Using WILSIM-GC to Model Rock Erodibility in the Grand Canyon

Kyle Whalley, Geography, Northern Illinois University
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Initial Publication Date: December 15, 2015 | Reviewed: November 25, 2019


In this exercise, tudents use the computer simulation WILSIM-GC to explore how the "rock erodibility" of the walls of the Grand Canyon affects the shape and development of the canyon.

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Learning Goals

Content Goals

After successfully completing this exercise, students will be able to describe how the "rock erodibility" parameter in WILSIM-GC influences the model output.

Higher Order Thinking Skills

Students formulate and test hypotheses.

Other Skills

Students learn to manipulate the parameters of the computer simulation WILSIM-GC.

Context for Use

Course Type

Undergraduate course in geography or geology

Prerequisite Skills

This is an introductory parameter exercise that requires no additional skills. A basic knowledge of fluvial erosional processes and landform evolution is recommended.

Where this activity fits in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise that can be used as an introduction to WILSIM-GC, a computer simulation. Having completed this exercise, students will be ready to use WILSIM-GC to do more sophisticated activities, exploring and discovering principles of fluvial geomorphology.

Description and Teaching Materials

Go to Start Using WILSIM to download WILSIM-GC.

Modeling Rock Erodibility in the Grand Canyon Using WILSIM-GC (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 302kB Nov14 15)


Assess the students' understanding by reviewing their answers to the questions.