Southeastern Section - 57th Annual Meeting (10–11 April 2008)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


FARLEY, Martin B., Geology & Geography, University of North Carolina--Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372, PHILLIPS, P. Lee, Geology and Geography, Univ of North Carolina--Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372 and MCBROOM, Rachel, Biology, University of North Carolina--Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372,

We have developed a set of exercises for students to investigate the nature of the Cretaceous aquifer system of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. These exercises use figures modified from the U.S. Geological Suvey Hydrologic Atlas of the United States. These figures were posted on the U.S.G.S. website as vector files. We modified them by changing figure sizes and omitting information (e.g., groundwater flowpaths) that the students can then interpret themselves.

The set comprises exercises on 1) stratigraphy of regional Cretaceous-Cenozoic aquifers along strike from North Carolina to New Jersey; 2) recognition of subtle tectonic effects of the Cape Fear Arch, Albemarle Embayment, and Norfolk High; 3) flowpaths of groundwater in Upper Cretaceous aquifers before and after human withdrawals; and 4) evaluation of negative impacts of withdrawals, principally declining hydraulic head and saltwater intrusion. Students can then compare their interpretation in the area of biggest impact to the conclusions reached by the N.C. Department of Environmental Resources.

We introduce basic concepts such as potentiometric surfaces with a separate exercise based on the local area surrounding UNC-Pembroke. The set of exercises we present here allow students to investigate the nature of Upper Cretaceous aquifers at a regional scale and see deleterious effects such as saltwater intrusion that have not occurred in our area (yet).

We have used these exercises with UNC-Pembroke students and in workshops with local middle and high school teachers. The material has also been distributed to the teachers who can use this material in their classrooms. This exercise has been contributed to the Starting Points–Teaching Entry Level Geoscience Collection hosted by the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College.