GAI Project Manager Ryan Fandray, QEP, PG joins us as a guest blogger to discuss The Geology of Pittsburgh.

GAI Senior Geological Manager Robert Turka, PG and I recently presented a paper investigating “The Geology of Pittsburgh” as part of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists’ (AEG) Cities of the World series. Pittsburgh’s geologic features – its three rivers, tactical location, and rich natural resources – contributed to its position as a major stronghold for the developing nation and continue to shape its trajectory today. The paper discusses geologic hazards present in Pittsburgh and its surroundings, including mine subsidence, acid mine drainage, expansive shales and slags, pyritic acid rock, and slope instability. These hazards have been a challenge for geologists in the region, as well as environmental remediation projects related to acid mine drainage from legacy coal mining, reclaiming land areas of former steel mills, and past production sites of nuclear materials.

Pittsburgh’s geologic features – its three rivers, tactical location, and rich natural resources – contributed to its position as a major stronghold for the developing nation and continue to shape its trajectory today.

The paper was presented at the AEG Annual Conference and is available on the AEG website and via GeoscienceWorld.

For questions on Pittsburgh’s geology or geologic or environmental hazards, contact Ryan Fandray, QEP, PG, Project Manager, at 412.476.2000 or Robert Turka, PG, Senior Geologic Manager, at 724.387.2170.


Abstract | Over the course of the last 35 years the AEG Cities of The World Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Allen Hatheway, has sponsored peer-reviewed technical papers following a uniform format of discussion focusing on the environmental and geologic circumstances that brought people to settle in the 24 cities making up the series to date. In addition to the natural resources that brought original in-habitants to settle these regions, the series continues to bring forth the bevy of geologic conditions that have essential-ly controlled the development and expansion of each city. As we continue to move forward in the twenty-first cen-tury, during a time of environmental vigilance, geologists and engineers will meet and adapt to these same geologic conditions, in every instance to overcome the challenges of keeping each city capable of sustaining the presence of its always-expanding human population.


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