Luke Fisher, UM BRIDGES Trainee, wins Toelle-Bekken Award

Magdalena River near Girardot

From Luke Fisher, UM BRIDGES Trainee:

Analyzing the concentration of the cosmogenic nuclide, 10Be, in river sediments is a tool frequently used by geomorphologists to quantify basin wide erosion rates over thousand-year timescales. This is a technique that has not been widely applied to large tropical river environments. Later this year, with support from a BRIDGES travel grant and the Toelle-Bekken Family Memorial Fund I will be studying sediment dynamics in the Magdalena River basin in the Northern Andes Region of Colombia.

The Magdalena region hosts a magnificent biodiversity and the majority of population and economic activity in the country. This river basin is in the midst of a boom in hydropower development. Understanding the fundamental processes driving the form of the river is critical in quantifying how this development will impact the river.

I was excited to hear that I had won support from the Toelle-Bekken Family Memorial Fund to process samples collected in my study area in the Magdalena. With this support I will prepare my samples at a lab in Bozeman before sending them to be analyzed with the Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) at Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement (PRIME) Laboratory.

Image:  The Magdalena River near Girardot, Departamento de Cundinamarca

Photo by Andrew Wilcox