also makes sense for this zone to have the most dissolved oxygen content because the wind and water velocity was slightly higher in this zone, which allows for better circulation of nutrients. We also were able to confirm that this zone had the highest dissolved oxygen content because according to this fisherman it was the best fishing spot around! More to come next week! (LennTech, 2012).

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Off to Lee’s Ferry!

Off to Lee's Ferry!

Once my class gets to Lee’s Ferry this upcoming Saturday, I hope to scout out our location in relation to the Colorado River. Even though my partner and I can only make observations the first few days at Lee’s Ferry, on the last two days we will finally be able to get our hands dirty and start conducting our research on the water quality of the Colorado River. With many thanks to hydrogeologist, Dr. Kyle Murray, my partner and I are lucky enough to bring a handheld pH meter, dissolved oxygen meter, and an EC meter that tests for conductivity, salinity, and total dissolved solids. We are hoping to take at least 10-20 samples at different locations where the flow rate and/or the water depth appears to be changing as the Colorado River starts to meander, in order to sample and test whether or not there is a change in water properties. Until we get out there, we are not sure how accessible the Colorado River may be, and therefore we cannot determine if we can test on both sides of the meandering curves of the Colorado River. When conducting our water sampling tests, we hope to be able to take measurements from the same 10-20 spots in the morning, noon, and afternoon in order to see if there is any variation in the river’s water properties throughout the day. We look forward to our study and hopefully can bring back some awesome data!

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Mnemonic Device to Help Remember Geologic Periods!

Mnemonic Device to Help Remember Geologic Periods!

Curious Old Scientists Discover Creatures & Plants To Justify Certian Timeless Questions

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Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary, Quarternary

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A River Runs Through It!

A River Runs Through It!

It took as long as 6 million years for the Colorado River to carve out the Grand Canyon. Even though that may sound like a very long time, it is actually quite short when considering geologic time. For the Colorado River to be able to carve out 300 miles of 20 mile-wide blocks of rock in just 6 million years is quite astounding. Even though it is not completely clear as to how the Colorado River was able to carve through such a massive rock, it can be assumed that the river attains very strong and rapid changing flow velocity. For instance, color dye studies have been conducted on the Colorado River in order to see how fast the color dye travels downstream. It was discovered that the water travels slower in the north near Lee’s Ferry, but picks up and accelerates near the middle of the bedrock layer. It was found that the average instantaneous velocity was 6.5 m/s and had a Froude number of 0.7, which are both high enough to cause rapids to carry bigger suspended loads and essentially allow for more erosion to occur (Magirl, 2009; USGS,1997).

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May the Erosional Force Be With You

May the Erosional Force Be With You

The Colorado River is regarded as one of the most important rivers in the United States, due to serving as a major source for drinking water, hydroelectric power, irrigation, and recreation for many of the western states. The Colorado River is about 1,500 miles in length, starting at the central Rocky Mountains near Wyoming and running all of the way to the Gulf of California in the Baja of California Peninsula. As the Rocky Mountains began to take shape at the end of the Cretaceous, enough water from the rain and snow accumulated to create a stream of flowing water. Water from the many connected tributary streams allowed for the Colorado River to finally emerge and start flowing down from the newly developed mountain range to other parts of the western United States. Once the Colorado River made it’s way west to what is now present-day Arizona, it had enough erosional force to carve and cut the uplifted rock into what is now the present-day Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon was predominantly formed by constant erosion and continental drift, and then was later expanded by periods of ice thawing and cracking. In order for these erosional events to have occurred in the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River must have had a a downward flow that was moving at a high velocity. The Colorado River also erodes more land during times of flooding when larger sediment debris can be carried in the fast-moving water. My partner and I will be looking for scour marks along the erodible rocks to see where these flood events occurred along the Grand Canyon (Bob Ribokas, 2009).

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Methodology for the Colorado River

Methodology for Colorado River

Problem: How do both the physical and chemical properties affect the water quality of different areas of the Colorado River?
• The physical properties that will be tested are the following: temperature, flow rate, suspended solids, and potential turbidity.
• The chemical properties that will be tested are the following: salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and dissolved solids.

Hypothesis: I hypothesize that the hydrology of the Colorado River will slightly change at various sampling locations.

Test subjects: Water samples from the Colorado River.

Test group: Me and Jake.

Experiment: Conduct field tests on water samples and monitor aforementioned properties.

Variables: sun intensity, temperature, weather, distance from starting point, tides, and human activity.

Controls: Stream flow (downstream), amount of water (1/2 cup per sample), and depth at which water is taken (samples taken at the same depth= up to my elbow)

Procedure:
• Use yardstick to determine water depth.
• Determine easiest way to take sample of surface water.
• Take 10-20 water samples at starting point (1/2 cup for each sample).
• Take samples downstream from the starting point.
• Use tape measure to measure distance between each location of where water samples are taken.
• Use field test kit to measure samples.
• Log data both days, 3 times a day. (Morning, noon, and afternoon).

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The 21st Century “Gold Rush”

Soon after the meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia this past Friday, many excavators and treasure hunters were at the site searching for what could be the most valuable mineral ever found. They have now found many tiny fragments of chondrites that are estimated to be worth over $2,000 per gram. These small chondrites have caused quite the stir in Chelyabinsk, and both residents and people from all over the world are now trying to get their hands on these tiny meteor fragments (Yahoo News, 2013).

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The Colorado River

The Colorado River

The Colorado River is one of the mot significant rivers in the United States, due to the fact that it serves multiple purposes for people and the surrounding environment. It is an extraordinary recreational site for various outdoor activities, such as rafting, canoeing, camping, and fishing. Besides being recreationally friendly, the Colorado River is a river that one can marvel at, due to having the Grand Canyon as the surrounding feature. The Colorado River formed around 70 million years ago during the late Cretaceous, and ever since, successive erosional events from the river have helped carve and shape the Grand Canyon into the geologic formation that it is today. Along the Colorado River is another geologic site, Lee’s Ferry, which got its name after John D. Lee in the late 1800s. Lee’s Ferry is geologically and geographically distinct because it divides the Colorado Basin into a north and south quadrant. In the following weeks, I will dig deep into the formation and history of the Colorado River and research how it has helped mold the topography of the western United States (MWDH2O, 2007).

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