Sediment Study - Going Further
- The USGS has compiled a Suspended Sediment Database describing the distribution of suspended sediments across the United States. The database has answers to the questions for over 1,500 rivers and creeks across the United States: How much water is flowing in my river? How much sediment is suspended in the water? How much of this sediment is discharged and where? Information is collected daily over a period of years so your students can graph and plot data correlating stream flow to sediment load and deposition. The data is pretty daunting (pages and pages of numbers with complicated units of measure such as “daily mean suspended-sediment concentration in milligrams per liter”) so for use with students, it is best to cull the data down to a much smaller subset. For instance, if you wish to draw attention to yearly cycles in water flow, pick one day a month over 2 years. Have the students graph that information then look for patterns.
- Did the Suspended Sediment Database not have everything you are looking for? Try the NWIS Database instead. This mind-boggling resource provides information about the amount of water, the water quality, water distribution, and the movement of both surface and underground water at 1.5 million monitoring sites across the country. Again, you can select a subset of this data for students to draw conclusions from.