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Introductory Geology 101/103

Fall 2012

team ________________________ names _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________


The objectives of this lab are to: Understand the relationship between sedimentary rock types and groundwater processes. Construct and understand water-table topography. Determine the rate and direction of groundwater movement. Evaluate the hazards and risks associated with groundwater contamination.


Watch the video clip summary of the terrifying tragedy of Love Canal, Love Canal parts and 2 (Modern Marvels Engineering Disasters). Part 1: and Part 2 After watching the video clip, discuss the landmark contamination case with your teammates and answer the questions below. You may also refer to the website from the pre-lab to help you with your investigation: History: Love Canal: the Start of a Movement: 1. How did the contamination get into the soil and groundwater at Love Canal?

2. What types of chemicals were in the soils?

3. What happened to the people who lived in or went to school at Love Canal? 4. What was the response of the government when they learned of the contamination and its

effects on the residents of Love Canal?

5. What is the relationship between Love Canal and Superfund?

6. What is the relationship between the residents of Black Creek Village and those of Love


7. Is the situation at Love Canal unique? What can be done to prevent this from happening

EVER again?


Reread sections 12.1 and 12.2, pages 280-283, in your lab manual. You will be conducting the experiments in Exercise 12.1 on pages 282-283. Observation Grain Size Sorting Grain Shape Porosity Permeability Container A Container B Container C Container D

1. Before the experiments, in the table above, describe each material using qualitative observations (i.e. large or small grains; well or poorly sorted; rounded or angular; low-medhigh porosity). Then, predict which material will have the greatest permeability. Which will be the least permeable? Why did you make these predictions?

2. How did the results compare to your predictions? Was there anything surprising in the results?


Rocks: 13, 16, 19, 20, and 23

What types of earth materials are most likely to be contaminated by groundwater? Which ones are more likely to hold water and which materials are more likely to cause water to be repelled? The following section explores the different types of sediments and rocks that are affected by groundwater processes. An aquifer is an underground layer of water bearing rock, which transmits water to wells and springs. Sediments and sedimentary rocks play a critical role in the groundwater story. For sedimentary rocks to be good aquifers they must have high porosity and permeability. Porosity is a measure of the void spaces in a material. Permeability is the measure of the ability of a material to transmit fluids. Many sedimentary rocks consist of grains such as sand, silt or clay. Aquifers: When sediment is deposited and lithified there may be spaces or pores between the grains. For example, sandstone is a sedimentary rock that often makes an excellent aquifer. Limestone: While limestones do not have high porosity initially, they dissolve in slightly acidic groundwater so they also can make good aquifers. Aquitards: Some sediment, such as clay, does not have much pore space when lithified to form shale. Shale is often an aquitard. 3. Test each rock specimen with HCl. Which specimen(s) reacted? _____________________________________________________________________ 4. What is the significance in relation to groundwater systems of each of the rocks above? In other words, how would an aquifer be affected if the bedrock consisted of #13 (sandstone)?
Specimen Number 13

Rock/Sediment Name

Significance to groundwater systems



23 Example: Uncemented sand is typically porous and permeable therefore it would make a good aquifer.








To enhance your understanding of groundwater, you will observe the movement of water through different types of sediments in a groundwater model. First, you will need to make sure the models are saturated with water. Check with your instructor or TA to make sure the model is ready. Second, you will place dye in one of the wells and watch how the dye moves through the model. The porosity and permeability of the different sediments will affect the direction and rate of groundwater movement. a. b. c. d. Fill the plastic water bottles, insert stopper assembly, and invert it at the ends of the groundwater model tank. Allow the water to run through the groundwater model. Add dye to one of the monitoring wells. DO NOT PLACE DYE INTO THE SMALL POND!! BE SURE TO ONLY PLACE DYE INTO ONE OF THE WELLS! Observe the direction and rate of groundwater movement as the dye flows through the aquifer sediments. You can time the rate of groundwater movement either using stopwatches, your watch, or your cell phone. What direction does the groundwater flow - toward the lake or toward the river? ________________ Why?

e. f.


