Scott A. Lecce
Professor of Geography
Dr. Scott Lecce (Ph.D., 1993, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a fluvial geomorphologist who joined the faculty at East Carolina University in 1998 after holding a tenure-track position at the University of Southern Mississippi and a temporary teaching position at Indiana State University. He has a master's degree from
GEOG 1250 - The Water Planet Syllabus
GEOG 2250 - Earth Surface Systems Syllabus
GEOG 3220 - Soil Properties, Surveys, and Applications Syllabus
GEOG 4210 - Fluvial and Hydrological Processes Syllabus
GEOG 6210 - Advanced Fluvial and Hydrological Processes Syllabus
Fluvial and hydrological processes; Transport and storage of heavy
fluvial environments; Human impacts on channel morphology,
erosion, and sedimentation; Hydrologic and geomorphic responses to environmental change; Flood geomorphology; Desert geomorphology; Alluvial fan development; Glacial hydrology.
Current Research Projects:
Channel Storage of Mining-related Lead in the Big River, Old Lead Belt,
The Old Lead Belt is a historic Pb-Zn mining district within St. Francois County in Southeast Missouri which was a leading producer of lead worldwide from 1869 to 1972. Major concerns exist about the long-term stability and toxic risk of mill wastes and mining sediment in rivers draining mining areas and major dump sites, some still presently covering more than 2.5 km2. Previous studies by Federal and State agencies showed that channel sediments are contaminated along the middle and lower segment of the Big River in the Missouri Ozarks. The purpose of this study is to quantify the locations and volumes of mining sediment storages within channel and floodplain deposits in the Big River. Overall, bed, bar, and floodplain deposits are contaminated with Pb from the town of Leadwood (river km 171) to its confluence with the Meramec River near Eureka (river km 0). The total contaminated sediment volume in the main stem of the Big River is >90,000,000 m3 with >95% stored in overbank floodplain deposits. Maximum Pb concentrations occur in St. Francois County with 2,500 ppm Pb in active channel sediments and >12,000 ppm Pb in floodplain deposits. However, only 21% of contaminated sediment is stored in St. Francois County, while 79% is stored in Jefferson County due to both greater river length and increased valley floor width and storage capacity. Historical floodplain deposits are probably the largest contemporary source of Pb input to the Big River via bank erosion and mass-wasting.
Coring point bar (left) and floodplain (center). Lead concentrations are being determined in the cores on the table using an x-ray flourescence spectrometer. On the right, stream channel transects and longitudinal profiles are being surveyed with a total station and GPS.
Mercury Contamination of Floodplain Sediments from Historic Gold Mining in
The first documented
of gold in the
Left: An operational stamp mill at the Reed Mine, where a 17 pound nugget was discovered in 1799.
Photo to the right shows a shaking table that vibrates in a reciprocating motion to separate fine gold
particles from ore. The table was coated with mercury to amalgamate the gold.
Left: Pounding the core barrel into the floodplain. Right: Jacking the core barrel back out.
Left: Lunch break at the local BBQ joint. Right: Bob tasting mine tailings for gold.
Left: The 2007 field crew. Right: Going five meters deep with an Oakfield soil probe.
Left: The summer 2006 field crew from
showing a peak mercury concentration 150 times background levels (0.1 ppm) and 15 times the EPA
guideline for contaminated soil (1 ppm). For more on this project, see:
Floodplain Sedimentation and Metal Contamination (funded by the National Science Foundation)
This project (with Bob Pavlowsky, Missouri State University) focuses on: using sediments contaminated by lead and zinc mining in a Wisconsin watershed to reconstruct a150-year history of flooding and sedimentation, examining lateral and downstream changes in metal dispersal processes, and investigating floodplain deposits as a secondary source for the remobilization of metal contaminated sediments. For more on this project, see:
Hurricane Floyd Flood (funded by the National Science Foundation)
The 1999 'Flood of the Century' on the Tar River in eastern North Carolina was the largest in the nearly 100-year long flood record. This project (with Pat Pease, Paul Gares, and ECU geologist Catherine Rigsby) examined the magnitude of overbank sedimentation on the Tar River floodplain and the contamination of the flood sediments by trace metals. For more on this project, see:
Pease P.A., Lecce S.A.,
Gares P.A., Rigsby, C.A. 2007. Heavy metal concentrations in sediment
deposits on the
Tar River floodplain following Hurricane Floyd, Environmental
Lecce, S.A. 2000. 'Fallacy of the 500-year flood: A cautionary note on flood frequency analysis'. North Carolina Geographer 8: 29-40.
Erosion and Sediment Transport on Coastal Plain Croplands
This project involved
sediment delivery from a small agricultural watershed by measuring
ditch sedimentation and suspended sediment transport during a 5-year
period. For more on this project, see:
Pease, P.P., Gares, P.A., and Lecce, S.A. 2002. Eolian dust erosion from an agricultural field on the North Carolina coastal plain. Physical Geography 23: 381-400.