Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Geology and Geography
James S Kite
Mountaintop removal/valley fill (MTR/VF) coal mining in the Central Appalachian region has created the most extreme anthropogenic landscape on Earth by lowering ridges and infilling headwater stream valleys. No studies have attempted to detail erosional processes active on MTR/VR landforms. A combination of field work and LiDAR data observations documents erosional features on MTR/VF landscapes. Landscape evolution modeling explores future possibilities in valley-filled catchments. LiDAR data also allows for the quantification of valley-filled catchment alteration with statistically significant differences in both drainage density and depression storage capacity between "less disturbed" and valley-filled catchments. Field and LiDAR data observations show that the drainage systems associated with the periphery of the MTR/VF landscape are particularly vulnerable to gully erosion. This study also provides evidence of landslides occurring within fully reclaimed valley fills. Landscape evolution modeling reproduces gully erosion mechanisms documents in the field. Modeled erosion rates based solely on bedload averaged 10.9 mm/kyr-1 . Modeled erosion rates are higher on valley fills with constructed drains in the center of the valley fill relative to those with drains along the sides.
Reed, Miles, "How Will Anthropogenic Valley Fills in Appalachian Headwaters Erode?" (2018). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6490.