BAR HARBOR, MAINE — In a January 13 Science Café entitled “Spatial patterns in well water quality: A view from MDI,” Sarah Hall, Ph.D., will talk about how the iconic geology of this region of Maine plays a role in what’s in our drinking water. The >400 million year old fractured bedrock 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.
Hall, who is 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), has also been involved with the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) at the MDI Biological Laboratory. While this larger project aims to investigate the quality of private well water in both Maine and New Hampshire, Hall has focused her efforts on the MDI community in order to assess local spatial patterns of groundwater chemistry. Since 2016, COA students have assisted Hall in sampling the well water of over 150 households on MDI. In her Science Café presentation, Hall will provide a general overview of some of the local patterns of groundwater constituents. Over the next year, Hall and scientists at the MDI Biological Laboratory will be conducting a seasonality study of local well water asking the question: does the water quality of an individual well change with the seasons?
Dr. Hall joined the faculty of COA in the Fall of 2012 and teaches courses in the Earth Sciences. Further afield, Dr. Hall’s recent research has centered on an exploration of Andean glaciation and active tectonics related to societally relevant topics such as climate change and geohazards. Much of 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.
The café, which is the inaugural event of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s 2020 Science Café season, will be held at 5 p.m. in the Kinne Library on the MDIBL campus, 159 Old Bar Harbor Road, Salisbury Cove, Maine.
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.
The winter series will be held on the second Monday of the month through May, when the bimonthly summer series will begin. For more information, please visit mdibl.org/events/ or call 207-288-3147.
About the MDI Biological Laboratory
We aim to improve human health and healthspan by identifying the basic mechanisms of tissue repair, aging and regeneration, translating our discoveries for the benefit of society and developing the next generation of scientific leaders. For more information, please visit mdibl.org.