Fall Semester, 1999
Lecture MWF 11 AM – Cam I I I
Lab F I PM – Cam 219
Lois K. Ongley Assistant Professor

SummaryThe Hydrosphere focuses on water in three regimes of the planet, Earth: the atmosphere, surface waters, and ground water. The inter-relationships of water, earth materials and people are considered.

Book: Environmental Geology, Merritts et al., 1997. This is available in the bookstore, two copies will be on reserve in the library.

Supplies: pencils with eraser, colored pencils, ruler/protractor, calculator, computer discs. Always bring pencils to lab.

Geo Lunch: Tuesdays at noon in Room 10, Commons (everyone is welcome)
Help Sessions: TBA if you want them.
Labs: will meet the first week. See lab handouts for details.
Mid-term Exams: October 11, December 3

Purpose of Course
This course will introduce you to some of the fundamentals of the hydrologic sciences. We will study water; its physical and chemical properties, its role in energy distribution around the Earth, its occurrence, and its contamination. We will consider natural, historical, and emerging issues. You are expected to use the professional literature, historical accounts, the World Wide Web, and newspapers, as well as our textbook. The overall context for this study will be Earth Systems Science, a new paradigm for examining the Earth and its systems.

The first thing you need to know is: The Water Cycle. If your schools did the same as schools in Lewiston do, you learned this when you were about 9 years old. Remember? Draw one.

We'll improve on this somewhat! The point is that everyone knows something about water. When you leave this course in December, I want you to take with you the capability of critically analyzing water-related issues. I think it very important that you begin to doubt much of what you hear and to ask many questions. For instance, do you agree or disagree with this statement: "Living near a SuperFund site is hazardous"? How can you decide? What informational questions do you need to ask? What are the interpretive issues? What are the term definitions? What questions and experiments can you ask or set up to get some data that would help you decide whether it was appropriate or not to purchase a property near a contaminated lot? Are there any social or economic issues you need to consider? what other academic disciplines would you need to draw on to effectively and carefully consider any associated issues? Where or from whom would you seek information?

In addition to the 'normal' content-related goals of this course, I want you to meet nonacademic scientists and others who use water and related information everyday in order to do their jobs. This may include meteorologists (National Weather Service and TV), wastewater engineers, and environmental chemists.

Throughout the centuries scientists, engineers, and philosophers have been actively curious about water. The earliest documented water engineering projects were undertaken about 5,000 to 6,000 years before present. Archeologists have found ancient canals, levees, dams, aqueducts, and wells in the Tigris-Euphrates, Nile, and Hwang Ho River valleys and in Mayan ruins. King Solomon (3000 BP) is ostensibly quoted "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" (Ecclesiastes 1:7). Aristotle thought that when air got cold it turned into water(condensation). Deep well drilling was undertaken in Artois, France in about 1126, which post-dated the drilling of the ancient Chinese wells by several thousand years! It wasn't until the 17th century that Perrault proved a cause/effect relationship between precipitation up-stream and river flow volumes in the Seine River in France.

How can people use and control water? What are the connections between the water cycle and the other Earth systems? How can we integrate all our knowledge to understand aquatic phenomena? Be curious and active. Passive learning is boring.

Almost everything is negotiable, except that all written materials (essays, labs, etc.) must be typewritten (to use an archaic word), spell-checked and proofread. You must proofread because spell checkers don't know which word you mean. For instance, this sentence passed the spell-checker "Thus pauper disgusts the fax about warder contaminates." This should have been "This paper discusses the facts about water contaminants."

Fun of the Course
I'll admit to being biased. Not only as a science fan, but also I think it is fun to learn how to use new tools ( such as computers) or to use familiar tools in new ways. If you don't already know, you should learn how to use Email, word processing, and spreadsheet software this semester. Taking classes at the Academic Computing Center in Pettigrew will be helpful, not only for this course but for the rest of your time at Bates and probably beyond the Bubble. The Help desk (x8222 or Email helpdesk) can tell you when the classes are. I recommend you take classes because I won't be able to help with every problem that comes up.

Many people like Geology as a science because it is a study of the world outside the confines of buildings. That is fun and gives you the opportunity to see and wonder about natural visible phenomena. In my experience, few geologists actually spend the bulk of their time in the field. We will bring information from outdoors in so that we may analyze and think about it. I like Geology and Earth Science because it requires integration of numerous disciplines and knowledge sets to solve the problems that we experience on this planet.

