Kameko Landry '19

Summer Research Scholar with David Harbor, Summer 2017

This summer I researched an erosional mechanism called plucking with Professor David Harbor (Dave). This phenomenon occurs when cracked bedrock is lifted into the flow of water and carried to another area of the river. Plucking is poorly understood, but it plays a large role in the movement and transport of bedrock in rivers. We looked into how hydraulic jumps (those rollers that kayakers love to go over) initiate plucking.

We have two components to our research; a lab setting and a field site. Our lab consists of an experimental Plexiglas flume that was built by Team Plucking 2014. The flume has broken plaster pieces as experimental fractured bedrock surrounded by stationary tiles. There are dye ports at the downstream end of the plaster pieces. Water is pumped from a holding tank into the flume and over the test-bed where pressure sensors are located. I then manipulated the hydraulic jump based on presence and height of upstream steps, flume slope, and by moving the discharge gate up or down which determines outlet velocity. I record the pressure data and film the experimental run to follow where and how the dye moves between the bedrock cracks.

The field work component of our research is Clare Wilkinson's (2017) thesis work. She took a piece of rock from the bedrock of Cowpasture River in Bath County and instrumented it with a data logger device that detects pressure and movement in the rock. Since we know that plucking is more likely to occur in high-flow events, we took the rock out to the site before a large storm. The data logger is limited to 24 hours of data collection because of the battery we use. After a storm, we collected the rock and downloaded the data.

For more information on Summer Research Scholars. Deadline: Jan 26, 2018 (geology has been approved to use the non-STEM field deadline)
For other opportunities, view the Geology Department's Summer Research and Internships page
Funding for research projects