Students in GEG-105 visit St Anthony Falls Laboratory in Minneapolis. The lab, affiliated with the University of Minnesota, studies the movement of water and sediments using scale models and numerical modeling. The lab itself is built into the limestone formation that creates the falls, and the lab uses water that flows directly from the Mississippi River.
Here’s where water from the Mississippi River is diverted into the lab.
Inside the lab, which was built in the 1930s, are a series of experimental flumes, channels and basins to study the movement of water and sediment.
Here is one flume that is used to study gravel and sand transport in rivers. Most major rivers in the US have been impacted by dams and other built structures, which in turn affect water flow and sediment transport. This flume, for example, can be used to study how we might restore rivers to help salmon, which won't lay eggs if the riverbed is too sandy.
Geography students in front of St Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River.