A study of the downstream changes in the Curly Burn River

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Introduction

A study of the downstream changes in the Curly Burn River Aims: The aim for this field work is to investigate the downstream changes in the Curly Burn River in Limavady. Several hypotheses I decided to investigate included the increase of both channel width and depth with increasing distance downstream, the increase in velocity and discharge with increasing distance downstream, the decrease in slope downstream and the decrease in the calibre of bedload particles with increasing distance downstream. Planning: The Curly Burn River was chosen for us to investigate due to the various aspects it had relevant to our AS study of fluvial environments. The primary data I collected in the field included measurements such as the width and depth of the river as well as the float velocity, discharge, slope and bedload shape and calibre.

Middle

The leader of our group was a qualified expert, who at all times carried both a mobile phone and first aid kit with him in case of an emergency. The paths leading to the site locations on the river were uneven and many overhanging branches were present. The riverbed was very slippery and unstable due to the rocky nature and variable depths. The presence of strong river currents and Japanese giant hogweed also acted as incentives to stand in safe areas around the river when collecting and recording data. We were also equipped with hazardous apparatus, which we were taught how to use properly to avoid incident. We were warned to stay away from rats, make sure we washed our hands after being out in the field and to cover cuts with plasters to protect against Weils Disease.

Conclusion

The equipment used to collect data on the river's discharge included a meter stick, measuring tape and flow meter. The river's channel width was measured using the measuring tape; this measurement was then divided into three equal sections. For each section, the depth of the river was measured with a meter stick and the velocity was measured using a flow meter. With the collection of this data the discharge could then be calculated. The equipment used to measure bedload particles included a stone ruler in which a stone would be placed along and measured to the nearest millimetre. Also used was a laminated version of Power's roundness index which assisted us in determining the characteristics of the particles retrieved and hence giving us the approximate Power's index value. To ensure an unbiased sample was used in the collection of bedload particles a random sampling method was carried out in the retrieval of ten stones at each site location.

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