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1 Introduction to Environmental Geochemistry GLY 4241 - Lecture 1 Fall, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Introduction to Environmental Geochemistry GLY 4241 - Lecture 1 Fall, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Introduction to Environmental Geochemistry GLY 4241 - Lecture 1 Fall, 2014

2 2 Love Canal The neighborhood was a bit creepy Empty house after empty house All with lawns minimally cared for A lot of peeling paint and rotten awnings A noticeable absence of kids, parked cars, pets, lawn furniture

3 Love Canal Video 3

4 Rachel Carson 1907 - 1964 September27, 1962 - Silent Spring published by Houghton Mifflin Set a series of events in motion 4 Audio file from Birdnote

5 Carson’s Later Life January, 1963 Albert Schweitzer award from Animal Welfare Institute April 3, 1963 CBS Reports airs “The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson.” June 3, 1963 Carson testifies on the misuse of pesticides; US Senate Subcommittee of Government Operations. 88th Cong. 1st.sess. June 6, 1963Carson testifies before the US Senate Committee on Commerce December, 1963 Awarded the National Audubon Society Medal. Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters April 14, 1964 Carson dies in Silver Spring, Md. at age 56 5

6 Carson’s Legacy Prohibition of the agrichemicals aldrin, dieldrin and heptachlor Passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – signed into law January 1, 1970 Establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – December 2, 1970 Banning of DDT in the United States in 1972 and the end of its use by much of the world's agriculture within the half-century. Presidential Medal of Freedom (Jimmy Carter awarded it to her posthumously in 1980) The post office in her hometown of Springdale was named in her honor in 2008 6

7 7 London Smog Left, Jacqueline Morreau, Impression of Killer Fog, Embankment 1952 Right in 2001

8 8 Earth Day The first nationwide Earth Day was held April 22, 1970 Celebrated with marches, speeches, planting and cleanup projects, it raises awareness of environmental issues, promotes conservation efforts, and encourages respect for the Earth The stamp was issued in 1999

9 Backlash A considerable backlash to the environmental movement exists Examples:  Battles in Alaska since statehood (1959)  Water for the Everglades 9

10 Role of Scientists Scientists play many roles in the environmental problems faced by society  Provide data to help assess changes caused by man, by nature, and a combination of the two  May be involved in environmental cleanup  Help to formulate government policy regarding the environment 10

11 11 V.M. Goldschmidt Swiss-born Norwegian mineralogist and petrologist who laid the foundation of inorganic crystal chemistry and founded modern geochemistry Born 1888, died 1947

12 12 High- Temperature Geochemistry Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Italy

13 13 Low-Temperature Geochemistry Animas River, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

14 Natural and Anthropogenic Problems Environmental geochemists often study problems that may combine natural pollution, such as volcanic emissions, with anthropogenic pollution, such as weathering reactions involving acidic mine waste The volcanic processes are high-temperature, while the mine discharge and subsequent weathering are low- temperature Environmental geochemists are not concerned with the study of the distribution and amounts of the chemical elements in minerals, ores, rocks, soil, water, and the atmosphere, from an economic or exploration standpoint. 14

15 Interactions with Living Organisms Much of environmental geochemistry involves interactions with living organisms, which is a biogeochemical input to the system Thus, the ability to work across several disciplines is important Most especially, the ability to understand another discipline well enough to carry on a conversation with an expert in the field, to find relevant literature in the discipline and read it with sufficient comprehension to understand the significance for one's only area of study, is necessary 15

16 Environmental Chemistry Manahan (1990) defines this as, "science of chemical phenomena in the environment.“ One essential difference between an environmental chemist and an environmental geochemist is the geochemist's knowledge of natural phenomena, gained via a good knowledge of geology in its broadest science 16

17 17 Detergents This is the Dunn “blob”, August 17, 2004 “Officials surmised the foam resulted from heavy rains, which caused Stoney Run Swamp to swell and spill over the Hannah’s Pond dam just to the north of Jonesboro Road. The churning rapids created by the fast- moving water turned soap runoff into suds.” Similar foaming events used to happen at sewage treatment plants

18 Foam Video Foam in a ditch 18

19 19 Eutrophication Upper, Water hyacinth in Lake Dianchi, China Lower, scum in a lake with high nutrient levels from runoff

