Levee Erosion-Natural Hazards

Effects of Soil and Stream Temperatures on Channel Erosion and Soil Piping

Soil and stream temperatures are impacted by the overall climate conditions as well as by human development.  Increased velocity of storm runoff due to urban development can cause kinetic increases in stream temperatures. Additionally, human infrastructure may transmit heat directly to runoff water. Simultaneously , shifting climate conditions may expose streams and other soil/water boundaries in regions around the globe to new and unexpected temperature extremes.  There is already evidence that additional energy placed into these systems will result in an increase in erosion.  This is a threat to infrastructure and the environment.  However, before this challenge can be met, it must be understood.

This research is a collaborative effort between George Mason University and Virginia Tech University (Dr. Thompson and Dr. Olgun). George Mason University will make an attempt to quantify the influence of changes in soil composition as it relates to clay mineralogy and stream temperature on soil piping and Virginia Tech will focus on the soil erosion. Findings from both institutions will be combined to study the overall phenomena.

Understanding this phenomena will allow the research team to identify at-risk resources and to provide information that may be used to develop mitigation methods.