Environ. Hydrology Teaching & Research Site

A field teaching site, referred to as the Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics Teaching and Research Site, is being developed at the UT Plant Science Farm, located about 3 km south of the main campus.

Participants in site development include the Dept. of Geological Sciences, Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Science (Jaehoon Lee), Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Knoxville Experiment Station. So far, 8 wells from 2-12 m deep, have been constructed in alluvial sand and silt adjacent to the Tennessee River. An additional 3 wells (up to 30 m deep) have been installed in the underlying fractured shale and limestone bedrock, and a permanent soil moisture/soil tension monitoring nest has been installed in the shallow soil horizons.

The site is used for upper level and graduate hydrogeology field/lab courses (Geol 486 and 586) and for a variety of courses in engineering. These exercises include describing fractures in core from the boreholes and then carrying out pumping and slug tests in the wells to determine which fractures are hydraulically-conductive. In spring 1999, steel drums, scrap non-ferrous metals, and other materials were buried in shallow pits across the site, to act as a simulated waste disposal site.

Students enrolled in a 2-week geophysics field course (a module within Geol. 440) used a variety of electrical, magnetic, ground-penetrating-radar, and seismic methods to identify the locations and contents of the waste pits and to define the stratigraphy of the site. The site is initially intended for teaching field courses, but the facilities are also well-suited to carrying out flow and tracer experiments for research purposes.

For more information, contact Larry McKay at (865) 974-0821 or lmckay@utk.edu.

Larry McKay
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