On March 28, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Anthony Iannacchione. Dr. I is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and he is also the director of the Mining Engineering Program in the Swanson School of Engineering.
We took advantage of our opportunity to talk with Dr. I by asking him some questions we were curious about. First, we discussed his background and the many years he has spent on his education. He told us a little about his work history and experience with mining and also about his experiences as a professor.
Dr. I has given many talks and presentations throughout the years. Recently, he has spoken about using abandoned mine drainage from coal mines for the water necessary for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction. Naturally, we had many questions about this process and how it could work!
After our time talking with Dr. I, we attempted to remediate some water that was impacted by AMD. We had bottles of water gathered by Marion, and we used pH strips to test the pH of the water. Before we changed anything, the water was slightly acidic with a pH of 6. To see if we could bring the water to a more neutral pH level, we added calcite. Calcite is frequently used to help raise an acidic substance to a neutral pH. With the calcite added, we then tested the water again. The pH only increased very slightly. It was evident that a change did occur, but not enough of a change to be at a completely neutral pH. The results were not exactly what we expected, but that is science!
Next week were are looking forward to touring the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. We will be able to learn more about mineral uses in our everyday life and the energy involved!