In the News: Renovated Mirror Lake provides hydrogeology lab for students

On a crisp October day at Mirror Lake, senior Michael Madson surmises why dissolved solids in the lake have dropped in the past few months.

He discusses a few hypotheses with Audrey Sawyer, assistant professor of earth sciences. Could it be seasonal? Or manmade: The fact that the renovation of the lake is completed and construction work is no longer stirring up the lake’s sediment? Maybe it’s biological, caused by algae and plants growing in the lake. Or a more complicated possibility: The lake is currently supplied by both city water and groundwater from a limestone aquifer, and the chemistry of the lake water could be equilibrating with the atmosphere.

The installation of a new hydrogeology learning lab in and near the lake gives students like Madson the opportunity to apply classroom learning without leaving campus.