Amazon River expedition 2016

14 07 2016

The large rivers Group of Prof. Latrubesse conducted fieldwork in the Amazon basin during the summer of 2016, supported by the ongoing NSF projects (EAR-FESD and GSB-DDRI) and the International Brazilian Sciences Without Borders Program. The field work covered the entire middle to lower reach of the Amazon River, from Manaus to Monte Alegre (approximately 800 km reach) and consisted of more than 1200 miles of geophysical fluvial survey, geomorphic descriptions and water and sediment sampling. The field campaign lead by Prof. Latrubesse was conducted with Edward Park (UT-Austin, Prof. Latrubesse’s doctoral candidate), Prof. Maximiliano Bayer (UFG-Brazil), Landerlei Almeida (UNESP, Prof. Latrubesse’s doctoral student), and Xiwei Guo (UT-Austin, Prof. Latrubesse’s master student). The main objective was collecting hydrophysical and geologic data to understand the functioning and evolution of the Amazon River. It also supported the Doctoral dissertation research project of Edward Park (PhD Candidate).The primary goal of the research was to investigate the potential existence of multiple Quaternary terraces in the lower Amazon, the role of large tributaries (e.g. Negro, Madeira and Tapajos Rivers) and vast floodplains on suspended sediment transport patterns along the anabranching main channel of the Amazon River. Floodplains are key features in understanding the sediment dynamics of the Amazon, as these floodplains are long term incomplete and active sedimentary sinks storing hundreds of million tons of sediment each year since the late Pleistocene. The team collected river flow velocity and acoustic backscatter data using Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP, RDI’s Rio Grande), side-scan images (and nadir depth) to investigate bed morphology using Humminbird HD 899c, a Hanna Water Quality Meter (pH, temperature, turbidity, etc.), and collected more than 100 suspended sediment samples and over 20 20-Liter buckets of water samples to assess the sediment concentration and grain size distribution of suspended sediments along the Amazon River and major floodplains lakes. Sub-bottom profiler (SyQwest’s StrataBox) was employed to assess the sub-bottom geology and sedimentary architecture.

Capture

  1. The team measuring with a boat the water discharge at Obidos, the lowermost gauge station of the Amazon River. From left to right: Landerlei Almeida Santos (UNESP-Brazil). Prof. Latrubesse, Edward Park, Prof. Maximiliano Bayer (UFG) and Xiwei Guo.
  2. Sedimentological survey in the Amazon’s banks
  3. Living and working at the Captain Brandao ship.

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