Category urban histories

Making the Geologic Now

[Aerial view of Amwaj Island, Bahrain, where 2.79 million square meters have been reclaimed from the sea.  The foundation of these islands and its surrounding breakwaters are made of geotubes, sausage-like casings of geotextile fabric that have been pumped full of 12 million cubic meters of dredged ocean sediments recycled from navigation channels and marinas.  […]

Pokegama’s Macro Accelerator

[a log stripped of its bark and lubricated with animal fat collides with the Klamath River after descending through the Pokegama Chute at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.  Is that dust or smoke we see in its wake?  Image circa 1900, by Maud Baldwin] The western United States’ historic logging boom was […]

Post-Panamax Earthworks

[Before and after images of the “removal of De Lesseps Island as part of the works for widening and deepening the navigational channels in Culebra Cut and Gatun Lake, for safer Post-Panamax vessel transits through the new channel. The removal of this island will allow straight-course navigation in this area“] As part of the Panama […]

Simulating the Holocene (Advancing Deltas IV)

[Map of Land Subsidence occurring in the Sacramento Delta since it was leveed and drained.  Image altered and borrowed from the Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Report] While in the process of exploring anthropogenic wetlands in the Upper Klamath Basin, a hydrologist with the Bureau of Land Management pointed me towards some interesting […]

Levee Glyphs

Blooms of cyanobacteria weave through remnant levees adrift in Klamath Lake’s eutrophic waters.   Stripped of their engineered function, the string of islands continue to serve as an inscription of their own layering of compounded histories: ….(1) the shape of the pre-anthropogenic river delta the levees circumscribed: [Aerial photograph of the Williamson Delta in the 1940s, […]

Advancing Deltas II [N42 30.041 W121 57.522]

Welcome to the Williamson River Delta in Southern Oregon.  The image above shows our path in and around this delta, via a GPS track meshed with Google Earth.  The track was made last month (August, 2011) and the landscape looked quite different from what it does here, as current Google imagery predates October of 2007. […]

Staring at Goats VII: Feral and Very Urban

[Canadian Thistle, Cirsium arvense, up close (above) and in its urban habitat (below).  Along with Bull Thistle, this plant likely made its accidental introduction to North America from Eurasia and North Africa through contaminated seeds or hay.  Extremely difficult to eradicate, Canadian Thistle was one of the first plants listed on the U.S. Government’s noxious […]

The Engine that Never Was, yet Was

[The abandoned Aerojet-Dade rocket engine factory in the Florida Everglades, seen in its present state via flickr user aviatorr727] At nearly the same time our cold war efforts were experimenting with garment designs for space travel, we were simultaneously busy designing the rocket engines to get astronauts into space.  If you have yet too view […]

Becoming of the Sea

The U.S. Geological Survey recently published a map showing land area change in coastal Louisiana from 1932 – 2010; a more comprehensive survey than their previous efforts.   Using integrated data from historical surveys, landsat imagery, and national wetland inventories based on aerial photographs, their findings conclude that Louisiana has undergone a net change in land […]

A River of Words, Acts and Cubic Feet per Second

[Prelude to the creation of the lower Mississippi’s floodways: emergency dynamiting of a levee at Caernarvon to create a ‘crevasse’ spillway, releasing pressure on the larger levee system, 1927.  Courtesy of NOAA’s image library.] Given the current inundated state of the Mississippi, our attention has been unavoidably drawn there.  In perusing the coverage of the flood, […]