Far from Over

As I sit in McGlothlin for my last week of “research” (designing and setting up the new lab so that I can reach everything), I realize a few things. For starters, when they say that on-campus move-out is August 5th, they mean that not a soul will be left after that time, and the Grind will be closed. Also, my research is far from over. We spent two months analyzing June data, and we’re still not done. In fact, our gamma counter just finished working on rainfall from January. Once the move to the 3rd floor is complete and we perfect the most efficient ways to analyze data, the process will greatly quicken.

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When the Professors are Away….

Last week, both of our advisors were on vacation, so we were left to our own devices. We were excited to be independent researchers (even though our professors were only a phone call away) and see how well we could function. Naturally, 30 seconds after one professor left we had to chase him down at the Sunken Gardens because we forgot to ask something. We were left with three main tasks: start collecting a new set of data, continue stripping the resin from the previous data, and keep the liquid nitrogen in the gamma lab full.

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Dripping Acid

Now that I have your attention, I’ll sum up the past couple weeks of research:

We’ve equilibrated resin with streamwater, and collected streamwater that still needs to be equilibrated. The next step is to knock off the ions that the cation exchange resin is holding, so that we can analyze them. To do this, we drip acid through the resin, and then analyze it. Sodium is the first ion to be removed from the resin, due to its relatively weak charge, so we only need to collect the first ~350mL of post-drip. Given, the peristaltic pump goes at 1mL/min, so it’s a lengthy process.

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First Update- Picking Watersheds, Collecting Data

A little over three weeks into my research, and I suppose I’ve embraced my first summer in Virginia. My research fluctuates between days spent in front of a computer and field days spent around James City County, collecting water and data from streams. We began the summer with 7 preliminary watersheds, ranging from forested (Matoaka Woods) to residential to highly impervious (Newtown). However, given that everyone has gated communities and Homeowners’ Associations around here, we had to give up 3 of our watersheds. This was thankfully not an insurmountable problem, as we needed to eliminate some anyways.

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Using 22Na to Measure Effects of Impervious Surfaces on the Age of Groundwater


My name is Kira Holmes, and as a junior Geology major I’ll be working with Greg Hancock and Jim Kaste over the summer on research for my senior thesis.

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