MDI Science Café - Spatial Patterns in Well Water Quality: A View from MDI
Sarah Hall, Ph.D. discusses how the iconic geology of the region of Mount Desert Island (MDI) plays a role in what is in our drinking water.
More than 400 million year-old fractured bedrock on Mount Desert Island (MDI) enables underground reservoirs that provide drinking water to nearly 80% of the residents of Hancock County. Formed in ancient ocean basins and volcanic systems, the bedrock was fractured through millions of years of Earth processes, such as plate tectonics, magmatism, glaciation, and ongoing surficial weathering processes.
Dr. Hall, a Professor of Earth Science and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences at College of the Atlantic (COA), and her students have been sampling the well water from over 150 households on MDI since 2016 as part of their involvement in the All About Arsenic project at the MDI Biological Laboratory.
Dr. Hall's local work focuses on community-based projects that naturally connect human systems and society to geologic processes. With colleagues at Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park, Hall and her students have been monitoring multiple MDI watersheds since 2016 in an effort to establish baseline data for important sites, including drinking water sources such as Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond.
With human-induced climate change, human land-use practices, and the widespread use of synthetic chemicals all interacting with the Earth system, monitoring and protecting our precious water resources is of increasing importance.
MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from speakers about trends in science. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion.