RAPID: Geomorphologically Contextualized Flood Deposit Sampling and Mapping of Toxic Hazards: Insights from the Catastrophic July 2022 Floods in Eastern Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


TITLE: Geomorphologically and sedimentologically contextualized flood deposit sampling and mapping to inform public health assessments of toxic hazards: Rapid response insights from the catastrophic July 2022 floods in eastern Kentucky Many studies (e.g., Mukherjee et al., 2018; Scoccimarro & Gualdi., 2020; Tabari, 2020) have recently shown that changes in global climate over the next 100-200 years will drive profound changes in the spatial distribution, intensity, and duration of precipitation events, which will in turn drive extreme modification of landscapes that experience these events (Chiang & Chang., 2011; Gariano & Guzzetti., 2016). However, prediction, planning, and mitigation of the impact of this developing climatic shift will require an understanding of how more frequent catastrophic atmospheric events can impact local and regional landscapes (Whan et al., 2020). The catastrophic and deadly floods affecting eastern Kentucky during the last few days of July 2022 provide an unprecedented opportunity to understand within a geologic context the distribution of potentially harmful contaminants in recent flood deposits in a way that will help inform future public health assessments and interventions. We propose to assemble a multidisciplinary team bringing together expertise in geomorphology, sedimentology, geohealth, epidemiology, and toxicology to perform a rapid evaluation of flood deposit geomorphology and toxicity in the wake of an unprecedented flood event in eastern Kentucky. We will combine geomorphological mapping, UAV-based lidar microtopographic surveys, digital terrain modeling, and both field- and lab-based geochemical sampling to begin understanding the geologic and hydrologic controls on contaminant distribution in this summer’s flood deposits. We will also leverage Kentucky’s statewide airborne lidar coverage for change detection; our collective experience includes using regional and local drone-based lidar and SfM photogrammetry for that purpose. In addition to identifying the instantaneous spatial variability of recent flood deposit geochemistry, our work will form the foundation for future long-term studies of flood sediment deposition, contaminant migration and fate.
Effective start/end date9/1/226/30/23


  • National Science Foundation: $49,786.00


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