2017 Posters on the Hill

The following posters represented the geosciences at CUR’s Posters on the Hill, April 26, 2017.


Student(s): Joshua David Pigg | Matthew Barley
Research Institution: Indiana State University
Lead Student Home Institution: Indiana State UniversityLead Student Home State: IN
Faculty Advisor(s): Dr. Jennifer C Latimer
Division: Geosciences
Poster Title: “Bioavailability of Pb in Urban Soils”

Abstract: Children living in urban areas continue to have a higher risk of lead poisoning than those living in rural areas. An often overlooked source of lead exposure is found in urban soils, which store lead introduced to the environment as a result of the past use of leaded gasoline and leaded paints, as well as industrial emissions of lead. While many studies have quantified the distribution of lead across urban areas, few studies have assessed the bioavailability of lead in these urban soils.The samples used in this study were collected in Terre Haute, Indiana.Total lead concentrations for most of the surface soil samples were previously determined, although additional samples were collected in May 2016 from a historical residential district in Terre Haute.Two different geochemical approaches were used to evaluate the lead bioavailability. Samples were identified with soil lead >200 ppm (n = 210) and subjected to an extraction using a simulated gastric solution to measure what could be absorbed in the stomach during digestion.These samples are currently being subjected to an extraction using simulated bile and porcine pancreatin to measure lead that could be absorbed in the intestines. Samples with lead > 1200 ppm (n= 50) were subjected to a sequential extraction that isolates Pb that is associated with different soil components.The results suggest that soil lead previously considered to be not biologically available could be absorbed in significant quantities during digestion.


Student(s): Perri Silverhart
Research Institution: Middlebury College
Lead Student Home Institution: Middlebury College
Lead Student Home State: CT
Faculty Advisor(s): Dr. Patricia Lee Manley | Dr.Thomas Manley
Division: Geosciences
Poster Title: “Utilizing Landslides in Lake Champlain as Paleoseismic and Paleohazard Indicators”
Sponsoring Agency: Middlebur y College Senior Research Fund, Lake Champlain Research Consor tium, and Lintilhac Foundation

Abstract: Lacustrine landslides have been identified in Lake Champlain via Multibeam and CHIRP (compressed high-intensity radar pulse) seismic profile imagery. Previous studies show that several of these landslides are coeval occurring ~4500 – 5500 cal yr BP.This study focuses on a series of four overlapping landslide deposits on the western side of the main section of Lake Champlain between Bouquet River Delta and Essex, NY, where nearly the entire slope has failed with the exception of a few locations where intact blocks of slope sediment remain. Utilizing radionuclide dating on sediment from the unfailed slopes, sedimentation rates were determined and used to calculate the approximate failure ages for each of the four landslides studied.,The northernmost failure occurred about 950-1200 cal yr BP, and is the first mass wasting event of this age to be recorded on Lake Champlain.The remaining regions failed about 4500-5200 cal yr BP, and agree with the previously studied landslides within Lake Champlain. In the nearbyWestern Quebec Seismic Zone (WQSZ),clusters of terrestrial landslides have occurred at 1000 and 5000 cal yr BP,and are triggered by large earthquakesThe 5000 cal yr BP event has been attributed to a M 6.4 or greater earthquake within the WQSZ.The landslides observed in Lake Champlain are likely triggered by this same earthquake. Additionally, lake tsunami models show that these simultaneous landslide failures can generate a surface water wave of 30 feet that can impact the shoreline within 3-10 minutes after the earthquake.


Student(s): Samantha Bartnik | Adam Wiest | Carly Mueller
Research Institution: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Lead Student Home Institution: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Lead Student Home State: WI
Faculty Advisor(s): Dr. J. Brian Mahoney
Division: Geosciences
Poster Title: “Establishing an Environmental Baseline for Surface and Groundwater Chemistry in Western Wisconsin: Key to Developing Reasonable and Responsible Regulations”

Abstract:The high demand for silica sand by the petroleum industry has led to a dramatic expansion of silica sand mining in westernWisconsin.That has generated immense public concern about the potential environmental impact to surface water and groundwater.TheWisconsin Department of Natural Resources has proposed water quality regulations on silica sand operations that the industry considers onerous. Documentation of the natural concentration and mobility of trace elements in the environment is a critical first step in the development of environmental safeguards.This investigation will establish a comprehensive environmental baseline documenting background variations of ~25 trace metals in natural waters throughout the region.This study will constrain the concentration and mobility of trace metals that occur naturally in geologic formations. Chemical analysis of ~70 surface water, 50 municipal groundwater, and 50 whole rock, mine tailings, and wasterock storage pile samples will constrain the relationship between the bedrock trace metal content and the composition of natural waters. Preliminary results suggest limited trace metal mobility between geologic formations and surface water and groundwater, and trace metal values (e.g., arsenic, lead, cadmium, zinc) are well below federal drinking water standards. Integrating these data with site-specific analyses of surface water and groundwater at mine sites will permit quantification of potential contaminants generated during the mine process. These data are vital to the development of reasonable and responsible environmental safeguards that will facilitate economic growth and sustainable development of the silica sand industry, while safeguarding water resources and public health in western Wisconsin.

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