Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tracer Dye Test and Frozen Lake

Research on the lake has continued for Virginia Tech Geological Sciences Masters student Luke Joyce, along with Engineering Geologists Skip Watts and George Stephenson from Radford University. Exciting developments include the implementation of a tracer dye test to determine outflow of water from the lake - how much water is flowing out and where exactly does it go? Earlier this week, one pound of harmless Fluorescein dye was injected into each of the large holes in the lake floor (see image below). About 3 inches of solid ice on top of the lake had to be hacked through! Coal traps have been set all around  and down the mountain at water outlets and streams to try and "catch" traces of the dye that originated at the lake bed. After about a week's time the traps will be collected and replaced with fresh ones. It will be several weeks before results are configured. "The dye seems green to orange to red to invisible depending on how diluted it is and what background it’s on when you see it" says Dr. Watts. Residents of the mountain will be on the look out for where the dye shows up, and any instances will be recorded for the project. Very cool stuff! If you are in the New River Valley area mid-March, consider attending a presentation "HYDROGEOLOGIC INVESTIGATIONS INTO WATER LOSS AT MOUNTAIN LAKE" as part of the Radford University Museum of Earth Sciences Public Lecture Series. The above mentioned scientists will be presenting an overview of their work thus far at Mountain Lake on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm. The lecture series flier with more information can be viewed here.

Luke setting the charcoal traps
Locations of dye release