ISGS Spring 2014 Seminar Series

ISGS Seminar Series: 2 Illinois Water Centers: Opportunities for Collaboration

Monday, January 27, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:Brian K. Miller, Ph.D.
Director, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
Director, Illinois Water Resources Center

The Illinois Water Resources Center and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program are both longstanding partner programs between federal agencies and the University of Illinois.  Both organizations offer grant funding, internships, community engagement expertise and opportunities for collaboration.   Overviews of both programs will be presented, and some recent initiatives relevant to the mission of the Illinois State Geological Survey will be highlighted.  Participants are encouraged to enter into a dialogue about future directions and opportunities for collaboration.

Seminar Series: Energy, Water, and Policy: Supporting Decision-Making with Systems Analysis

Monday, February 3, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:

Ashlynn S. Stillwell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Many energy operations, such as power generation and mining and refining fuels, require water.  At the same time, many water operations, including water and wastewater treatment and pumping, require energy.  This relationship, commonly known as the energy-water nexus, presents many tradeoffs between resources that have implications in the public policy environment.  Systems analysis is one approach to understanding the energy-water nexus by combining optimization, GIS multicriteria decision analysis, economics, and statistical analysis tools.  This talk will present some of Dr. Stillwell's previous, current, and future work on the energy-water nexus and its relationship to public policy.

Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Her previous work experience includes consulting engineering at Burns & McDonnell (2006-2007) and policy research at the Congressional Research Service (2009).  Dr. Stillwell received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the American Water Works Association's 2011 Academic Achievement Award for 2nd Place Master's Thesis.  Her research interests include the nexus of energy and water systems and the relationship those systems have with public policy.

ISGS Seminar Series: Middle Desmoinesian tidal channel log jams and roof flora capture cyclothem scale climate changes, presaging Desmoinesian-Missourian extinction event, and provide constraints on depositional frameworks

Monday, February 17, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Scott Elrick, ISGS

Small channels, called 'rolls' by miners, are widespread in the middle Desmoinesian Herrin, Springfield and Danville coal seams in the Illinois basin.  Eroded into the top of the coal, rolls are associated with tidally laminated gray shale roof strata, and found close to large peat-contemporaneous river systems, likely reflecting the development of mudflats along channel margins during the early phases of marine transgression.  Rolls are infilled with tidally laminated gray shale, the same lithology found covering the coal.  As mapped in underground mines, rolls are sinuous and occur in subparallel swarms. Individual rolls range from 10 to 100s of meters and rarely, 1,000s of meters long.  They are largest and most numerous where strata overlying the coal are of coarsest grain size.

Chaotic tangles of crisscrossing, horizontal to sub-horizontal, lycopsid trees are common in many rolls.  We interpret these lycopsid tree accumulations as log jams.  Sigillaria is the dominant genus found in rolls and is also one of several common lycopsid trees found as upright stumps and prone logs in nearby mine roof.

We interpret rolls to be tidal channels that formed when rapid marine transgression drowned the peat swamp.  Strong tidal currents scoured the peat in an estuarine setting.  As tidal channels advanced inland, trees and vegetation lining the banks collapsed into the channels, lodging in bends and constricted areas, forming log jams. The vegetation and trees trapped in the channels, in and around log jams, therefore represent a spatially averaged compositional picture of the species in that section of the swamp.  Multiple channels in an area may, in aggregate, be sampling many kilometers of transects through the final vegetation of the swamp.

The above observations indicate that terminal phases of all three swamp forests were characterized by extensive stands of Sigillaria growing in close association with tree and seed ferns.  These assemblages bear greater similarity to the dominant peat-forming vegetation of the drier Late Pennsylvanian than to that of the Middle Pennsylvanian, and indicate these swamps experienced late-stage climate shifts from humid to wet-subhumid, with increasing rainfall seasonality, previewing larger scale climate changes that culminated in vegetational turnover at the Desmoinesian-Missourian boundary, and providing constraints on depositional frameworks of middle Pennsylvanian cyclothems.


About speaker: A native of the Champaign-Urbana area, Scott Elrick received his BS in geology from UIUC and MS from University of California, Riverside and is currently the acting section head for the Coal and Petroleum section.  His research interests include the coal geology of Illinois, and the stratigraphy, paleobotany, climate and depositional history of the Late Paleozoic.

ISGS Special Seminar: HELLO??? ARE YOU READY FOR THE BIG ONE? [AKA: Important Considerations for Central US Seismicity]

Monday, February 17, 2014 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Presented by:
Gregory L. Hempen, 2013-2014 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer, URS Corporation
Chris Cramer, Center for Earthquake Research & Information
and Nathan K. Moran, Center for Earthquake Research & Information

Recent research on the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) provides new interpretations of historic earthquakes and evaluations.  Paleoseismic studies and new earthquake-source and wave-passage models have resulted in a new assessment of historic events.  These assessments, in turn, will help governments, businesses, and households prepare for, and respond to, future earthquakes.  

Paleoseismic studies of the NMSZ provide insight into recent millennia’s earthquakes.  Comparing the paleoseismic assessments with the historic data for the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquake Series (1811-12 Series) presents a better interpretation of the severity and number of earthquakes.  Regional geologic data and site-response models allowed our development of the 1811-12 Series’ conceptual model of isoseismal maps.  A cumulative isoseismal map for the 1811-12 Series also has been prepared.  The isoseismal maps provide median hazards; the actual hazard in any location may have been much worse or much less.  

