Thursday, June 2, 2016

Spring Sampling Season Begins!

Last week I went on a fieldwork tour up around Valley Creek/Valley Forge area to sample some urban springs to compare their water chemistry with the springs I'm studying up near State College, which are more rural. A few of the springs were in handy little spring houses.

Valley Forge spring house
Spring house sampling near Valley Creek/Valley Forge
Spring water sampling in a spring house
Fiddling with the filter assembly in one of the spring houses

A few of the springs were down along stream banks, which required a little bit of trudging. This was also an opportunity for us to introduce Rachel (one of our undergrad researchers) to the type of fieldwork we'll be doing all summer.

Spring water sampling along a stream
Collecting water samples in one of the more off-the-path spring locations

 The springs that weren't conveniently enclosed or dammed up in spring houses were often a bit more difficult to measure, as they tended to be little spring seeps along the stream banks. This got a bit tricky with some of our multiprobes.

Spring water pH and temperature measurement
Dr. Toran attempts to find a deep enough pool for the pH logger

Eventually the sun gave way to some storm clouds that decided to pass through the area. That didn't stop us, though!

Spring sampling in the rain
Rain never hurt anyone, although the lightning may have played havoc on the conductivity meter

 Basic analyses (alkalinity and ions) were run on the samples over the course of the next few days to compare with the Nittany Valley springs and determine some baseflow chemistry.

ICP analysis of spring water
Nothing like vaporizing water samples to 7,000 Kelvin to see what it's made of!

 The remainder of the samples are now on the way to a lab in Canada to analyze for rare earth elements (REE's), to determine their detection limits at baseflow conditions.

Spring water samples off for REE analysis
Samples packed and ready to go. Next stop, Ontario. Bon voyage!

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