2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 212-3
Presentation Time: 2:25 PM-2:40 PM

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SAMPLING METHOD FOR SOILS, SEDIMENT, DEBRIS AND ASH PRODUCED BY DISASTERS

HOEFEN, Todd M.1, PLUMLEE, Geoffrey2, MARTIN, Deborah A.3, SMITH, Kathleen S.4, and HAGEMAN, Philip L.1, (1) U.S. Geological Survey, MS964D Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, thoefen@usgs.gov, (2) U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, MS 973, Denver, CO 80225, (3) U.S. Geological Survey, 3215 Marine Street, Suite E-127, Boulder, CO 80303, (4) U.S. Geol Survey, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, M.S. 964, Denver, CO 80225-0046

Recently, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has taken an active role in helping assess the potential environmental and health characteristics of materials produced by disasters. The USGS has participated in rapid response assessments in which we were responsible for all phases of sample collection, processing, and analysis, including: dust and debris from the 2001 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster, flood sediments from hurricane Katrina in 2005, and ash and soil from the southern California wildfires of 2007 and 2009. For the WTC and Katrina responses and the southern California wildfires of 2007, the field sampling was linked to remotely sensed hyperspectral data collected using either the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) or HyMap platforms; ground truthing, ground calibration and sample collection happened concurrently in the field. The USGS has also analyzed materials collected for us from a number of other environmental events such as volcanic eruptions and the ongoing East Java, Indonesia, mud volcano eruption.

Proper sampling of the materials produced by disasters is key to characterizing parameters of potential environmental and health concern. Building on lessons learned from each response, we have developed rapid response protocols to collect and prepare samples for over 30 different types of analyses to help characterize different physical, mineralogical, inorganic and organic chemical, chemical reactivity, biodurability, bioaccessibility, and microbial properties. These protocols vary from disaster to disaster and take into account many considerations such as: the rapid response timeframe, size of the affected area, field logistics, scientific objectives, analytical tools available, special sample preparation and storage needed for the particular types of materials produced by each disaster, statistical confidence and variability, and the safety of the sample collection team. Built into the sampling methods are the strict sample collection and storage protocols associated with some of the analytical techniques that must be followed in order to maintain the samples’ integrity. This presentation will summarize a general sampling method developed for environmental disaster response, as well as the potential limitations and how they were dealt with in the field.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 212
Geochemistry of Atmospheric Particulates: From Sources to Impacts on the Environment and Health
Oregon Convention Center: D137/138
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 543

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