Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It has been an interesting trip so far.  We drove from Indianapolis which lays on a young and relatively flat landscape.  As we continued south we traveled over older and at times much older landscapes that were very hilly.  Then as we came into Louisiana and the country under of the influence of the Mississippi River, we were back in young flat landscapes again.  

One aspect of the trip so far that struck me in my personal opinion was the sheer magnitude of the money and the human effort that goes into trying to maintain the whole Mississippi delta area from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico.  Huge spillways, freshwater diversions, canals, and sediment distribution.  This is one aspect of human endeavor that was not well thought out.  Trying to control nature and put it into stasis.  People have constructed levees to control a river roughly 100 years ago. Since, then 
they have been constantly trying to reinvent the wheel and are attempting to re-engineer and recreate what nature does all on its’ own.  It is as if man is trying to create nature “in his own image” but don’t have the foresight or knowledge to think about the unintended consequences and all the ramifications of those actions in nature. Human beings have the technology, the tools, and the engineering to create all of these structures to in an attempt to dominate the 4th longest river in the world and the 11th by discharge. It’s not a question of whether we can do it, the question is should we do it.

Met up with the other groups in New Orleans.  The students so far seem to be a good group.  Our first foray into teaching geology was a beach profiling exercise on Grand Isle.  It was quite hot like we were two steps from the sun.  The students and teachers persevered through this exercise despite the heat.  Oh and Sno-Balls rock!

Nils "Buster" Landin
Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Agronomy

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