Hydologists study watersheds, stream systems, and the transportation of pollutants. Flowing water possesses energy. This energy transports solid particles, such as clay, silt, sand, and gravel, and materials in solution. The movement of all this material is controlled by drainage divides, watersheds and the stream systems that they feed.

In addition to natural materials, flowing water may also move human-derived pollutants. Occasionally, due to accidents, ignorance or just plain being evil, untreated pollutants are released into the environment. This may be done by individuals, factories, or entire cities, and may be in the form of toxic chemicals, disease-carrying sewage or unsightly trash. At one time, most people believed that pollutants only destroyed the area into which they were dumped. We have since learned that this is not true. The power of stream systems can transport toxic materials long distances and so endanger or degrade the lives people living hundreds of miles away. We can predict the movement of pollutants, and so help control their negative effects, by studying the watersheds and stream systems shown on topographic maps.

Use your Cumberland map to answer the following questions.

1. You live in Barrelville and like to swim in the North Branch of Jennings Run. A tanker truck is traveling south on highway 160, crosses the state line, goes about 400 feet and over turns, and ruptures on the bridge over the small creek. Should you be concerned? Answer

2. Should you be concerned about a swimming hazard to you if you lived and swam in Mount Savage. Answer

3. What if you lived and swam in Jennings Run in Corriganville? Answer

4. You live in Corriganville and hear about acid mine drainage being emitted from the strip mine operation at 687600 m E, 4393000 m N. Should you be concerned about pollution of the stream in your town? Answer

Continue with the lesson