My research investigates the fundamental physics of sediment-laden flow and its morphological influence on fluvial system. This science requires understanding scales as small as particles to as large as sedimentary basins. My current study seeks to understand how sediment transport, and elements of morphological change, vary over different environments to create various bedforms, including ripples, dunes, and channel bars, and to evaluate how these bedforms influence large scale morphology of sedimentary systems that are preserved in the rock record.
My research comingles observational sedimentology and geomorphology with reduced complexity numerical and analytical modeling to understand earth surface processes and how they create sedimentary records.
The broad aim of my research is evaluating how the physical processes of rivers and deltas shape the surface of Earth. Currently, my research is examining modern sedimentation processes of the Selenga River Delta, Lake Baikal, Russia. In particular, I am exploring the interaction between basin subsidence and the dispersal of gravel, with the aim to couple modern sediment transport processes, as influenced by tectonics, to the construction of basin stratigraphy.
The Yellow River is an end-member fluvial system as it is characterized by very suspended sediment concentrations, variable water discharge over annual and decadal timescales, and significant anthropogenic influences. In the lower reaches of the Lower Yellow River, the unique characteristics of the river combine to produce rapid channel bed aggradation that results in frequent overbank flooding and river avulsions. My research seeks to advance the science regarding long-term fluvial-deltaic evolution through comprehensive numerical models of the Yellow River and detailed field observations. A broad aim of this research is to forward model delta growth for sustainable river-engineering practices, and therefore there is application to management of deltaic landscapes globally.
The filling history of Carboniferous Shannon Basin (Co. Clare, Ireland) remains mysterious in terms of the relationship between sediment transport mechanics and the resulting stratigraphy despite research for over half a century. I aim to address this gap in our understanding short term (1-100 year time scale) morphodynamics and long term (1000-1000000 year) basin filling mechanisms by combining numerical modeling and field data, so to test the hypothesis that “fluid hydrodynamics of the PRESENT is the KEY to the stratigraphy of the PAST”.
I am broadly interested in how small-scale mechanisms manifest and control larger scale processes in river systems, in particular how grain-scale processes ultimately manifest as fractal river planform geometries. I’m also interested in how large-scale drivers like climate change manifest as changes in local scale river processes.
My research focuses on the processes that shape modern coastal systems. My current research investigates the evolution of abandoned deltaic lobes and distributary channels on the Huanghe (Yellow River), China.
Visiting Scholars and Collaborators
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering