April 1, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Sense of Place | The Environmental Legacy of Coal Mining in Ohio, April 8

The second talk in the Ohio: Sense of Place Speaker Series is Wednesday, April 8, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Walter Hall 135.

Ohio Sense of Place theme logoDr. Dina Lopez, Professor of Geological Sciences at Ohio University, discusses “The Environmental Legacy of Coal Mining in Ohio.”

This event is open to students, faculty, and the public. Refreshments are served prior to the start of the talk.

Hewett-Fork-300pxAbstract: Exploitation of coal in the Appalachian region started at the end of the 19th century and continued during the 20th century contributing to the economic development and energy needs of the United States, particularly during the two world wars. However, coal in the region is high in sulfides. The exposure of associated rocks and coal to air and water produces sulfuric acid and metals in solution. In areas where there is not enough alkalinity to neutralize the acid, the acidic waters in streams produce many environmental problems affecting organisms and reducing the benefits of these waterways. In areas with enough alkalinity, or in areas were the streams are naturally or artificially remediated, the precipitation of fine-grained minerals in the streams destroys habitats and reduces diversity. In this presentation, we explore the history of coal mining and Ohio and the present state of abandoned mines in the region, as well as the efforts to restore the streams to healthy conditions.

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