2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 37-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


KUPFER, Kate L.1, ZDANOWSKI, Sarah E.1 and MACLEAN, John S.2, (1)Department of Physical Science, Southern Utah University, 351 W University Blvd, Cedar City, UT 84720, (2)Geology, Southern Utah University, SC 309, 351 West University Boulevard, Cedar City, UT 84720, stargazer@infowest.com

The purpose of this project was to set up a Citizen Science program for Cedar Breaks National Monument located near Cedar City, Utah. Within this program are several projects, but three specifically involve monitoring physical science resources, including changes in air quality, sinkhole development, and water quality.

The air quality project will help to determine the effects of continued growth of surrounding populated areas. As the Southwest continues to experience a population boom, air pollution is a big concern for Cedar Breaks National Monument and several other nearby National Park units. There are four air quality monitoring sites, two within the Monument and two at popular tourist sites close by. Visitors who participate will take pictures from predetermined locations to record visibility as a proxy.

Visitors will monitor sinkholes in areas near the Monument to determine how they are related to the hydrogeology, geology, and infrastructure in the area. There will be four monitoring sites adjacent to the south entrance to the park. Two of the sinkholes are rather large, but not close to any structures. One is a relatively new sinkhole which, if it grows, will undercut the road into Cedar Breaks National Monument. The fourth is another large sinkhole near the entrance to the park. If this sinkhole gets larger, it will undercut the road and hamper traffic into the park.

Water quality monitoring will establish baseline data and provide information for city planners in nearby Cedar City, Utah. Within this project are several different tasks at each of the four sites. At one site visitors will look at damages done to the stream banks by visitors leaving established trails as well as the water depth in the nearby pond. At this and another site visitors will take water quality data, such as pH and discharge rates. At another site visitors will take discharge measurements and survey the stream.

The data will be publicly available through a data management system, and the data will also be combined with other relevant citizen science programs in the region. The ultimate goal of this program is to provide Cedar Breaks National Monument with a sustainable set of simple, useful data collection activities that can be completed by the average visitor and can be used for improved resource management and preservation, for today and the future.