Use the box as the edge of the model and make a sketch of the sediment layers in the groundwater model. Label the types of sediment and location of the river and wells. Using the syringe, withdraw water from one of the wells, simulating pumping. Observe what happens to the groundwater motion. Draw arrows on your sketch to illustrate. What happened to the direction of the groundwater flow when you began pumping from the well? ________________________________________________________________________ What happened to the direction of the groundwater flow when you STOPPED pumping? Why did this happen? ________________________________________________________________________ Suppose a company that manufactures solvents dumped nasty chemicals into the ground in the middle of the night. What would happen to the farmers well water next door? ________________________________________________________________________






Section A: Rate of Contaminant Transport In 1985, Voldemort Industries paint manufacturing company dumped chemical wastes (containing chromium, lead, and zinc compounds) from their paint pigment operations in a landfill near River Hogwarts (Figure 1). In response to concerns expressed by nearby residents, Voldemort Industries conducted an investigation of the landfill in 2010 in which they installed the groundwater monitoring wells T-1, T-2, T-3, and T-4. The 2010 water sample results from these wells are listed below. Well Number T-1 T-2 T-3 T-4 Well at Hagrids Residence Depth to water table (m) 11 14 17 18 6 Contaminants Present None None Pb, Cr, Zn None None

Using the depth to water table for each well, draw the water table with a dashed line on Figure 1. Measure the depth to water from the top of the well - not from the ground surface Show the direction of groundwater flow with arrows on Figure 1. In 2010, the water sample from T-2 was not contaminated. When T-2 was sampled in 2011 it showed significant levels of lead, chromium, and zinc. Sketch the approximate boundaries of the contaminant plume (area of contaminated groundwater) on Figure 1.

How many years, since the chemical waste was dumped in the landfill, has it taken for the contaminant plume to reach well T-2? Show your work! (HINT: when did contamination BEGIN?) ______ years


Approximately how fast is this plume moving (in m/year)? Measure the horizontal distance from the middle of the landfill and well. Show your work!

_______ m/yr

In what year will the contamination reach the well at Hagrids residence? Show your work!


___________ Why were no contaminants found in well T-4? ______________________________________________________________________ Is the Dumbledore Formation likely to act as an AQUIFER or AQUITARD? YES NO

12. 13. 14.

Will the plume contaminate the well water at Hogwarts?

Why or why not? ______________________________________________________________________

Figure 1: Voldemort Industries Landfill Cross-section

0 50
Sand and Gravel

100 Horizontal Scale 200 meters


Vertical Scale



Landfill T-4 T-3






Hagrids Residence


River Hogwarts

Humphreys Dumbledore Formation Dumbledore Formation Shale

Humphreys Shale Hermione Formation Hermione Formation

Weasley Formation

Section B: Exercise 12.7 Someone is Polluting My Water!

In this scenario, homeowners noticed a strange smell in whenever they took showers, washed dishes, or ran the tap for drinking water. Many complained of the water smelling and tasting suspiciously of gasoline! Your Environmental Assessment company has been hired to determine if there has been a gas leak from one of the nearby gas stations and if so, which one is causing the contamination of the homeowners drinking water. The background information in Section 12.4, 12.5, pages 288-290 and questions for this scenario are found in Exercise 12.7 on pages 294-295 in your lab manual. Be sure to READ the exercise background before answering the questions! You and your teammates will need to determine what you need to know in order to find a solution for these homeowners. What information do you need to solve this case?

a. Does either gas station have a leakage problem? Explain ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

b. Which homes or neighborhoods will be affected next? Indicate on the map below (Figure 12.13) where the gasoline contamination will go. c. Gasoline concentrations of 50 ppm and higher are considered dangerous. Circle those locations on Figure 12.13 below and color code the location (indicate your color here_________). d. Are there other locations on this map that are likely to be in danger of contamination in the future? e. How do you know? ______________________________________________________________________


If so, indicate those location on your map (Figure 12.13, page 295) with a different color note that color here ___________

30 60 50 70 80 10 90 20 30

10 20
Contour Interval: 10 ppm


10 20

Figure 12.13