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Evaluations of River Coursework

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Evaluations My first hypothesis stated that velocity of the river increases downstream. This was measured by timing how long it took for an orange to travel 10 metres downstream. There were many problems with this method. Firstly, the orange used was quite heavy, and when in the water, most of it was submerged, therefore it moved more slowly. The orange did not travel at its true velocity. In many places there were twigs, leaves and weeds in the river, thus blocking the oranges path and slowing it down. I tried to make sure that the orange was put in the water ahead of the ten metre measuring distance so it had chance to reach its velocity before measuring began. However there were inconsistencies at each site, and sometimes access to the water was limited and this could not happen. Different people were used on the stop watch; everyone has different reactions and would have stopped the watch according to their judgement about when the orange had crossed the 10 metre line. The orange was difficult to keep in the middle of the river. Although I stated that we would do the measuring in a straight section of the river, this was not always possible, because some sites made access to the river difficult. ...read more.


This would have ensured that the sites I had chosen typified that stretch of river. This would have made my results and conclusions more reliable. The third hypothesis which I measured stated that the bedload of a river gets smaller and smoother downstream. To measure the size of the bedload, callipers were used to measure the length, width and height of the pebbles. Also, the volume of the pebbles was recorded using a displacement method. The shape of the pebbles was measured using a power scale of roundness. For this hypothesis I believe that my methods were very good, and not much could be done to improve them. Callipers are a good way to measure pebbles, they are easy to use, and far more accurate than a ruler. The displacement water method is a good way to measure the volume of the pebble. However, with this, mistakes can easily be made. One can accidentally put other items from the river into the beaker with the pebble by accident. Also, when the pebbles are very small, this method is crude. The beaker is not very precise, it does not measure to a great deal of detail, and more than one small pebble can accidentally be placed in the beaker. ...read more.


Therefore, the conclusions I have drawn from my studies are not valid on all rivers, it is not possible to automatically assume that the results for the tests will be the same on a much larger river, such as the Nile or the Amazon. However, the most greatly affected hypothesis was discharge. Any tributaries flowing into the River Bourne would have a profound affect on our results, as the river does not carry much water. The drainage basin of this river is a lot smaller, so hardly any water is 'caught' compared to a larger river. My river was only a low land river; it can not be compared to an upland river. It is important to note that you can not assume that the conclusions will be the same. The River Bourne is so small it does not have a proper middle and upper course. Also, as I did not do a pilot study, and only measured the river once in the summer, my results and conclusions could be affected. I went during the summer, where the river would be smaller than normal, as processes such as evaporation would have affected the volume of water in the river. This would have affected all of my hypotheses. Perhaps I should have measured the river at another time in the year. Finally, not all of my hypotheses were actual measurements, some were calculations. I could have actually measured the wetted perimeter for example. ...read more.

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