Sunday, August 26, 2012

Scale of Observation

Evan sits on top of the piece of the outcrop that has fallen off.
Up closer you can see the swiss cheese markings in the bedrock and the plants and spiders on the surface.
Task one for our class was to observe sites near campus. We looked for evidence of critical zone interactions at distinct scales. For example, from afar we noticed that a piece of bedrock had fallen over and that there were many other fractures in the rock, perhaps pointing to the reason why the rock had toppled. We also noticed that some places were distinct colors, and in cases those rocks appeared stained. At a much closer scale, we noticed the swiss cheese texture of the bedrock and the spiders that hid in dark places.

At the next stops we noticed that Buck Creek had evidence of human manipulation. The manicured lawn we sat on, trash floating in water, the straight channel edge. These converged with nature: water, trees, and muck. How would our hypotheses be different at different scales? Could we ask the same questions if we examined the ground near an invasive shrub by the waters edge as we would ask if we were sampling water flowing in Buck Creek that reflected the signature of the landscape and groundwaters it drained?
The bank of the stream contains vegetation, we wondered if it would be the same 1000 years ago.
Looking downstream we thought about how examining one small plant, or rock, would reveal very different things than collecting water from the entire stream.

No comments:

Post a Comment