Rivers. Complex deltas. Order out of chaos.

River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions see order in the apparent chaos.

Through field studies and mathematical modeling, they have concluded that deltas “self-organize” to increase the number, direction and size – or diversity – of sediment transport pathways to the shoreline, boosting their ability to withstand human disturbances and naturally occurring factors. The research team’s findings have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (1)

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The river on the shores of Asia Minor flows endlessly.

Every day it was different.

And yet the same.

For a wise man to cross it every day.

It was a simple river.

And yet it seems so complex to us now…

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