Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to seriously and effectively study a dramatic phenomenon such as river erosion?
Studying river erosion in nature is a difficult one because the elements cannot be controlled. You cannot remove a rock or add more vegetation in the natural context to see the effect it has. It's not Sim City, nor Minecraft.
For this, the researchers ofUniversity of Sherbrooke, Canada, have built an artificial river that can be turned off and on, and whose elements can be completely controlled.
A "terraformed" river
The ambitious Canadian project consists of a 90 by 40 meter watershed, a 50 by 3 meter artificial river and an accompanying pond fed only by rainwater.
Overall, it is estimated that structure (costing almost three million dollars) will contain about 3500 cubic meters of water, more or less the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool. The "on demand" river will serve as a laboratory for studying principles such as the dynamics of water flow and the dispersion of contaminants.
This unique research-driven pilot-scale construction will bring real economic, environmental and social benefits. With the data collected, we will help improve water quality and develop better water management practices. The research to be carried out there will also allow for better flood prediction and a better understanding of contaminant transport, which will also lead to significant cost savings associated with reducing these problems.Jean Proulx, Dean of the University of Sherbrooke's Faculty of Engineering
Turn the elements on and off, to figure out how to adapt
The river will work in a closed circuit, it will turn on and off on command, and will also allow "flood" scenarios to be evaluated thanks to a 20-metre wide basin. Take a look at the video to get an idea.
Another impressive example (after the "artificial tornado" with a wind wall made in Miami) of how science is gearing up to study the impact of the elements in times of climate change.
Understanding Nature to respect it.