Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Glacial geology, law, and the Love Canal trial

Jodi A. Feld, Robert Emmet Hernan and David M. Mickelson
Glacial geology, law, and the Love Canal trial (in A paradox of power; voices of warning and reason in the geosciences, Charles W. Welby (editor) and Monica E. Gowan (editor))
Reviews in Engineering Geology (1998) 12: 157-164


When scientists and lawyers meet in the litigation arena their backgrounds and perspectives set them apart. Each has different expectations of the process and criteria by which the court searches for truth. In the Love Canal trial, the worlds of the scientist and lawyer came together as data and expert opinions from soil scientists, hydrologists, engineers, and geologists were integrated to develop an understanding of the migration of contaminants away from the site. Issues related to the age and genesis of the fractured clay that forms the walls of the Love Canal landfill were important to the State of New York in proving that the chemical company, which disposed of the chemicals in the canal, was liable for the migration of dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) through the fractures to the surrounding properties. In particular, it was important to know whether the fractures were formed only as the result of recent excavations for sewers and homes in the 1960s and 1970s, or whether the fractures were present at the site when the chemical company was disposing of chemical wastes in the canal in the 1940s and 1950s. It was concluded that these fractures have been present for at least hundreds of years, and probably were formed during the mid-Holocene. The level of confidence in these conclusions differed between the scientist and lawyer, and those differences had to be reconciled through trial preparation.

ISSN: 0080-2018
EISSN: 2169-799X
Coden: GAEGA4
Serial Title: Reviews in Engineering Geology
Serial Volume: 12
Title: Glacial geology, law, and the Love Canal trial
Title: A paradox of power; voices of warning and reason in the geosciences
Author(s): Feld, Jodi A.Hernan, Robert EmmetMickelson, David M.
Author(s): Welby, Charles W.editor
Author(s): Gowan, Monica E.editor
Affiliation: New York State Department of Law, New York, NY, United States
Affiliation: North Carolina State University, Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, Raleigh, NC, United States
Pages: 157-164
Published: 1998
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 0-8137-4112-2
References: 7
Accession Number: 2003-042462
Categories: Environmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., 1 table, sketch map
N43°01'60" - N43°22'60", W79°04'60" - W78°27'00"
Secondary Affiliation: GeoLogic Company, USA, United StatesUniversity of Wisconsin, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200314
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal