Sunday, December 26, 2010

A holiday delta run using our Em4 model.

We finally had a little time to play with our newly-set up Em4, and did a casual time lapse last week.  I haphazardly changed variables now and then over a two-hour run as we did other work in the lab.

The frames are taken every 30 seconds.  I changed flow rate, sediment input at the upper end, valley slope, and "roll" or the side-to-side slope.  I also raised and lowered the standpipe at the lower end, which affects base level.

I aimed for some nice dramatic delta processes.

If you're not familiar with the Em4, the plastic media (with a D50 of 1.0mm) is coded by size; the fine fraction is black/dark brown, the middle fraction is white, and the coarse fraction (up to about 2mm) is yellow. More at and in this video

Turn off the music if it bothers you, it's something I put together from Soundtrack Pro clips, and the edginess (and goofiness) is intentional.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

New faces at LRRD.

Exciting times at LRRD!   University budgets are in better shape.  We have a lot of orders, are starting to export, and are expanding after two years in this tough economy.

We have a couple of new colleagues this week: Jordan Gibson (left), and (next) Nathan Speagle.

Jordan grew up in the Florida Panhandle and got interested in geology while watching his Dad drill water wells.  He has a BS in Geology from the University of South Florida and great skills in writing and analysis.  We're looking forward to curriculum development work from Jordan.

Nathan Speagle is a distinguished undergrad in SIU-Carbondale’s forestry program who'll be working part time.  He came to our attention by doing a lot of volunteer work for a local land trust.  Aside from his near-perfect GPA, Nathan has experience in construction, welding, and electronics.

Next around are Christina Bovinette, Lily, me, Meriam's son Adam who visited today, and Meriam.

I'm lucky to know all of them; we're going to have a great year in 2011.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emriver Em2 user update 1.

Regular readers please forgive me;  I'll be using the blog now and then to help new users of our redesigned Em2 models.  We've had a few of the inevitable annoyances that come with sending a redesigned instrument into the wild.

Including having shipments destroyed by UPS.  Arrg.  Thanks for your patience and understanding, new Em2 owners!

In this post I'll cover key changes, all in the plumbing system, that aren't covered in the old manual.  We won't update the official manual until these are ironed out.

This short video describes how to hook up the power supply to the pump controller and pump.  The simplified controller uses a single knob to change flow rate.  We've stopped the presses on the original digital controllers until we work some bugs out, as I say in the video, we tried a bit too hard.  We'll be shipping the final product to everybody when this is finished, free of charge.  In the meantime, the simple "greybox" will work work fine.


Here's a diagram of the circuit.  The GFCI is very important--it's the yellow device that prevents electric shock, please use it!

Click on images for larger versions.

Some early models shipped with an energy dissipater that included an inlet.  These have proved both hard to build and fragile in the field; we're working on that, and as always will get the final design to you, and I promise it'll be bulletproof.

Today we discovered a little problem with the "greybox" controller.  If the Anderson plugs on the pump and power cables weren't joined in our shop exactly straight, the plugs can come apart too easily and fall out.  A strange little glitch.

We spent months researching and chosing these plugs.  And we still like them.  If yours don't hold well, either fix them by heating the shrink tubing and gently straightening them, or send them to us and we'll gladly take are of it.

In this case, quite literally "straighten it out."

And please don't hesitate to call us for help. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Geomorphically incorrect art #5.

 An illustration from the New Yorker in June 2006, some media network executives going over a waterfall.

Aside from riding a giant floating TV they were previously paddling on a placid stream, they're in a geomorphically absurd situation.

The illustrator clearly knows that trees grow straight up, but didn't learn much in art school about fluid mechanics and geology.

And next something from the Moon.  A disaster on all fronts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Geoscience teaching from another perspective.

No post for nearly a month here.  I've been overwhelmed with filling orders for our new Em2 geomodels.  Our latest big challenge has been shipping logistics. 

Not geology, exactly, but creating cutting-edge equipment and delivering it (undamaged, please, I'm talking to you UPS) to geoscience teachers at a reasonable price is certainly part of geoscience education.

And as complicated as the science itself, trust me! 

Here you see our amazing crew shipping three Em2s in one day, a new record for us. Meriam Lahlou in the hardhat (very funny Meriam), Lily Hwang, and me.

And a new face, Christina Bovinette, an SIUC undergrad we're very happy to have working part-time at LRRD.