by Ned Kahn
Fluvial refers to things that are shaped by flowing water, as in a stream or river. The term comes from “flavius”, the Latin word for river. Visitors rotate a large clear sphere filled with water and sand, noticing the variation of patterns formed. The next time you walk along a stream with a sandy bottom, look along the edges, especially where the stream bends and the current is different on either side of the bend. You’re likely to see ripple patterns similar to the ones visitors make by spinning the globe. Scientists are sometimes able to reconstruct 400-million-year-old landscapes by studying ripple patterns in rock formations. These ripples can reveal ancient shorelines.