Instructors: Email is the best way to contact me.

Lois Ongley, Assistant Professor – I have held many different positions other than here at Bates. I have worked as an oceanographic geophysical shipboard technician, studied oceanic basalts (M.S. Texas A&M), explored portions of Texas and the mid-continent for oil and gas, and conducted EPA funded research in contaminant transport through soils (Ph.D. Rice University). For the past several summers, I went to Mexico to work with Mexican scientists on an arsenic contaminated aquifer in rural Hidalgo State.

There will be a TA for the class. As I write this, I do not know who it will be.

Class Times
Lectures – MWF 11 AM. Carnegie 111, Labs – F 1-4 PM, Carnegie 219

Exams – 400 of 700 points

100 each – 2 mid-terms (Oct I I and Dec 3) 200 – Final, which is cumulative and may be optional depending on your prorated grade as of Dec 10. If you have earned some variety of A, you need not take the final.

Or substitute a Paper (100 points) for one (only) of the mid-term exams.
Water in the News – Analyze a current event related to this course (a flood, storm, tsunami, landslide, water pollution problem, or drought for example). Determine the impact of the event. Decide if the impact was accurately reported and what the scientific issues are. What scientific questions can you pose that are not (or are poorly) answered in the news article? Would better or additional information prior to the event have helped to alleviate the consequences? Don't forget to identify the news article and provide me with a copy of it.

Water in Sci-Fi – Choose a course related issue that formed the basis of a work of science fiction. Research the topic to decide if the issue was appropriately dealt with in the story.

The paper is due the day of the exam you would otherwise take (i.e. Oct 11 or Dec 3). In the event that the exam date is adjusted, the paper due date is also. Let me know which option you choose by Oct. 1, 1999.

You should clear your topic with me in advance by submitting a brief informal description of your planned discussion no later than 2 weeks prior to the due date of the paper. The length and format of the paper are left to your discretion with the following caveats: 1) the paper must be long enough to fully address the issue, 2) there must be some evidence of library research beyond the 100 level textbook, and 3) make sure that you introduce your topic, discuss it (information, interpretation and synthesis), and come to some conclusions which you state.

Grading is more subjective on papers than on exams. In general, 'A' papers are those that are interesting, that present something I hadn't thought of and that are mechanically sound. 'B' papers are well done to OK;'C' papers are OK to disorganized, and it is possible to get' D' or' F. I use a grading rubric in which the topic selection is worth – 10%, the mechanics (spelling, numbered pages etc.) of the paper – 25%, the introduction – 25%, the discussion (analysis, not just summary) – 25%, the conclusion (supported by your discussion?) – 5% and the references – 10%.

If you wish, you may re-submit your paper to me for re-grading within a week after I return it to you. My commented copy must accompany any re-write. You may get help from me, other students, and/or the Writing Workshop as long as you acknowledge the assistance in writing and the paper reflects your own thoughts and work.

Lab – (230 points) You must pass lab in order to pass the course! To do this, you must attend lab as well as do the work. See the Lab Guidelines and Schedule.

Homework – (up to 50 points)

Participation in Class – (up to 50 points) I appreciate the courtesy when you let me know you will not be able to make it to class. This does not constitute an excused absence though. Excused absences are available from the Dean of Students for specific reasons.

Books and Supplies
The required text is Environmental Geology : an Earth System Science Approach by Merritts et al., 1997 published by WH Freeman. Two copies will be on reserve in the library. This book treats the Earth as a system. We will look at pieces of the system and at the whole. Additional readings are on reserve in Ladd Library.

You will need colored pencils, calculators (+, -, *, /), ruler-protractor, notebooks, pencils, etc. in lab and in class. Always bring pencils to lab. Computer discs may be handy.

There are also many web sites relating to the hydrosphere. In 1998, Geo 106 students compiled a list of sites they liked. This link will take you to my summary of those sites.

GeoLunch – Tuesday Commons room 10 (noon – 1: OOPM) Everyone is welcome to join Geo students and faculty at this time.

Seminars and Guest Speakers – early December – Geology seniors will defend their theses. Each student will give a 15-20 minute talk and answer any questions you have about their work. More later. Last modified: 1/3/99 by LKO

Michaud Farm, Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary
Lewiston, ME
Geo 106: The Hydrosphere


1. To help the Stanton Bird Club assess the water table near the Michaud Farm
2. Continued exposure to Geographical Information Systems
3. Contouring (again!)
4. Analysis of spatially distributed data sets

The Stanton Bird Club (named for Bates professor Johnny Stanton, an avid birder) owns the Thomcrag Bird Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is not open to vehicles (cars, bikes, snowmobiles or ATVs), you may come hike and ski here. The Michaud Farm was recently acquired by the Bird Club and they have asked our assistance in evaluating the water resources they have.

The farm has an interesting history. This was a subsistence farm (you can still see the apple trees). The Michaud family had a rough time of it and finally abandoned the farm, selling everything of value they could move. They sold the topsoil, the granite sills of the barn foundation, and the house. The house is still in use and is somewhere on Wood St. The bird club plans to leave some meadow for habitat and is considering establishing a duck pond in the wetland near the farm.

Last year ENVR 302 assessed the wetland near the farm (report available from Lois if you want to see it), this year we are going to map the water table using four wells and the surface water features.

In the field:

1. Read handout.

2. We will be working near old wells. Please be careful. We will cover them up as we finish with each one.

3. Take careful notes. Locate each well on your map. At each well we will need to measure the land surface elevation, the depth to water in the well, and various water quality parameters (the pH, the uncorrected oxidation-reduction potential (measured in millivolts mV) (sort of a measure of how much oxygen is in the water), the specific conductance (related to TDS)), and the temperature. We will try to bring samples back for further analysis (calcium, sodium, etc).

4. Note any surface water features and draw them in on your map. Do you think the unconfined aquifer is very thick? How do you know? What is under the soil?

5. Back at the lab (You may choose to do this by hand or using the GIS software. The directions below are given for the GIS software.)

6. Get a disc from the lobby desk in Carnegie. Find a PC that has ArcView on it (in Cam 231 for instance).

7. Move the Michaud folder from the disc to the C drive.

8. Start the program ESRI\ Arcview GIS Version 3.X\Arcview GIS Version 3.X (X could be I or 2). When prompted, open an existing project and navigate to cAmichaud\michaud.apr. You will use the data you collected to create contoured maps of the hydraulic head in the unconfined aquifer and the water quality parameters that you measured.

When you open the view, you should see a view of the map I created for the lab. There should be four well locations on the map. Are they in the correct places? If not, you will have to move the dots around. To do that, make the wells theme active (click near the word "wells" and a shadow box will appear around it), select Theme/Start Editing, and click on the solid arrow pointer (2 d icon on the second row). Click on the well you want to move, four solid boxes should appear around the well, if you put the cursor on the well, it should change to a four-headed arrow. Click down on the mouse and move the well to the location you want it in.

Once you are satisfied with the well locations, select Theme/Stop Editing and save the edits. Go back to the view and label the wells to see which one is which. Do you need to rename them? Do so if necessary. In any case, write down on your field map which well is where. If labels only show up for one well, then one of the rows in the well table is selected and you need to unselect it.

Now you will add the data you collected to the GIS. With the wells theme active, click on. The table icon (fifth on over on the top row). A table will appear with four rows and two columns. Each row is the record for a well, each column represents a place for the data. For example, all the pH data will go in one column. The columns are called fields. Select Table/Start Editing. Then click on the ID column, click on the icon with an I and an arrow (the middle one in the second row). Note that icons change depending on whether you are working on a view, a layout, or a table. Now re-name the wells as needed, you may use numbers or names. Stop editing.

Return to the table and start editing again. This time choose Edit/Add field, in the pop-up window type in the name box, <2> in the decimal places box and click OK. Don't type the just the stuff in between. Add fields for each of your water quality parameters too, some of them may not need decimal places. Enter the values you got for each well in the correct location. Stop editing and return to the map view.

9. Now the fun begins. Make some maps of the hydraulic head and the water quality parameters. Contour the hydraulic head to show what the water table looks like. You don't have many data points so this won't be extensive. When you are finished, make a copy of your data. That way you won't lose your work.
Examine the water quality parameters. Are there any variations? Remember that the pH of rainwater is about 5.5, how does this compare with the well and surface waters we measured? Does the specific conductance vary? The temperature? Where did the water in the wells come from?

10. Write a brief report according to the lab guidelines. I will select one or more reports to copy and give to the Stanton Bird Club and may ask one of you to make a brief oral presentation Weds Dec 8 at 7 PM. This report will be due in two weeks. The long deadline is so you can get me if you want GIS help.