2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 21
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Deforestation and Rapid Erosion along Penns Creek: Shamokin, PA

ELICK, Jennifer M. and COLE, Andrew, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Susquehanna University, 514 University Avenue, Fisher Science, Rm 27, Selinsgrove, PA 17870, cole@susqu.edu

Removal of vegetation along Penn's Creek in Shamokin Dam, PA (at the intersection of Penn's Drive and Mill Road) has resulted in rapid erosion of the cut bank, closure of a local road, and damage to utility lines located along the road. Though a local airport removed the vegetation in November, measurements of erosion began in early February, when heavy precipitation events could effectively alter the landscape. Spikes driven into the side of the bank have been used to measure the amount of sediment removal and deposition while the slope angle was measured.

The eroding sediment consists of a mixture of soil (Holly-Wheeling-Basher Association) composed of Pleistocene age glacial outwash and fine-grained alluvial sediments that overlie the Devonian age limestone from the Onondaga and Old Port Formations. Nearly 11 cm of sediment along the south facing bank of the creek has been eroded since February. Erosion rates decrease higher on the slope where transport of sediment has buried the spikes. The slope angle has changed from nearly 56° to 52° and 36° to 31° since measurements were first collected.

New, high light intensity forms of rapid growing, disturbance-linked vegetation cover the bank (poison ivy, poison oak, and Japanese knot weed) while the stream environment has also been influenced. Increased light levels and a lack of cover are influencing the organisms both along and in the stream. The loss of the vegetation along the creek was due to poor land planning and communication with government agencies and could have been handled in a more proper manner with less environmental impact.