|2012 GSA Annual Meeting in Charlotte|
|Paper No. 194-6|
|Presentation Time: 3:05 PM-3:20 PM|
GEOCHEMISTRY OF ATMOSPHERIC PARTICULATES IN THE VICINITY OF MOUNTAINTOP COAL MINES, WEST VIRGINIA, USA
KOLKER, Allan1, ENGLE, Mark A.2, OREM, William H.1, CROSBY, Lynn M.1, TATU, Calin A.1, GEBOY, Nicholas J.1, HENDRYX, Michael3, MCCAWLEY, Michael3, VARONKA, Matthew S.1, and ESCH, Laura3, (1) U.S. Geological Survey, 956 National Center, Reston, VA 20192, firstname.lastname@example.org, (2) U.S. Geological Survey, El Paso, TX 79968, (3) West Virginia University, School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV 26506|
Mountaintop mining (MTM) is a widely used method of coal extraction in the U.S. Appalachian region. The method exposes coal for production by explosion and removal of coal overburden, primarily sandstones. In collaboration with West Virginia University (WVU), the USGS is conducting an interdisciplinary study of potential environmental and human health impacts associated with MTM. Recent epidemiologic work conducted by WVU suggests disparities in the rates of some diseases between MTM and non-MTM areas .
In the present study we report initial results on air quality impacts of MTM as part of the larger USGS-WVU study of air- and water-sourced contaminants from MTM activity. For this portion of the study, sized atmospheric particulate matter (PM) and geochemical window wipes were collected in several MTM areas and in control sites having underground coal mining (internal controls) or no mining whatsoever (external controls). Results are reported here for three separate one week intervals in 2011 with additional data collection ongoing.
Trace element results for PM and window wipes show that elements having known anthropogenic sources (V, Ni, Cu, As, and Cd) are comparable or lower in concentration for MTM areas vs. non-MTM sites suggesting little local contribution by MTM. However, "crustal” elements (Al, Ti, Fe, Ga, Rb, and rare earths) are similar to or higher in concentration in the MTM areas vs. controls. The results are consistent with intermittent influx of locally derived crustal material and corresponding dilution of elements having more distal sources. Based on this analysis, residents of MTM communities are periodically exposed to higher levels of locally derived siliceous lithogenic material compared to controls. These results are being integrated with water quality data, expanded epidemiological mapping, and toxicologic studies to assess the overall impact, if any, of environmental factors in MTM areas on health outcomes.
 Hendryx et al. (2011) J Community Heath DOI: 10.1007/s10900-011-9448-5.
2012 GSA Annual Meeting in Charlotte
General Information for this Meeting
|Session No. 194|
Frontiers in Coal Science: From Basic Research to Applied Technology
Charlotte Convention Center: 201AB
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 6 November 2012
Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 7, p. 465
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