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Ralph McGee Publishes Thesis on Geomorphology

Ralph McGee of Hart & Hickman’s Charlotte office had his thesis on the topic of geomorphology published. Ralph completed his thesis while earning his masters degree in Earth Science at UNCC. His thesis examined how multitudes of small erosion gullies on hillsides in the Piedmont have worked in combination to shape the Piedmont landscape over 100s and 1,000s of years. Ralph explains "Streams in the Piedmont occupy the valleys, but that is not where they begin." The headwaters of streams in the Piedmont are often located on hillslopes and start as a network of very small ephemeral gullies. For this study, Ralph mapped the beginnings of over 100 of these headwater gullies by hiking miles of hillsides in Gaston, Randolph, and Iredell Counties with a high res Trimble GPS and survey equipment to measure physical variables that help explain why the streams start where they do. This type of research is helpful for those interested in understanding how the landscape we see in the Piedmont has developed over geologic time and how changes in land use have effected these landscape changes. Ralph noted how much fun the field work was and that other work he performed is being used by the University to correlate rainfall rates, ecosystem variables, and erosion factors. Aside from his natural charm and wit, the rave reviews Ralph's university professors gave Ralph for his thesis work were a key factor in H&H pursuing him as a recruit.