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Sedimentology Lab
Main Department of Geology and Planetary Science Website
Pittsburgh Region

Reconstruction of Pittsburgh’s Recent Industrial History Using Lake Sediments - Collaborators include Dan Bain, Brianne Cassidy, Daved Pompeani, Aubrey Hillman, Rob Rossi, and Mike Rosenmeier among others

Pittsburgh’s industrial history has been mapped out through many venues, and this project seeks to add another. It has the potential to provide a record of the area’s industrial development by serving as a catchment for fly ash. Through analyses of core sediments, the concentrations of metals and fly-ash particulates that were released from the high temperature fossil fuel combustion that took place during the city’s steel boom earlier this century should be pinpointed.

Pittsburgh is at the hub of three major converging watersheds, the Lower Allegheny, the Lower Monogahela, and the Upper Ohio. The streams, ponds, lake, and wetlands of Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park fall into four subwatersheds. Phipps Run and Panther Hollow both drain into Panther Hollow Lake, a 96-year-old manmade reservoir, which then eventually contributes to the Monongahela River. Schenley Park has many bridges, bridle and pedestrian trails, and roads throughout. This increasing impervious surface area has increased the magnitude and frequency of the park’s runoff into this small basin. This has also permitted erosion along the already steep topography. The pond is nearly stagnant with high organics and low visibility. It also exhibits prolonged renewal time due to the little flushing the concrete border allows the lake.


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