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Research at Dartmouth's Citrin Family GIS/Applied Spatial Analysis Lab
The Citrin Family GIS/Applied Spatial Analysis Lab has supported a diverse array of highly productive research projects by Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff. We present here just a brief selection of some recent and ongoing research topics:
Land use and water management in the Tarim river basin, Xinjiang, China. In collaboration with Chinese scientists at the Xinjiang Institute for Ecology and Geography, researchers at Dartmouth are studying decadal trends in land use change, ecohydrology, and water management policy in the Tarim river basin, a desert landscape in China's far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Using satellite imagery, hydrologic data, field observations, and interviews of stakeholders in the region, the research team is examining how climate variability, the expansion of irrigated agriculture, urbanization, energy resource development, inter-basin water transfers, and other factors are driving changes in the region's natural and human ecosystems.
Was the Chicxulub impactor at the end of the Mesozoic Era 65 million years ago a comet or an asteroid?. Working with Earth Sciences faculty from Dartmouth College and the University of New Mexico, we have mapped the locations of dozens of rock samples from locations world-wide, dating to the time of the 65 million year old impact event at Chicxulub in the Yucatan Peninsula – the impact event that abruptly ended the age of dinosaurs and allowed the subsequent rise of mammals. This is the first complete, global database of Iridium and Osmium fluence measurements from the time of the Chicxulub event. Using a paleogeographic model for the movement of continental plates, we then reconstructed the original locations of the samples and analyzed their spatial distribution, as part of an attempt to use mass of iridium and osmium to answer the as-yet-unresolved question, Was the impactor at Chicxulub an asteroid or a comet? Presentation of our preliminary results at the Lunar and Planetary Science conference in Houston in March 2013, where we made the case for “comet, not asteroid” garnered international media coverage.
Rapid assessment of geomorphic impacts of Tropical Storm Irene on Vermont rivers. At the end of August 2011, the remnants of Hurricane (then Tropical Storm) Irene brought record-breaking rains and massive flooding to Vermont. The Geography Department’s Frank Magilligan led a team of researchers in a research project to document the effects of the flooding on Vermont’s river systems. This effort, supported by an NSF RAPID grant, benefitted from the work of graduate student Eirik Buraas, who had spent much of the previous summer doing field work on these same rivers. This provided a unique and fortuitous opportunity to collect data immediately post-storm on rivers for which good pre-storm data had just been collected.
Mapping flooding on the Mississippi River. Using newly acquired Landsat imagery, we performed a rapid assessment of the extent of flooding along the Mississippi River in portions of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The resulting maps and imagery were posted on our website less than 24 hours after the satellite overpass. Click here for more information.
MixedMetro: Analyzing segregation and diversity in the United States. We are exploring methods for classifying and visualizing the racial and ethnic diversity of neighborhoods across the United States. In the first stage of the project, we looked at segregation and diversity in sixteen metropolitan areas, and examined the relationships between neighborhood racial composition and prevalence of mixed-race couples. The second stage involved applying our metrics of racial composition to all 50 states and the 53 largest US metro areas, using data from the 1990, 2000, and 2010 censuses.
This project is a collaboration among researchers at Dartmouth College, the University of Washington, and the University of Georgia, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Neukom Institute at Dartmouth College. Click here for more information.
Spaceborne monitoring of large lakes worldwide. Humans are transforming the hydrologic cycle, particularly its terrestrial components, at an accelerating rate. These changes are both direct (via impoundment and diversion of rivers, drainage of wetlands, withdrawals of groundwater, etc.) and indirect, via climate change. In this study, we are using satellite imagery to monitor changes in water storage in approximately 50 large lakes worldwide. We developed and validated these methods at the Toshka Lakes site in Egypt, and have now used them to develop detailed records of changing lake surface area over the past decade for all lakes included in the study. Click here for more information (138 kb pdf).

If you would like to discuss a potential research project that could benefit from the lab's resources, data, and expertise, please contact us.

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The Citrin Family GIS/Applied Spatial Analysis Laboratory at Dartmouth College
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Mail: HB 6017 Fairchild • Hanover, NH 03755
Tel: 603.646.3321 • Fax: 603.646.1601

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