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: MTM-HYDRO For a broader look at how mining has changed watersheds throughout West Virginia please visit: MTM-GEOMORPH


This application was built by Matt Ross with support from NSF EAR, NSF GRFP


The top graph shows daily mean rainfall rates across all sites. The middle graph shows daily mean discharge and the bottom graph shows daily mean specific conductance, a proxy measure for salinity and total ion concentration. To change sites click on a new watershed on the map. You can zoom into each graph to look at specific time periods.





1st Order Watersheds


4th Order Watersheds