hydrology – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Tag Archives: hydrology

withdrawal and rise

[Detail from a map of groundwater wells in Jackson County, Texas, drawn by the U.S.G.S. in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board and Jackson County; satellite studies of groundwater levels — which use small changes in the Earth’s gravitational field to detect fluctuations in groundwater reserves — have indicated extreme depletion in Texas as […]

center pivot pixelation

[A particularly stark example of the pixelated patterns produced by pivot irrigation, in northern Saudi Arabia. The patterns produced by irrigation in Saudi Arabia are so stark because what water is available in the Arabian penisula is buried as fossil waters at such great depths that wells may reach as much as three thousand feet […]

giant tube to supply water for ten millions

The wonder of inter-basin transfer, in the August 1937 issue of Popular Mechanics: (The cover of that same issue, which wonders at the electrical power produced by and transmitted from Lake Mead, is also worth a look.)

reversing the chicago river

One of the more spectacular engineering accomplishments of the United States in the late nineteenth century was the reversal of the Chicago River. Through the construction of a series of canals — most notably, the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal, seen under construction in 1896 above — the river was made to flow not into […]

casting fields

[Map of revetments under the purview of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Team New Orleans, on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers; image produced by mammoth using data from the Army Corps.] I’ve already talked a fair about the idea that the Mississippi River is, at this point in its history, an artificially-constructed system that should […]

in and out of the terrain of water

[The Dixon Land Imprinter, described by the Out of Water project.] This is probably a bit late to be truly timely, but there are a pair of interdisciplinary-but-architecturally-oriented conferences this weekend (1 and 2 April) hosted by the Universities of Pennsylvania and Toronto, which may be of interest to mammoth readers who are in or […]

staging ground

[Detail from Andrew tenBrink’s “Staging Ground”; all images in this post are from “Staging Ground”; most of them can be clicked on for larger images with captions and more readable annotations.] “Staging Ground” is the thesis project of recent Harvard GSD graduate Andrew tenBrink.  In it, tenBrink explores a series of topics which make frequent […]

a tertiary river

[Aerial photograph of sludge mats swirling in the Los Angeles River by flickr user Vision Aerie] As we’re about to jump scales in our reading of The Infrastructural City — from the post-natural ecologies and mining operations of the first section of the book, “Landscape”, to the networks of cell towers and cable lines featured […]

“the parrot, the weed, and the sludge mat”

You’ve arrived at week two of our reading of The Infrastructural City; if you’re not familiar with the series, you can start here and catch up here — taking particular note of the index of contributing posts for the first chapter, which tracks the sprawl of the discussion across other blogs. [The lower reaches of […]

wyoming is in los angeles

From now until the beginning of August, mammoth is hosting a chapter-by-chapter reading and discussion of The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles.  This post is the first in that series, and discusses Owens Lake; for the full schedule of readings and an introduction to the series (and the book), click here.  In addition […]

the delhi nullahs project

[A “nullah” in Delhi, via the Delhi Nullahs Project] I ran across the Delhi Nullahs Project — launched by Indian architecture firm Morphogenesis, and, in particular, Manit Rastogi, one of the firm’s principals — a few days ago, via @namhenderson.  The “nullahs” were originally constructed as drainage channels by the Tughlak dynasty in the 14th […]

absent rivers, ephemeral parks

[American Falls de-watered, via Flickr user rbglasson] For six months in the summer and fall of 1969, Niagara’s American Falls were “de-watered”, as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls’ rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion.  During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale […]


[Perhaps the perfect image for mammoth to end our participation in Glacier/Island/Storm week (it’s been great fun, and lots of great research, commentary, and speculation has been posted) with: an Antarctic glacier sinking past Inexpressible Island (really) into Terra Nova Bay, while providing graphic evidence of the powerful winds which operate on the Antarctic coast.  […]


[Chinampas, artificial agricultural islands in Xochimilco, Mexico, photographed by flickr user Colibri.  The chinampas have been constructed in the lakes around Mexico City since pre-Columbian times; posts are driven into the lake bottom in shallows, connected into walls by weaving branches horizontally between the posts, and the resultant enclosures are filled with fertile soil from […]

readings: cars, ships, and nuclear reactors

[all photographs from Andrea Frank’s series “Ports and Ships”] 1. Dave Roberts reviews two books on the future of automotive transportation — Traffic and Reinventing the Automobile — in the American Prospect, primarily discussing “USVs”, the descendant of MIT’s CityCar.  Roberts’ review explains why mammoth is so excited about CityCar as an architectural tool: Where […]

the dead sea works

I was reminded of the Conveyor Belt for the Dead Sea Works (pictured above) by FASLANYC‘s post last week, which rightly notes that Israeli landscape architect Shlomo Aronson completed a small series of projects in the mid-eighties which prefigured the contemporary interest in landscape infrastructures. While the conveyor belt is an obviously sculptural (and beautiful) […]

climate defense systems

An article from Sunday’s Washington Post discusses the development of “climate defense systems”, resulting from an increasing interest in not just climate change prevention, but also climate change adaptation.  The article is particularly focused on the Netherlands, where “the Dutch are spending billions of euros on ‘floating communities’ that can rise with surging flood waters, […]

the new dutch water defense line

There’s nothing particularly original about the observation that the Dutch have a peculiar national relationship to their landscape (and, in particular, its hydrology), but that peculiarity produces endlessly fascinating oddities and, apparently, endless mammoth posts on Dutch hydrology.  As lewism noted on one such post, Bulwarks and Flux: …the whole of Dutch landscape and history […]

readings: hydrologically situated infrastructures

Whether immense re-configurations of watersheds on a geological scale or fine and playful tunings of the interactions between city-dwellers and the infrastructures that deliver their water, those that transmit water or those that sit on and in it, the intersection of hydrology and infrastructure is a continual fascination for mammoth. Image from Yue Yuan Zheng’s […]

toxic waters

The New York Times is running a fantastic series on “worsening pollution in America’s waters and regulators’ response.”