Circles within circles... / by Charles Wiese

Funny, the trajectories taken by an interest of mine in fluid dynamics. In my teen years, I spent many hours focused on the aerodynamics of model airplanes and a general appreciation of the aerodynamic form. This led to a degree in aerospace and a career in the industry. This is when I came to an early understanding of the challenges of fluids. The equations remain one of the great unsolved mathematical challenges. One of the principle reasons for this is turbulence - chaotic fluid flows.

Jumping forward to the past 10 years or so and an extended exploration of chaos, iterated function systems, and ambiguous coding has provided a rich visual field to explore. These topics in math-made-visual bear relation to the chaos first encountered, but not fully appreciated in my work as an aerodynamicist. I am fascinated by the ordered randomness of chaotic processes.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have recently returned to another interest, the eroded landscape. I have a love of the eroded landscapes found in southern Utah (and elsewhere). There are a number of processes involved in creating the many eroded forms found there. Fluid flows make such interesting marks on the land - complex branching systems that bear visual similarity to tree forms, circulatory systems, and more.

So here are a couple of examples of modeled eroded landscape.

First, a detail of dendritic erosion forms.

Here is an image I made a while ago. Kindred forms.

Next, a sketch of the result of combining two distinctly different landforms. The thin dike formations are completely unrealistic, but intriguing nonetheless. Notes were made…