Major groundwater study taking place on campus

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students at well drilling

A 120-foot-deep research well was recently drilled behind Rebel’s Rest as part of an ongoing groundwater study involving geology professors Steve Shaver, Martin Knoll, and Bran Potter and students from the Department of Forestry and Geology. In the photo, right, students identify rock from underlying layers brought to the surface by the drilling. This is the third well drilled on campus and will greatly enhance the study of ground water quality, direction and quantity of flow, and age of water below the surface. An additional well was drilled nearby on the campus of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School and will also contribute to the project.

Further data on groundwater and rock types is being collected from each well using state-of-the-art geophysical techniques provided by hydrogeologist Jeff Frazier (C’98, Geology). Students in the departmental senior capstone course helped site the well location, were present during its installation, and will use data collected from the well to better understand this resource that provides drinking water for many residents on the Cumberland Plateau. According to hydrology professor Martin Knoll, the installation of the well reflects a continued and growing interest in water issues among students. He reports that this semester alone there are more than 100 students enrolled in six watershed science courses in the Department of Forestry and Geology.

Steve Shaver (right) and students observe drilling of 120-foot-deep research well on campus.

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