Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aerial Geomorphology #2: Twin Cities Flight

After moving to the Twin Cities I recently began flying out of Anoka County-Blaine and Flying Cloud Municipal airports. I had my biennial flight review in a Cessna 172, and also got checked out in a Cessna 152, which was a bit of a change for me, since almost all my single engine time is in a Piper Warrior II. The one advantage of the Cessna 172 and 152 is the high-wing design allows for better downward visibility, and therefore, better aerial photography. In the spirit of my blog, I took a friend up flying the other day, both because she had never gone flying in a small plane before, and also to get some nice pictures of local geomorphology.

The plane

The pilot

The photographer

The plan of the flight was to take off from Anoka and fly east towards the St. Croix River and back while checking out the many lakes and streams along the way.

Flight planning

This route took us over lots of the smaller lakes, and it seemed like everyone with a boat had it out that day. It had been really warm lately, so I don't blame them.

Center City, Minnesota
South Center Lake (bottom half), North Center Lake (top half), and Little Lake (far back, right)
After flying around my friend looked down and said, "Hey, meandering stream!". This turned out to be the Sunrise River, and it meadered quite a bit, even had some cutoff meander bends. Aerial geomorph gold! We followed it for a while as it flowed into some larger pools which became streams again.

Sunrise River, complete with meander cutoff bends

Sunrise River, with good examples of meander cutoff bends
Sunrise River, Sunrise River Pool #1 (left), Mud Lake (background)

The Sunrise River flowed into the Pool, where it branched and part of it went southward and another part of it went westward. We followed the westward branch, which eventually flowed into Martin Lake. All along the way the river had lots of meander cutoffs.

Sunrise River flowing into Martin Lake

It's nice to be flying again, and after years of geology education I love to notice the interesting landforms and stream types. Time to plan some other flights! 

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