Magazine article American Scientist

A River's Hidden History

Magazine article American Scientist

A River's Hidden History

Article excerpt

Conventional maps usually show a river as a static feature on the landscape, but this depiction doesn't reflect the reality. Most rivers change continually in both depth and course, from one season to another and throughout the years. The Willamette River in Oregon is particularly interesting in this regard because of its "very dynamic and active floodplain," according to Ian Madin, chief scientist of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

The technology known as lidar (the term derives from "light radar") can now reveal millennia of river history by gathering thousands of data points from an airborne laser device. The lidar unit sends laser pulses toward the ground; various surfaces-water, soil, rock, etc.-then reflect the pulses back, with each reflection recorded as a data point. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.