N M Tech Professors Co-Author Chapters in Rio Chagres Book, July 13, 2005

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., July 13, 2005 – A hydrologist and geologist at New Mexico Tech are co-authors of several chapters included in a newly published book that focuses on one of the most important and complex tropical rainforest regions in the world — the greater Panama Canal Watershed.

“The Rio Chagres, Panama — A Multidisciplinary Profile of a Tropical Watershed,” published by Springer, Inc., includes four chapters co-written by Jan Hendrickx, professor of hydrology at New Mexico Tech, and Bruce Harrison, associate professor of environmental geology at the research university. The geoscientists were part of an international team of researchers and scientists who contributed to this latest volume in Springer’s “Water Science and Technology Library Series.”

According to Springer’s description of The Rio Chagres, Panama, the broad objective of the 354-page hardbound book is to characterize and understand the physical and ecological components and natural interactions of an isolated and largely pristine tropical rainforest.

For the past five years, Hendrickx and Harrison have been investigating the hydrologic properties of soils typically found along the dense tropical forest that abuts the length of the Panama Canal.

The Rio Chagres and its tributaries have long played a critical role in Panama’s history, up to watershed’s current international importance as the major supplier of the millions of gallons a day needed to operate the Panama Canal’s lake and lock systems and provide hydro-electric power to open and close the locks. In addition, the watershed serves as the primary source of potable water for municipal use in Panama City and nearby communities.