Geology of the National Parks

GeoMations and GeoClips


This week, we feature three GeoMations, and two GeoClips from the CAUSE trip out west, featuring Dr. Alley and Dr. Anandakrishnan in the Spring of 2004.

The three GeoMations could appropriately be called 1) How Deltas work, 2) How Dams work, and 3) How New Orleans Doesn't work, and in the video, you'll get to see Dr. Alley and Dr. Anandakrishnan "argue" over the Glen Canyon dam and its effect on Lake Powell above the dam and the Colorado River below.

As before, we hope you enjoy these, and find them to be useful complements to the readings, class notes, and slide shows of Unit 6.


How Deltas Work

How Dams Work

How New Orleans Doesn't Work


Dams cause huge changes on rivers, both upstream and downstream. In this film clip, Drs. Anandakrishnan and Alley discuss the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell on the Colorado River. Huge changes were caused by this project, including in the Grand Canyon far downstream. The CAUSE 2004 class used some clever editing to manufacture a disagreement between the professors, who are much closer to being on the same wavelength than you might imagine by watching this.


Human actions are more and more affecting the amount and quality of water and the ground, with effects that bounce back on us and on other living things. Here, Dr. Alley chats about groundwater issues of great concern to the National Park Service at the Grand Canyon.

Canyon Groundwater / Grand Canyon National Park

Want to see more?

Here are some optional resources you might also want to explore! (No, these won't be on the quiz!)

Join Dr. Alley to learn about formation of Fossil Fuels, in Barataria Reserve, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana, from the PBS television special Earth: The Operators’ Manual.

Deltas and Plumes
(An extensive collection of animations on this subject)

River Systems: Process and Form
(An extensive collection of animations on this subject)

Processes of River Erosion, Transport, and Deposition
(An extensive collection of animations on this subject)