‘Brazil Nut Effect’ Helps Explain How Rivers Resist Erosion, Penn Team Finds
November 20, 2017
Pop the top off a can of mixed nuts and, chances are, Brazil nuts will be at the top. This phenomenon, of large particles tending to rise to the top of mixtures while small particles tend to sink down, is popularly known as the “Brazil nut effect” and more technically as granular segregation.
Look down at the top of a riverbed and it’s easy to draw a parallel: the top of a riverbed is typically lined with larger cobbles, while finer sand and small gravel particles make up the deeper layers.