Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Episode 560 (1-18-21): Exploring Stream Channel Energy and Patterns with “Minor Meander” by No Strings Attached

Click to listen to episode (3:50)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-15-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 18, 2021.  This episode is a revised repeat of an episode from January 2015.

MUSIC – ~16 sec – instrumental

This week, we feature 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.

MUSIC – ~39 sec – instrumental

You’ve been listening to part of “Minor Meander,” by No Strings Attached, on their 1999 album, “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, through stream and river channels, and ultimately to the ocean.  That energy gives water the force to erode and shape a stream’s channel and floodplain.  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.  The complicated interaction between stream force and materials resistance results in a variety of stream-channel patterns.  These pattern range from straight, single-channel streams to braided rivers with many winding and intersecting channels.  One of the possible patterns is large changes in direction, called meanders or bends, 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 we close with about 15 more seconds of musical energy in “Minor Meander.”

MUSIC – ~15 sec – instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 248, 1-12-15.

“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 about the now-retired group No Strings Attached is available online at https://www.enessay.com/index.html.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 500, 11-25-19.

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

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.


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 use (with no known copyright restrictions) 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 in Warren County, Va., March 12, 2014.

Satellite image showing meanders in the Mississippi River as it approaches the Gulf of Mexico.  This image is part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s “Find a Feature Challenge: Meander” Web page, online at https://www.usgs.gov/media/galleries/find-a-feature-meander, 1/18/21.


Used for Audio

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

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

National Park Service, “Fluvial Features—Meandering Stream,” online at https://www.nps.gov/articles/meandering-stream.htm.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Seven Bends State Park,” online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/seven-bends. 

For More Information about Watersheds, Streams and Rivers, and Other Water Science Topics

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) “Water Science School,” online at https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school. 


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category.

Following are links to some other episodes on patterns in streams, rivers, and watersheds.

Estuaries – Episode 326, 7-25-16.
Forks in Waterways –
Episode 545, 10-5-20.
Headwater Streams –
Episode 397, 12-4-17.
Mountain Gaps –
Episode 288, 11-2-15.
River Bluffs –
Episode 173, 8-5-13.
Virginia's Peninsulas –
Episode 273, 7-6-15
Watersheds –
Episode 156, 4-8-13; Episode 209, 4-14-14; Episode 251, 2-2-15. 


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-3 plus 5: Force, Motion, and Energy
2.2 – Different types of forces may cause an object’s motion to change.
3.2 – Direction and size of force affects the motion of an object.
5.2 – Energy can take many forms.
5.3 – There is a relationship between force and energy of moving objects. 

Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter
3.3 – Materials interact with water.
5.7 – Matter has properties and interactions. 

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
K.10 – Change occurs over time.
5.8 – Earth constantly changes.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8. – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.4 – There are basic sources of energy and that energy can be transformed.
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems.

Physical Science
Work, force, and motion are related. 

Earth Science
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.

PH.4 – Conservation laws govern all interactions.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – How selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250,1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.