Does river migration slow down in high-curvature bends?

The answer, at least for seven rivers of the Amazon Basin, seems to be negative, as we try to demonstrate in a paper that was recently published in Geology. My coauthors are Paul Durkin, at the University of Manitoba, and Jake Covault, at the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin. In this blog post, I try to provide a bit more background to our paper.

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Exploring the diffusion equation with Python

Ever since I became interested in science, I started to have a vague idea that calculus, matrix algebra, partial differential equations, and numerical methods are all fundamental to the physical sciences and engineering and they are linked in some way to each other. The emphasis here is on the word vague; I have to admit that I had no clear, detailed understanding of how these links actually work. It seems like my formal education both in math and physics stopped just short of where everything would have nicely come together.

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Rivers through time, as seen in Landsat images

Thanks to the Landsat program and Google Earth Engine, it is possible now to explore how the surface of the Earth has been changing through the last thirty years or so. Besides the obvious issues of interest, like changes in vegetation, the spread of cities, and the melting of glaciers, it is also possible to look at how rivers change their courses through time. You have probably already seen the images of the migrating Ucayali River in Peru, for example here.

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