Environmental and “Human” Intersection with Geology
2015. "Environmental and “Human” Intersection with Geology", Tripping from the Fall Line: Field Excursions for the GSA Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 2015, David K. Brezinski, Jeffrey P. Halka, Richard A. Ortt, Jr.
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The Mid-Atlantic region hosts some of the most mature karst landscapes in North America, developed in highly deformed rocks within the Piedmont and Valley and Ridge physiographic provinces. This guide describes a three-day excursion to examine karst development in various carbonate rocks by following Interstate 70 west from Baltimore across the eastern Piedmont, across the Frederick Valley, and into the Great Valley proper. The localities were chosen in order to examine the structural and lithological controls on karst feature development in marble, limestone, and dolostone rocks with an eye toward the implications for ancient landscape evolution, as well as for modern subsidence hazards. A number of caves will be visited, including two commercial caverns that reveal strikingly different histories of speleogenesis. Links between karst landscape development, hydrologic dynamics, and water resource sustainability will also be emphasized through visits to locally important springs. Recent work on quantitative dye tracing, spring water geochemistry, and groundwater modeling reveal the interaction between shallow and deep circulation of groundwater that has given rise to the modern karst landscape. Geologic and karst feature mapping conducted with the benefit of lidar data help reveal the strong bedrock structural controls on karst feature development, and illustrate the utility of geologic maps for assessment of sinkhole susceptibility.
Figures & Tables
Prepared in conjunction with the 2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, this volume contains guides to field trips in this historic region. Emanating from the Fall Line city of Baltimore, these trips reflect the diversity of geological features in the mid-Atlantic region including the Piedmont, Appalachian Mountains, and Coastal Plain, and the importance of geology on the development and construction of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Trips to the core of the Appalachian orogen concern themselves with the tectonic and metamorphic history, early Paleozoic carbonate platform development, Devonian paleoclimate, and coal-mine fire hazards. Excursions to the Coastal Plain examine various aspects of Cenozoic stratigraphy, structure, barrier island formation, and wetland and ecosystem development. A variety of trips also explore urban geology, including building and monument stones of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., urban hydrogeology, and Civil War battlefield geology.