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Stream Table Opens the Floodgates

The BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences announced today the open house for their new state-of-the-art stream table. The open house will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 29 from 1 to 5 p.m.

With the assistance of Little River Research & Design, BYU recently installed the new stream table, the fourth of its kind in existence. The table will be used extensively in the Department of Geological Sciences for research and teaching opportunities.

Anyone can attend the open house, where guests will be able to see and interact with the new stream table. Professor Randy Skinner and Dr. Jani Radebaugh of the Department of Geological Sciences will lead discussions concerning the elements of the stream table and will be available to answer questions at the open house.

Both students and faculty are given access to the stream table, which simulates realistic channels, riverbanks and deltas found naturally on Earth’s surface. Students can tilt and shift the table to model changes in water velocity and sea level that occur in natural river channels. It also includes an advanced dye-injection system that allows students to observe different depths, velocities and trajectories of the water flow made visible by the dyes.

“Here, they can come and, from start to finish, make a stream system themselves, watch it in action [and] make little alterations to see what changes happen,” said Dr. Radebaugh, who teaches geomorphology, geophysics and planetary geology.

The table measures 12 feet by 5 feet, allowing 15 to 20 students to comfortably gather around it at a time. In one class period, students can see for themselves how streams form and carve channels and deltas in changing conditions.

The stream table also opens new research opportunities for bachelors’ and masters’ students in geology and in other fields across campus, such as the modeling project under discussion with Dr. Michael Jones and his students in computer science.

The open house will also feature a special video presentation followed by refreshments on Wednesday.

“There is no stretching of the truth in terms of what this is going to do for our students,” said Jeff Keith, associate academic vice president over undergraduate studies. “It’s very satisfying to understand Earth processes, but this demonstrates it so quickly and well. This will pull in majors; this will help them really understand geology well.”

The stream table open house will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 29 from 1 to 5 p.m. in N-111, the Edwin S. Hinckley Walk-In Laboratory, of the Eyring Science Center on the campus of Brigham Young University. Admission is free, and all members of the community are invited to attend. For more information, please contact Lynn Patten at 801-422-4022 or by e-mail at lynn_patten@byu.edu.

By Chris Scheitinger Posted on