Northeast GSA Meeting, Day 2

2013-03-19aWeather can change rapidly in the Mt. Washington area, and yesterday’s beautiful view of the mountain has been obscured by falling snow and fog most of today. The conference was also briefly interrupted for a fire alarm, but I still managed to see a bunch of posters and several talks today.Leah Ronayne et al. presented data on varve thickness variation from various holocene lakes in eastern Canada. Varves are thin alternating beds of coarser and finer sediments laid down annually in lakes, such as the examples below from Mammoth Site in South Dakota. Many of the lakes seem to show changes in thickness related to climatic events, but the results are inconsistent between different lakes.

Mammoth SiteHot Springs, SD19 July 2007

T. M. Hermanson and R. K. Dunn examined glacial deposits near East Barre, Vermont, and found evidence for a possible retreat and the readvance of the continental ice sheet around 14,000 years ago.

Noel Potter, Jr., Kristen Brubaker, and Helen Delano used LIDaR (light detection and ranging) equipment to 18th and 19th century charcoal hearths on South Mountain, Pennsylvania. Charcoal hearths were circular areas where wood was stacked and burned to produce charcoal, which was important to the iron industry. Just on South Mountain they located over 3,000 charcoal hearths, remarkable testimony to how most of the Appalachian Mountains were denuded of trees during the 1800s to support iron production.

Denise Gatlin and Martin Helmke reported on the use of a geoexchange thermal system in use at West Chester University. Geoexchange systems use the ground as a heat exchanger to heat and cool buildings. When a building needs to be cooled, water in a closed system picks up heat and carries it down wells where it’s released into the ground. Initial use at West Chester suggests that on campuses the system works best when it’s used on a mix of residential and academic buildings.

Christopher Main et al. reposted on a drowned forest at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The white cedar forest was drowned by subsidence by around 400-500 years ago, and buried by beach sediments. It was uncovered by storm erosion during 2010.

With the questionable weather, Brett and I are hoping to leave first thing in the morning and begin heading back home.

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