All Things Appalachia speaker series – Mining Impacts in Appalachia
December 7 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
National Geographic Explorer and one of the Explorers Club 50 Dr. Sarah Carmichael of Appalachian State University will discuss the impact of geology and paleogeography of Appalachia has had on the development of electric power, labor history, and the natural environment.
Dr. Sarah Carmichael is a geoscientist who studies the tiny minerals that tell big stories. Her research has taken her from the tops of mountains to the bottom of the ocean in the Alvin submersible. She currently works all over the world, from Virginia to Mongolia, using tiny minerals to determine the cause of a major mass extinction that decimated marine ecosystems over 300 million years ago (this was more than a hundred million years before the dinosaurs walked the Earth). Her work on mass extinctions is similar to what a crime scene investigator does with trace evidence: what tiny clues are preserved in the rocks that tell us about how these animals died? She also works in cave systems in the Appalachians, using tiny minerals created by bacteria and fungi to trace the impacts of humans on cave ecosystems.
Even though she has to travel to extreme places to get her samples, most of her work is done in the lab. To study these tiny minerals, she uses a variety of high-tech laboratory techniques such as scanning and transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction.
Dr. Carmichael is also a professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She teaches classes on physical geology, geologic mapping, science writing, igneous and metamorphic rocks, and energy extraction in Appalachia.
All Things Appalachia is a monthly program series at the Transylvania County Library exploring the people, natural world, culture, and history of the southern Appalachian region. Presenters include experts in the fields of history, ecology, outdoor recreation, and more. The programs are on the first Thursday evening of most months at 6:30 pm in the Rogow Room. Each program lasts approximately one hour. These free programs are supported by the Friends of the Library