Dr. Katie Farnsworth will present the Sigma Xi Fall Lecture on Wednesday, November 12, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. in Weyandt Auditorium (Room 32). Her presentation is titled “Land-Ocean-Atmosphere Connections: Controls on Sediment Delivery to the Sea” and will discuss aspects of her research on understanding the fate of sediments discharged from rivers into the oceans. Following the presentation, a brief period of questions/discussion will follow. Light refreshments will be served before and after the seminar.
Rivers provide the primary link between land and sea, annually discharging about 36,000 km3 of freshwater and approximately 18 x 109 tons of solid and dissolved material to the global coastal ocean. Together with geomorphology and oceanographic setting, rivers help determine the character of the estuarine and coastal environment. Although discharged fluvial water and sediments are generally confined to the coastal zone, if the river is sufficiently large (e.g., the Amazon) or the shelf sufficiently narrow (e.g., western Java), plumes of sediment and water can travel to or beyond the shelf edge. The fate of the discharged material is important for understanding coastal sedimentary environments as well as playing a key role in the cycles of both carbon and pollutants introduced through this pathway. The controls on the delivery, and ultimately the fate of the delivered material, are local, regional, and global in scale. Quantifying these controls will lead to a better understanding of our earth’s past, as well as the future.