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GEOL 2390 Study Guide - Landsat Program, Soil Type, Parent Material

Geological Sciences
Course Code
GEOL 2390
William M.Last

of 4
Introduction to Environmental Geology
terminological inexactitude of "environmental geology"
basic consensus
application of earth sciences to overall benefit of humans and biosphere; integrated
application of many branches of earth science
coordinated physical/chemical/geological study
During the term
pragmatic viewpoint:
corrective earth science(treating problems after human activity has creat-
ed them)
preventative earth sciences (anticipation of problems)
1. statement/id of problem
2. proposed solution
geoscience excellent for purpose: basically an historic science and predictive science
old as awareness of physical world --- primitives much better EG than we are!
Romans: extensive sewers, aqueducts, control structures: basic geoengineering ef-
why would you do more (much more) research on bedrock geology instead of surface
the only reason this was done was oil!
25% compared to 90%!!!
Mission of EG
develop information about earth for public purposes
must be systematic
focus on some problem(s)….
society slow to accept earth science/geologic conservation
some reasons:
1. man is superior attitude - we are meant to exploit
2. nature is self healing - nature will renew
3. nature is cyclic - inevitability of trends
4. we live in the present - now generation
5. limitless resources - land resources plentiful and even if we do exhaust - always
can find new sources OR science is soooo intelligent it will get us out of any
several often-referred to fundamental concepts
1. closed system - everything effects everything else
2. earth (currently) only habitat and resources
3. uniformitarianism rules! - rates can change
4. always has been/will be natural hazards - risk to human population is increasing -
we are also moving into more hazardous areas
5. planning - both $ and aesthetics
6. cumulative effects - threshold concepts
7. geologic factor - THE most important component
8. complexity - normal in natural systems
9. feedback
Great Plains Groundwater Usage
large volume, cheap resource
lowered water table
collapse, subsidence
deeper drilling required
increased cost of pumping
increased energy cost
deeper water is of lesser quality and more saline
salinization of soil
crops and agriculture/ranching effected
exponential growth in finite environment
growth by division 1 =>2, 2 =>4
assume division time = 1 minute
1 bacterium in bottle at 11 pm
bottle is full at 12 noon
But at 11:58 --> massive effort to find more resource
11:59: discover 3 new empty bottles
3x original resources
How much longer will this extend their time?!
2 minutes
Summary Pop Growth
9 billion by 2050
slow growth until mid 19th century
doubling times shorter
birth rate > death rate
people more mobile
new perils because of increasing population
NRG and mineral resources finite
water supplies already exhausted in many places
croplands replaced by urban
already exceeding carrying capacity (region no longer has ability to sustain its pop-
ulation at basic, healthy, moderately comfortable standard of living)
waste must be put somewhere
anthropogenic global change, impacting climate and hydrology etc.
Much debate - high vs. low
1. have not already exceeded threshold (can sustain 8-15 billion)
2. humans can/will slow growth rate voluntarily
Assume ALL possible sources of data examined
data sources commonly used in ~order of cost
list shows lowest to highest cost
Topographic Map
know how to locate a position on a topopmap from western canada (handout: low
LSD/Section/Twp/Range system)
basis for all EG
base other maps/visualization
surface deposits & properties
bedrock properties (dip, strike, composition etc.)
Geologic Maps
bedrock map - bedrock surface - structural relationships, origin of material, proper-
ties, spatial relationships
surgical map - unconsolidated deposits - what can we get? - floodplain analysis,
landslides/slumping, water resources and hydrologic hazards, construction re-
straints, depth to bedrock, nature of sediment
Key to Remember - INTERPRETATION (unlike topi, soils, etc.)
NA: 95% covered by surgical sediments only 25% detailed surface maps. Why??
people only cared about finding resources (oil, gas, metals, etc.)
Specialty Geotechnical Maps
combo bedrock and surgical map and engineering or other data
often detailed local areas only
hazardous zones
swelling sois
Soils Maps
Soil type => parent material (+ climate)
surprisingly useful for SOME purposes
drainage conditions
depth of bedrock -- very useful for construction purposes
permeability (porosity)