Advisor: Ann Camp
Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a form of coal strip mining that completely removes up to 300 meters of bedrock from the summits of mountain ranges in the southern Appalachians and Allegheny Plateau of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Landscape-scale deforestation, groundwater pollution, aquifer depletion, and sludge flows are just a few of the environmental effects caused by MTR. In addition, externalities include loss of human life, health, safety, and property due to the hazards from extensive blasting, toxic waste storage, and catastrophic flooding. Over the last 10 years, MTR rates have increased dramatically. After completing a heuristic remote sensing model in the OEFS course to document the area of land that has been destroyed by MTR in six West Virginia counties, I am now interested in extrapolating my study using a composite of LANDSAT and/or ASTER images over the entire Allegheny Plateau to assess the full impacts of MTR in the region.