AEG: Sinkholes

Announcement from the BWH Section of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists

Date: Thurs., November 18, 2010 SECTION MEETING
Baltimore MD – Washington DC – Harrisburg PA

PRESENTER: Robert K. Denton Jr., CPG, LRS: Mr. Denton is a professional geologist with GeoConcepts Engineering, and has had a lifelong interest in caves and karst geology. Bob began caving at the age of 14, and continues to visit many “wild” (undeveloped) caves to this day. He has carried out research into cave geology, speleogenesis (the formation of caves and karst hydrologic systems) and cave paleontology, and has specific expertise in stormwater management in karst. He has spoken at numerous karst geology symposia, and is one of the committee members and chief moderator for the “Growing Communities on Karst” Symposium held annually at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV

Too Many Sinkholes…Not Enough Time: The Use of an Integrated Remote Sensing and Ground Survey Approach to Expedite a Large-Scale Karst Assessment

Detailed karst terrain assessments require the identification and survey of surface features such as closed depressions, sinkholes, and cave entrances. Typically, surveys are carried out at sites encompassing several hundred acres or less; however, the traditional methods have proven impractical from a time and cost viewpoint for large-scale surveys in well-developed karst terrain.
We have recently completed a comprehensive karst terrain survey for a
76-mile length of the NiSource Inc. Gas Transmission Pipeline. The goal of the study was to assist the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in developing population estimates for the Madison Cave Isopod, a federally protected endangered species found only in phreatic ground water of the Great Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. The survey was undertaken to document areas where open pathways existed from the surface into the epikarst that could potentially impact the isopod’s habitat.
The survey was conducted utilizing an integrated approach involving the evaluation of 7.5-minute USGS topographic maps, digital elevation models, shaded relief maps, and historic aerial photographs to identify “swarms” of karst features intercepted by a mile-wide “covered lands” concurrent with the pipeline right-ofway. Ground surveys were then undertaken by walking the sections of the covered lands that occurred within karst swarms.
The pipeline survey encompassed 48,640 acres, and was the largest stand-alone karst assessment ever conducted in the state of Virginia. Approximately 270 closed depressions and 31 caves were identified, described and characterized based on their geological and geomorphologic settings. The use of an integrated approach significantly reduced the time and cost of the study. The findings and recommendations of the study have been used by the utility company to develop conservation-based SOPs to minimize impact to the endangered species’ habitat during construction and O&M activities.

DATE: Thurs., November 18, 2010
TIME: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
LOCATION: Pastimes Café at the Hampton Inn
5311 Buckeystown Pike Frederick, MD 21704
COST: AEG members, guests $30.00, students $10.00

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Social Hour and Section Business
7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner
8 p.m. Presentation
9 p.m. Closing Statements
To reserve a seat, please email Pamela Patrick (see above) by Monday, November 15, 2010. If you must cancel, please do so by Monday, November 15, because we must bill no-shows who cancel fewer than 2 days before the event.
I-270 exit 31B, hotel is located on your left.
From Baltimore: I-70 West Exit 54 (Buckeystown Pike/RT.85). Turn right onto Rt. 85 South. Stay in the right lane, go thru 5 stoplights (4th light is entrance to Francis Scott Key Mall), continue straight thru 5th light under the I-270 over pass for 1/10 mile, turn left at hotel parking lot.
From Washington: I-270 North Exit 31b onto Buckeystown Pike/RT.85, First left into the Hampton Inn parking lot.


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