Theo Barnhart
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Future Interests

I am intersted in exploring linkages between snowcover and stream response during the spring snowmelt period as it pertains to water resources and biogeochemical fluxes at both the catchment and mountain range scale. I am also interested in understanding sediment flux in ephemeral streams and the effect of restoration structures on the morphology of these systems. I would also like to continue using ground based lidar to address questions in surface change and landform evolution.

Slump and point cloud

Thermokarst Headwall Dynamics, Selawik Retrogressive Thaw Slump, Alaska [Summer 2011-Spring 2013]

My MS focused on working to understand how hydrologic and meteorologic drivers control the growth of a retrogressive thaw slump in northwest Alaska. The Selawik slump initiated in 2004 and has been growing 7-20 m/yr since. I use ground based LiDAR to take high resolution topographic surveys of the feature twice a day and use those data sets to investigate changes in the rate of the feature's growth and morphology. Retrogressive thaw slumps are a type of thermokarst feature with the ability to mobilize large quantities of sediment and nutrients to downstream environments. Better understanding what drives this feature's growth will inform how these features will behave under different climate warming scenarios.

Bryce Canyon NP erosion map

Post-Wildfire Erosion, Bryce Canyon NP, Utah [Summer 2010]

As part of a GSA GeoCorps position at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah I designed and implemented a post-wildfire erosion study at a recent burn within the Park. The project was the start of broader work to investigate if the scenic amphitheaters at Bryce Canyon NP could have been initiated by large disturbance events such as wildfires. I initially mapped and modelled erosion throughout the burned study area. I then proposed a second phase of the study installing sediment fences to better quantify the amount of erosion at the hillslope scale. Sediment fences were installed before the summer convective storm season. In the fall, the sediment fences were emptied and weighed.

Sediment traps in Svalbard

Glaciomarine Sediment Flux and Transportation Mechanisms, Kronerbreen/Kongsvegan, Kongsfjorden, Svalbard [Summer 2009]

I had the good fortune to participate in the NSF Svalbard REU program working on understanding how tidewater glaciers are responding to contemporary climate change. My project used sediment traps deployed in one of the meltwater plumes from a tidewater glacial complex to investigate changes in sedimentation rates and sediment transportation mechanisms in the water column. This work was used for my senior honors thesis at Whitman College.

Fieldwork in Sonora

Vegetation Change as a Metric for Wetland Restoration Success, San Bernardino Cienaga, Sonora, Mexico [2008-2009]

As portion of the ecology unit on Whitman College's 2008 Semester in the West program I visited a wetland restoration project on the San Bernardino Ranch in Sonora Mexico. I organized and mapped vegetation survey data collected over six years to investigate if vegetation changes in the wetland could be used as a metric for wetland restoration success.