Mirror Lake water testing more in-depth this year
Published: Monday, November 23, 2009
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 23:06
Student scientists testing the water during the Mirror Lake splash-in Thursday night used both high- and low-tech equipment during their study.
A Thermo scientific meter did the hard work. A Swiffer broom handle, waterproof lab tape and plastic bottles took care of the rest. Both the east and west sides of the lake were sampled.
On the east side, where most of the students jumped into the lake, the temperature rose by 1 degree Fahrenheit Thursday night. Total nitrogen content, which is linked to urine, peaked at 1 a.m.
That was "about the time when the police apparently shut down the event," said Annette Trierweiler, a graduate student in geological sciences.
Last year's temperature rose by 3 degrees, but the water was colder — 37 degrees, compared to 51 degrees Thursday night, Trierweiler said.
Results indicating fecal matter and other bacteria in the lake won't be ready until Wednesday.
This year, 24 samples were collected, twice as many as last year.
The increased sampling was an effort to be more accurate in determining when the peak temperature occurred, said Justin Von Bargen, a fourth-year in geological sciences.
One scientist taking water samples ended up in the lake herself, but not because she wanted to. During the madness, she was pushed in, and Trierweiler only avoided being soaked by landing on his colleague's shoulders.
After all the results are in, students will take the information gathered from Mirror Lake and present it at an annual Geological Society meeting.
There were "a lot of amused people" when results from last year's event were presented, Trierweiler said.
"We actually got more people at that poster than I did at my master's research," Trierweiler said.
Scientists wear gloves, but testing water can still be hazardous to health.
Steve Goldsmith, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Earth Sciences, ended up with cryptosporidium, a disease caused by a parasite, after testing water in a quarry in Grandview.
"I lost a lot of weight," he said. The day before testing he could run nine miles, but after getting sick from the disease he couldn't run a mile for three months.
But students at OSU weren't worried about any of that.
A total of about 12,000 students were either in or around the lake Thursday night, said Molly Ranz Calhoun, assistant vice president of Facility Management and Logistics.
Tradition overrode any other worries.
Jessica Shamblin, a fourth-year in psychology, said she had to go and jump in.
"If we lose, it'll be my fault," Shamblin said.
After what she has discovered taking samples, Trieweiler said she did not plan to make any jumps in the future.
"Not by choice," she said.