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G1 Geography stream fieldtrip
2017-05-26

[SCIE web news, May 26th, 2017] G1 fieldtrip was quite amazing and impressive this year. Stuart, the Geography department’s IGCSE coordinator, switched this years location to MaLuanShan Natural Park in Shenzhen and this was the very first time that students in SCIE did the river fieldwork in this stream. Luckily, it was proved to be an ideal place for us to have a general understanding of the equipment that appears in syllabus.

We set off at approximately 8 in the morning with Stuart A, Mr.Taylor, Mr.Nair, Dr Sharron and Stuart R. The trip didn’t go on so well at the beginning. The bus driver couldn’t find the right way to the entrance, but after I helped Stuart with my phones BAIDU map APP so we arrived at the natural park at 11 o’clock, which forced us to complete the fieldwork with a little less time so less time for break as we had so much work to do.

As soon as we had got off the bus with all sorts of strange-looking equipment, our fantastic journey started with us climbing hills. The brook winded its way through the slope, splashing on the uneven river bed and creating countless eddies, turbulence, or even sometimes hollows (potholes). What’s more, there was even a small waterfall on the side of the path. These features were all what were expected to be seen in the upper process of a river, which indeed reminded us of what we studied a few months before on river. Besides, on our way up to the top of the hill, Stuart also explained some of these features with great details.

After a brief introduction and demonstration of using a variety of equipment, such as ranging poles , tape measure, meter ruler, clinometer and so on, there came the most interesting part. We could finally start our own investigation! I couldn’t wait to find out all those fascinating facts of this gurgling brook. River cross-section, river depth, wetted perimeter, river channel gradient, velocity, as well as sediment analysis and freshwater invertebrate sampling. There was quite a lot work to do. 

 

To begin with, we were split into groups of 4 or 5 people and each group found a place to do their own measurements. As for my group, which consisted of Eden, Rabbit, Sylvia and me, we were preoccupied with the fieldwork. I couldn’t deny that there were various difficulties doing these measurements. For example, when we were measuring wetted perimeter, which was the perimeter of the angular river bed, the tape measure kept floating upwards and it was really hard to ensure it was completely stretched across all the rocks. Moreover, the random flow disturbed us a lot, for it flew in different directions. To overcome this problem, I had to stand in water and pressed the tape meter against the rough surface.

Similar problem existed again when we were measuring velocity, the method of comparing the time taken by five leaves to travel through the same distance in the river channel didn’t work well. Owing to the fact that river was naturally swinging from side to side and spiraling (this is called helical flow) while it was flowing down the slope, and the leaves flew with those curved flow, they often got stuck in the cracks of rocky river bank as a result. In addition to this, measuring river channel gradient was another challenge, not only should we make sure the ranging poles were vertically positioned, but also it took us some time to get used of Stuart’s hand-made clinometer (well he tried!).

 

Overall, I was glad to say that this stream was relatively natural and unpolluted, because when we did the sediment analysis, there was hardly any mud, clay or silt suspended in the bottle. It was almost transparent. Besides, the only creature we discovered was a clam. This proved that this stream was moderately intolerant of pollution.   

hours past so quickly that we weren’t willing to return school when teachers asked us to assemble.

 

 

 

 

 It was a substantial enrichment of our geography study. Thanks to all the kind-hearted teachers and high-spirited students.

 

It was definitely one of the most memorable experiences in my life, and I believe, this trip would set a great example for G1 geography students next year.

 ( Written and photos by   Elizabeth)

 

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