Some human activities intended for good reason, have terrible effects, particularly with sand-mining. Senior biology major Lauren Chartier studied the effects sand-mining has on soil quality because soil biology, chemistry, and physical structure are key determinants of unique qualities that ultimately determine what can grow there. Chartier analyzed land-use (LU) histories twenty-six years following reclamation of mined lands in Caroline County in the Virginian Coastal plains, USA, including: 1) mined and reclaimed for agriculture, 2) mined and abandoned, 3) agriculture and not mined, and 4) an undisturbed forested site. Early results show differences between land-use histories in the chemical and microbial compositions in the soil.
Chartier presented a research poster, “The Biogeochemistry of Reclaimed Sand-mined Soils in Caroline County, Virginian Coastal Plains, USA” at the 2019 Annual Geological Society of America (GSA) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Her poster presentation tied for runner up in the Environmental and Engineering Geology category. She is currently writing a manuscript to submit for publication under the guidance of her faculty project mentor, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Dr. Ben Kisila.