Mountaintop Mining has dramatically changed the physical and ecological landscape
of Central Appalachia. Mining activities flatten steep Appalachian mountains, fill valleys with
shattered bedrock and coal residues, and turn 2 meter deep soils into 100 meter deep spoils. Here
we show how these physical impacts to the landscape alter the hydrology and biogeochemistry
of two watersheds that have been heavily mined.
The study follows a paired watershed approach, where we have two reference watershed that are unmined paired with two
watersheds that have been mined. The small catchments (~1km2) are Rich's Branch (RB, reference) and
Laurel Branch (LB, 99% mined), while the large ones (35 km2) are Left Fork (LF, reference) and Mud River (MR, 46% mined).
To interact with the app click on a catchment and then select tabs.
For a deeper exploration of changes to hydrology please visit:
For a broader look at how mining has changed watersheds throughout West Virginia please visit:
This application was built by Matt Ross with support from NSF EAR, NSF GRFP