ISGS Assists in Hydrology Field Course

Scientists and technical staff from the Coal, Geophysics, Hydrogeology, Quaternary Geology, and the Drilling, Shop Services and Vehicle Operations Sections at the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) provided students from the University of Illinois Department of Engineering and Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering hands-on experience in the acquisition and interpretation of geological, geophysical, and hydrogeological information as part of a hydrology field course conducted at the University of Illinois Phillips Tract Research Plots. The field course was led by Art Schmidt of the Department of Engineering with support from Pat Mills of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Students from the UI College of Engineering enrolled in a Hydrology field course watch as ISGS drill crew extract continuous core from a borehole drilled at the Phillips Tract Research plots east of Urbana. Geologists from the ISGS provided the students with an overview of the glacial and bedrock geology of the region, led in-depth discussions on the geology observed from continuous core taken at the site, and described how this new information supports ongoing research to determine the availability of water and mineral resources in Illinois. As part of the field component, a stratigraphic test hole was drilled from the land surface to 40 feet into bedrock, reaching a total depth of 211 feet. Glacial sediments and bedrock spanning the last 350 million years were uncovered during the drilling. The drilling support staff provided the students with technical information detailing the methods of drilling and installation of monitoring wells. Scientists from the ISGS Hydrogeology Section installed a groundwater monitoring well in the borehole at a depth of 110 feet. Staff from the ISGS Geophysics Section, with the assistance of several students, conducted a vertical seismic reflection survey in the borehole. A geophysicist explained to the students how downhole geophysical data can be used to characterize subsurface geologic materials.