The disappearing pond project

Student(s):Students of Gerard Wykes
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Teacher(s):Gerard Wykes
Report Type(s):Standard Research Report
Protocols:Relative Humidity, Air Temperature, Surface Temperature, Precipitation, Water Temperature, Clouds, Water Transparency, Soil Infiltration
Date Submitted:05/02/2013
Screen capture from presentation

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On a routine GLOBE monitoring day our Environmental Science students noticed that the shoreline of the pond had receded significantly from fall of 2011 to spring 0f 2012. Their alarm was communicated to the department chair who noted that the pond in fact had been receding for the past 4 years. The Pond is essentially a catch basin for large volumes of run-off with little recourse.


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Hi , you did a great job on the video .
However do you think that the pond could slowly be a sink hole ? I mean the landscape was completely tore to bits in it and all ended up in the storm so what of the water is sinking? Any thoughts . ?

Posted on 5/11/13 8:42 PM.

Thanks for your interest Michele. Our Soil Study group were definitely thinking about sink holes. Part of their investigation was to look at the lowering of the water table in our area. If the soil was less supported by water then there would be higher infiltration rates and, yes we might see sink hole formation. Unfortunately this was probably our most difficult hypothesis to work on and the one we probably did the poorest job on. The group did observe no signs of change in ground level elevation. There is more to do in this area. You sound like you would be a great member of our squad.

Posted on 5/15/13 1:02 PM in reply to Student of Michele Ann Hildebrandt.

Interesting project! I'm impressed with the high level of collaboration! Did any of your results surprise you? Would you do any of the studies differently if you were to do this again? What did you learn from this experience?

Posted on 5/13/13 11:35 PM.

Thanks, Meg. Believe me, collaboration wasn't always smooth. That's the miracle of video editing. Our weakest study, and possibly the most important was the investigation of ground infiltration rates and the lowering of the water table in our area. If our suspicions are correct, runoff is not recharging the pond. To me that was surprising. I am learning why there are very few real natural bodies of fresh water in areas like ours in spite of lots of precip. Climate change is not helping the situation. Thanks for taking a look.

Posted on 5/15/13 1:16 PM in reply to Meg Mobley.

What a great team effort! And such a relevant project for your school! Great job! I really appreciated the thoroughness of this project, the explanation of the process of discovery by the students, and how teams of students took on studying the various factors that may have been influential.
I was wondering a couple things, however:
1) How did you estimate the depth for the past estimate of the pond volume?
2) Why do you expect that climate changes that have occurred over the past 30 years are related to changes that occurred in the 5-year period of your pond's history?

Posted on 5/21/13 3:39 AM.

North Shore students - I am so impressed with what you have done! You really did a great job trying to figure out why your pond is disappearing. I hope you continue this research so you can figure out what is happening!

I noticed you used several outside data sources and tools (Google Earth, NCDC data, etc). What other resources do you think you could use to continue this project? Have you talked to scientists in your area? Also, now that you have investigated these different possible causes for your disappearing pond, what is your best guess now as to what is happening?

I look forward to seeing your responses!

Posted on 5/22/13 12:37 AM.