Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tour de Albemarle

After NC got something like 15 inches of rain this week we decided it might be a good idea to collect water samples from our sample locations in the tributaries of the Albemarle Sound.  The reasoning behind this is that the increased precipitation could cause drastic shifts in the elemental makeup of the water, due to increased runoff and higher flows in the river.  Many people are interested in how the elemental signature of a river changes over time, and severe weather events like heavy rain and hurricanes could be a driving force behind these changes.  This is an issue I am attempting to touch on with my research.  We have taken water sample from fixed stations in 5 different rivers from June-October hoping to examine the stability of the elemental signature. 

However, today was an extra sampling trip that was thrown together at the last minute.  After the rain finally stopped I hastily decided to drag myself into the field to scrape together some data.  Unfortunately, I could not get my hands on a boat for the weekend so I had to improvise and try and take samples from shore.  Because I was confined to land for this sampling trip I was unable to take samples from our fixed stations, although I was able to get close to a few. 

I left pretty early in the morning and was greeted by multiple road closings, due to flooding.  This made the already long trip even longer and slightly more treacherous.  I eventually made it to Plymouth NC to sample the Roanoke River and was greeted by this;

The top picture shows a submerged boardwalk, while the bottom picture shows a dock that is ominously close to being submerged.  I took my sample and headed to the Scuppernong River, then to the Alligator River and found this;

the river is almost as rough and unforgiving as the women who tried to kick me out of the marina for "trespassing on private property", sounds a bit nit-picky if you ask me.  Either way I took my sample and headed north to the Perquimans River;

there used to be docks at this boat launch and an old wooden ship if I'm not mistaken.

After the Perquimans I headed to the Chowan River and finally back to Greenville.  The whole trip was probably around 300 miles or something and it was the first time I have been to all of my sites in one day.  It was pretty interesting to see the changes these rivers had undergone due to the rain, and I am very curious to see if these changes are reflected in the elemental composition of the water.

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