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River cross sections

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RIVER COURSEWORK Proving/disproving the Hypothesis: Within the middle valley stage of its long profile, a river flows at a constant speed and has the same cross section. Contents: 1: Introduction; Including key terms and area of study Page 2: Method Including equipment Page 3: Results Page 4: Analysis Page 5: Conclusion Page 6: Pictures of River Work Page 7: Bibliography Page 8: Appendix Page Introduction: The hypothesis of this coursework is: 'within the middle valley stage of its long profile, a river flows at a uniform speed and has the same cross-section'. This suggests that within the intermediate section of a river, it flows at the same speed and does not change in depth. The purpose of this study is to conclusively prove this hypothesis either right or wrong. We will do this by plotting the cross sections and speeds of two rivers at various stages along their course. The cross sections will be ascertained by measuring the depth of the rivers at different points along the middle valley stage, and we will use different floats to measure the speed of the rivers by recording the time it takes for them to move between two fixed points. We will be carrying out these tests with the aid of geographical equipment, including ranging-poles (to determine the angle difference between banks), measuring-tape (to ascertain the width of the river), and a meter rule (to record the depth of the river). In order to help determine the river's velocity, we will use a stop watch, a flow-meter, plus a float (orange peel). We will explore the main hypothesis using primary data to help us make a valid judgement. ...read more.


C) Used the measuring tape as a starting point, to record the distance from the tape to the ground/river bed using a meter rule every cm along the line. 2) The river has the same speed within its intermediate phase. We tested this by using floats (or a flow meter) to measure the speed of the river on the left, right and middle of a point in the river, over a multitude of points. We did this by: A) Picking a fixed point in the river. B) Selecting a point 5 meters down. C) Dropping a float on the left side of the river. D) Using a stopwatch to time how long it took for the float to reach the point 5 meters down. E) Repeating stages C and D (above) in the middle and on the right side of the river. F) From the point 5 meters down, measure further 5 meters down and repeat stages C, D, and E. We used an orange peel as a float as it is heavy enough to not be blown around on the surface by the wind; it is very visible against the river and is hard to be confused with any leaves on the surface. It is also biodegradable so we will not damage the environment. We also used other alternatives such as: Dog Biscuit - Advantage Disadvantage Quite heavy so won't get blown around by the wind. Won't get mistaken for leaves. Takes in water which could affect readings. Crown so you could have problems seeing it. ...read more.


Conclusion: According to our original hypothesis, "within the middle valley stage of its long profile, a river flows at a constant speed and has the same cross section ". By carefully analysing the data that we collected at Mill Lawn Brook and Avon Water, we managed to conclusively disprove both points and thus create a new substantiated hypothesis. Our results and analysis conclude that the rivers in question actually flow at varying speeds at various points in their intermediate stage, and have varying cross-sections. However, it must be noted that our findings may be flawed in places as some of our results differed from key independent research studies regarding river flow. For example, it is known that "due to viscosity the flow is faster near the free boundary, and the quickest flow will be furthest from the fixed boundary, which means away from the sides and where the river is deepest.", yet some of our readings showed the river to be slowest at the deepest points ( ). It is also worth noting that there were certain external factors that may have affected our data. For example, at Avon Water there were a lot of overhanging trees, which would affect flow and maybe even the cross section, and due to shallow waters, there were points in both rivers where floats would get stuck and flow meters wouldn't work. The flow meter at Mill Lawn Brook was also affected as it would often get clogged up in the reeds and often did not record results. Repeating this study with new equipment and comparing those results to our original findings would help produce a more complete picture and analysis. ...read more.

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