Past Participant Survey
Challenge Team Interim Report
Team Number: 006
School Name: Los Alamos High School
Area of Science: Earth Science
Project Title: Three Dimensional Erosion Modeling
The environment in which people live shapes human civilization throughout the world. The weather in a
region influences what crops people grow, and what type of houses they build. Another important aspect
of civilization is the landscape on which the people live. If you live high in the mountains of
India you will live a very different life then if you are on the Great Plains. Also, the landscape on
which we live is always changing, though few people realize it. The goal of our project is to create an
accurate module of a landscape and simulate the changes caused by erosion over time.
The first step was to generate a landscape to 'experiment' on. For now, we are using a randomly
generated landscape. We tried several different erosion algorithms; this served two purposes: one, we
were able to find a decent algorithm, and two; we were able to use ideas from all of our algorithms to
improve our final product. We also worked with a geologist to identify problems and suggest possible
solutions. In time this should allow us to present a fairly accurate representation of three-dimensional
erosion. We can also use this technique to generate images of the landscape in various stages of
We have collected as large amount of information on erosion, and have started to write our code.
Currently, our code represents fluvial erosion with a large degree of accuracy, but has been unable to
simulate mass wasting. The program outputs it's data into a file which a mathematic program, such as
Matlab, can read and display as a three dimensional graph. We also have a prototype of a Java applet
viewer that can display the data.
We expect to be able to construct a three-dimensional model of a randomly generated landscape and
display an animation of it being eroded.