New View of Lake Waban: Bathymetric Style

December 21, 2012

Caroline Templeton '14 Devised System for Plotting Lake's Topography

bathymetric map with zones of yellow, green, and blue

This bathymetric map indicates that Lake Waban consists of two sub-basins that follow the direction of two underlying pre-glacial valleys. Its deepest depth is probably 12.2 meters, or 40 feet.

How did we find that out? As part of a GEOS-350 independent research project with Assistant Professor of Geosciences Katrin Monecke, geosciences and computer science major Caroline Templeton ’14 set up a depth survey system to assess the topography of a body of water. The system, which can be run easily from any boat, uses a simple echo-sounder, a global positioning system (GPS) device and a computer connection to collect depth data every second.

Using this system, Monecke's GEOS-304 Sedimentology class surveyed Lake Waban along a dense grid of lines, collecting more than 12,000 depth readings. The collected data was sorted using a program code written by Templeton and then processed with geographic information systems (GIS) software.

Bathymetric maps use color to indicate water depth and illustrate topography beneath the surface. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, most bathymetric images use colors on the “warm” end of the spectrum–red, orange, and yellow–to represent shallower water. As the water deepens, the colors shift through green, blue, and finally into violet. Dry land is usually shown in white. Areas that are the same distance below the surface will be shown in the same color, and the relationship between color and depth illustrates shapes and structures on the bottom of the body of water.

"I really enjoyed working on this project," said Templeton, "because it involved a lot of problem solving. The project required a lot of ingenuity because there was no pre-existing procedure that I could refer to when I encountered roadblocks." Templeton, who will spend next semester abroad, will be away from Lake Waban for awhile, but says the the plan is to use the survey system for future lake exploration. "The main purpose for the bathymetry survey is to help determine good locations for sediment cores. We planned to use the cores to look for evidence of historical earthquakes."

Professor Monecke’s work focuses on sedimentation and surficial geology, and she advised Templeton in her research, but notes that—as with so many things at Wellesley—cross-disciplinary efforts helped greatly to make this project happen: Rowing coach Austin Works provided the boat; lifeguard and geosciences major Caroline "Rosie" Duncan ’13 navigated the team safely on the lake; and Carolin Ferweda, instructional technologist for GIS and statistics from Library and Technology Services, and Alden Griffith, assistant professor of environmental studies, helped with the GIS software.




IN THE HEADLINES

 

AMERICAN PARENTING TODAY: WHAT HAPPENED TO “IT TAKES A VILLAGE?”

From “helicopter parenting” to letting children go alone to the park, private parenting gets public scrutiny. 

 

OUR EXPERTS

A recent book by Wellesley sociology professor Markella Rutherford examines private freedom and public constraints for parents and children in the United States.

 

 

Contact Us

Communications & Public Affairs
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

 

Email or 781.283.2373

 

Media Relations

Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481


Sofiya Cabalquinto, director of news and media relations
Anne Yu, associate director of news and media relations

 

Journalists contact: Email or 781.283.3321




 

Daily Shot suggestion?


Submit it here.
 


 

Keep up with Blue Pride scores, awards, upcoming events, and info on coaches and athletes at Wellesley sports news.