Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Episode 248 (1-12-15): Exploring Stream Channel Energy and Patterns through "Minor Meander" by No Strings Attached

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:24)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 12, 2015.

This week, we feature a Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based musical group, with a tune whose name and note patterns recall how rivers and streams follow laws of energy and physics.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds.


You’ve been listening to part of “Minor Meander,” by No Strings Attached, on their 1999 CD, “In the Vinyl Tradition Volume II,” from Enessay Music.  As the tune repeatedly builds up and then cascades down, it captures the pattern of solar energy evaporating water up into the atmosphere, and gravitational energy pulling water back to the landscape, down through stream and river channels, and ultimately to the ocean.  That energy gives water the force to erode and shape a stream’s landscape.  But water’s erosive force—which varies depending on the water’s rate of flow—meets different levels of resistance in the various kinds of rocks, soils, living things, and human structures over which water flows.  Following laws of physics that control how energy changes and materials move, the complicated interaction between stream force and landscape materials results in a variety of stream-channel patterns, which range from single, straight streams to braided rivers with many winding and intersecting channels.  One of the possible patterns is large bends called meanders, seen famously in the Seven Bends area of the North Fork Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County, Va.  Thanks to No Strings Attached for permission to use this week’s music, and let’s end with about 15 more seconds of musical energy from “Minor Meander.”


For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 1/12/15] 

Post card image (dated between 1930 and 1945) of part of the Seven Bends of the North Fork Shenandoah River, in Shenandoah County, Virginia.  From the Boston Public Library, made available (for uses allowed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License) by the Digital Pubic Library of America, online at https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:2z10wt39r.

Meanders in the South Fork Shenandoah River, as seen from Cullers Overlook in Andy Guest/Shenandoah River State Park (Warren County, Va.), March 12, 2014.

“Minor Meander” and “In the Vinyl Tradition Volume II” are copyright by No Strings Attached and Enessay Music, used with permission.  “Minor Meander” was composed by Wes Chappell and appeared originally on No Strings Attached’s 1986 album, “Dulcimer Dimensions.”  More information on No Strings Attached is available from their Web site, http://enessay.com/.

Thanks to Kevin McGuire, associate director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, for his help with this episode.

Sources for this Episode
Encyclopedia Britannica, “Meander,” online at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/371575/meander.

Stream Hydrology: An Introduction for Ecologists
, by Nancy D. Gordon et al., John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, 1992.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Seven Bends State Park: 2008 Master Plan Executive Summary and 2014 Master Plan Renew,” accessed online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/masterplans.shtml.

For More Information about Watersheds, Streams and Rivers, and Other Water Science Topics
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) “Water Science School,” online at http://water.usgs.gov/edu/.

Some Related Virginia Water Radio Episodes on the Water cycle, Watersheds, and Stream Flow
Blue Ridge and the Rockfish River | EP192 – 12/16/13
Blue Ridge creating watersheds | EP209 – 4/14/14
Groundwater | EP178 – 9/9/13
Hydroelectric power | EP170 – 7/15/13
New River | EP109 – 5/7/12
Ohio River Basin rivers | EP108 – 4/30/12
Rappahannock River | EP89 – 11/21/11, EP245--12/22/14
Shenandoah River | EP130 – 10/1/12
Three forks of the Big Sandy River | EP162 – 5/20/13
Water as a solvent | EP93 – 12/19/11
Water cycle | EP191 – 12/9/13; EP198 – 1/27/14
Watersheds | EP156 – 4/8/13

For a subject index to all previous Virginia Water Radio episodes, please see this link: http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.

SOLs Information for Virginia Teachers
This episode may help with Virginia’s January 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs) for Force, Motion, and Energy in grades 4 (4.2) and six (6.2); for Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change in grade 5 (5.7); for Matter in grade 6 (6.5); for Living Systems in grade 6 (6.7); for Life Science (especially LS.6); for Physical Science (especially PS.6 and PS.10); for Earth Science (especially ES.8); and for Physics(especially PH.4, PH.6, and PH.7).