20 New Chemical Species It has been estimated that 20,000 new chemical compounds are produced and introduced into the environment every year. While a few of these, such as new pharmaceutical products, are extensively tested, most are tested very little or not at all Even prescription drugs can have serious unforeseen consequences (e.g., thalidomide, many cases of drug interactions, etc.) 20

21 “Ecologically Illiterate Chemist” Manahan (1990) said, "The ecologically illiterate chemist can be a very dangerous species. Chemists must be aware of the possible effects their products and processes might have upon the environment. Furthermore, any serious attempt to solve environmental problems must involve the extensive use of chemicals and chemical processes." 21

22 Computer Designed Chemicals “ The chemical structure of these substances is then optimized by computer-assisted drug design and combinatorial chemistry. This technique permits the production of a large number of variants of the substances within a short time. Previously, a chemist could produce 50 to 100 variants of a substance per year. Now, thanks to new techniques, scientists can produce around 50,000 in the same time.” (Roche Canada, 2005) 22

23 23 Cyanobacteria

24 Early Geologic Science Our early concern with the earth was strictly with exploitation of the environment.  How could we find gold, silver, and other precious metals? Later, as the ability to use more common metals developed, we began to use large quantities of common metals like iron and aluminum. The only objective of man's early efforts in this area was to find, extract, and use these metals 24

25 Man’s Role Horne (1978, p. 1), while discussing man, stated "He did not discover his environment until the unregulated growth of his numbers threatened to exhaust its resources. He did not appreciate the delicate ecological processes of which he is a part until he had grossly damaged many of them. He has been like a spoiled child, pampered and nurtured in a comfortable home called Earth. He did not care, he did not even realize that the rent was not free, that bills must be paid, the roof kept in repair, the drains not clogged. But now at last he has grown up. The house has become overcrowded. The wear and tear and neglect of its fabric has become intolerable. He realizes now that repairs must be made, care taken, that he must become a husband in the older and more responsible sense of that term." 25

26 26 Ozone Hole Development of ozone hole over Antarctica in September

27 27 Acid Rain Above, forest damaged by acidic precipitation Right, statue damaged by acid rain

28 28 Leadville, Colorado Leadville, Colo., is the highest municipality in the country This impoverished town is also one of the most polluted It's located entirely inside the 16.5 square- mile California Gulch Superfund site

29 29 Map of Clark Fork Superfund Site

30 30 Clark Fork Active erosion and metal salts deposition along the streambank of the Clark Fork River

31 31 Summitville, Colorado Superfund Site Map

32 Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Oxygenated gasoline is used in many areas to help cut pollutants emitted into the atmosphere during the winter months in many areas MTBE is introduced into the gasoline to reduce vehicle emissions of carbon monoxide As temperatures decrease, fuel combustion is less efficient and the amount of CO released rises sharply MTBE is added to increase the burning efficiency and cut CO emissions In the extreme cold of a central Alaskan winter, where temperatures below -50 ̊ F are routine, this additive does not work properly 32

33 33 Asbestos Crocidolite, one of the most carcinogenic forms of asbestos

34 34 Danger! Silica Present Beach, Virgin Islands

35 Pavement Sealer Pavement sealcoat (also called sealant) is a black liquid that is sprayed or painted on asphalt parking lots and driveways Most sealcoat products have a coal-tar-pitch or asphalt base Coal-tar-based sealcoat is commonly used in the central, southern, and eastern U.S., and asphalt- based sealcoat is commonly used in the western U.S. 35

36 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Coal-tar pitch can contain 50 percent or more PAHs by weight and is known to cause cancer in humans Coal-tar-based sealcoat products typically are 20 to 35 percent coal-tar pitch Product analyses indicate that coal-tar-based sealcoat products contain about 1,000 times more PAHs than sealcoat products with an asphalt base 36

37 Environmental Rankings A rating of twenty-one industrialized nations by the New Economic Foundation, a London-based think tank, rated the United States last in terms of environmental performance in 1993 The Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy ranked the U.S. 45 th out of 146 countries in 2005 By 2010, the ranking decreased to 61 st out of 163 ranked countries in 2010 This improved to 33 rd out of 178 countries in 2014 37

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