The Round River

Chester E. Mohler, Bonneville Power Administration Inside Interior (1975); U.S. Department of the Interior; Gerald A. Waindel, Editor (Uncopyrighted publication)

Lithosphere (April 1995); Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society, Inc.; Fallbrook, CA

This story concerns the Round River in the Great Basin west of the Rockies. The basic feature of this story is from Claude Studebaker of the Bureau of Reclamation in Boise, circa 1948. Many Department of the Interior people are qualified hydrologists and know that this is a region of hydrologic peculiarities. The Humboldt River in Nevada, for example, has no mouth, but flows from both ends toward the middle. In earlier days before so much of Lower Klamath Lake was reclaimed, the Link River flowed into the Klamath River during conditions of low flow; but during conditions of high flow, the Klamath River flowed into the Link River.

A similar anomaly, changed by time, was the Round River. Its basin lay generally north of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, east of the Steens Mountains, south of the Uintah Mountains, and west of the Kaibab Mountains. In the northern part of this basin, the river could be found flowing westward. It turned though and flowed in a north-south direction in the west part of the basin, turned again in the south part of the basin, and eventually joined itself in the northern part of the basin. This, of course, was the origin of the name Round River. In addition to this peculiarity though, the river reversed its direction of flow at irregular intervals.

For eons of time, no particular note was taken of this strange flow pattern. To the Indians, the river was as good to drink from flowing in one direction as in the other. In either direction, the water was rather brackish. The Forty Niners on their way to the California gold fields had no way of knowing, on their second crossing, that this was the same river they crossed some forty days previously. They also didn't linger long enough to see the reversal of flow.

Eventually, the river came to the attention of the Bureau of Reclamation as did all western rivers. A team of field engineers was given the responsibility of designing and locating a hydroelectric project. The reversal of flow made this most frustrating. What was designed as the forebay on one week would lie in the location of the tailrace on a subsequent week. Many months of labor and ingenuity were spent on this problem with no productive results. Ultimately, the problem was solved with the Squeeves Pump by an extraordinary genius whose name, unfortunately, has not been preserved.

Initially, the problem appeared fundamentally one of hydrometeorology solved through creation of an analog with use of a polynomial algorithm. This required discrete dynamic dimensionality reached through a matrix of eigenvectors. However, propagation of a parametric relationship trended toward configuration with supercritical harmonics. The problem was therefore more electric than hydrologic.

Basically, there was an attenuation of electromagnetic transients. Damping resistors provided improved ferro-resonance and a more transient flashover voltage; but, as you know, the impedance of an infinite bus results in sparsity-directed decomposition, with series compensation, reenergization, and a step-front thyristor value. He therefore processed the subtransient reactive recursively through a tertiary transducer and, with the Squeeves Pump, reversed the flow of that mighty river.

Yes, the above article is an April Fool's joke, but the attribution is correct!

The preceding article was published in the April 1995 issue of Lithosphere, the official bulletin of the Fallbrook [California] Gem and Mineral Society, Inc; Richard Busch (Editor).

The material is in the public domain, and may be republished freely.

Last updated: 18 September 2002