Probabilistic and deterministic seismic models can show the seismic hazard through these new interpretations.  Such seismic models can help businesses, governments and households recognize earthquake hazards and take action to mitigate earthquake impacts.  The presentation includes some ways to mitigate these modeled seismic risks.


About the speaker: the 2013-2014 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer

Gregory (Greg) L. Hempen, PhD, PE, RG, has been named the 2013-2014 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Applied Geology.  The lectureship is awarded jointly by the Environmental and Engineering Geology Division (EEGD) of the Geological Society of America and the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. The purpose of the lectureship is to promote student awareness of Applied Geology.  The Jahns’ Lectureship has been jointly awarded annually since 1988.

Greg is a Geophysicist / Geological Engineer, consulting for URS Corporation’s St. Louis Office.  During his entire career, Greg has held only one title, Geophysicist.  He specializes in all types of vibration mitigation from earthquakes, blasting and pile driving, and recommending appropriate geophysical studies for complex sites.  His 40+-year career includes a long tenure at, and retirement from, the St. Louis District, Corps of Engineers. 

Greg has conducted business for all levels of government, federal, state and local.  He had worked closely with consulting firms managing studies on federal projects.  He now works in the private sector, but continues studies for federal and state offices.  His duties have included: site assessment of dam sites, regional earthquake studies for federal dam sites, probabilistic and deterministic appraisal of potential earthquake impacts, varied geophysical studies for different projects’ concerns (from archeological to environmental transport to groundwater to rock weaknesses), blast mitigation while effectively achieving the blasting goal, environmental mitigation, and the dreaded – “other duties, as assigned.” 

Greg received a B.S. in Geophysical Engineering from St. Louis University, a M.S. in Geo-Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and a Ph.D. in Geological Engineering from the University of Missouri - Rolla (now Missouri University of Science & Technology).  He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Missouri and Registered Professional Geologist in Arkansas and Missouri. 

Greg has authored a variety of publications, which share the understanding of procedures instead of keeping proprietary control of methodologies.  Greg has been an adjunct professor at all the engineering universities in the St. Louis area.  He has taught Environmental Science classes and Geotechnical Engineering courses.  His longest running class was offered once a year, “Seismology and Seismic Design” (CE 530A), Civil Engineering Department, Washington University of St. Louis, 1989 to 2004.  Greg had taught at several Corps of Engineers’ professional training courses. 

Some of the accolades that Greg has received are: the Otto Nuttli Award from the St. Louis Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, October 2011; a Professional (Honorary) Degree from Missouri University of Science & Technology, December 2010; award with the Army and Corps team for the Embrey Dam removal, May 2004; Johnston Service Award from AEG, October 2002; Achievement Medal for Civil Service, December 1998; and, 1991 Regional Outstanding Engineer from the Missouri River Region of the Society of American Military Engineers.

ISGS Seminar Series: Transport and Fate of nutrients and estrogen in a coupled wetland and ground water flow-through system

Monday, February 24, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Eric Peterson, Illinois State University

Wetlands play an important role in the reduction of nutrients in agricultural runoff and treated wastewater effluent.  A component of wetlands systems, the seepage out of the wetland and subsequent groundwater flow, has been virtually ignored in understanding the transport and fate of nutrients.  This study examined the flow of groundwater infiltrating from a constructed wetland receiving municipal wastewater effluent, and the fate of dissolved nutrients and estrogen hormones within the groundwater. Concentrations of nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, chloride, and estrogen hormoness were used to assess the quantity of nutrients being removed/added from the seepage compared to the total amount removed/added by surface water processes. Nitrate-Nitrogen concentrations in the surface water ranged 10.0-26.8 mg/L and ND-1.5 mg/L in groundwater. Ammonium-Nitrogen concentrations in the surface water ranged 0.05-2.3 mg/L and 0.004-4.5 mg/L in groundwater. Phosphate concentrations in the surface water ranged 0.1-3.2 mg/L and ND-0.4 mg/L in groundwater. Effluent-groundwater mixing calculations showed that a majority of the water sampled from the wells is effluent rich (50-100%).  MODFLOW simulations suggest that groundwater seepage flux from the wetland was between 3% and 11% of the surface water flux through the wetland. Nitrate and phosphate removal was determined to be significant in the groundwater – 1,930 g/day and 175 g/day respectively, but ammonium concentrations increased in the groundwater by 29 g/day. Dependent on surface water retention times in the wetland, nitrate removal from the surface water ranged from 4,100 to 14,450 g/day.  Ammonium and phosphate were added at rates between 21 to 74 g/day and 221 to 780 g/day, respectively. Treated effluent had the highest mean concentrations of E2, 32 ng/L, and E1, 76 ng/L.  Wetland waters had slightly lower concentrations of 27 ng/L for E2 and 55 ng/L for E1.  Measurable concentrations of E2 were observed only once in five of the 13 wells at a maximum concentration of 18 ng/L, while E1 was observed only in two wells.  Higher concentrations of both E2 and E1 were measured in the treated effluent than in the wetlands, indicating that the wetlands are serving as a sink for E2 and E1.  The absences of E2 and E1 within the ground water indicate that both are being effectively removed within the groundwater system.


About speaker: Eric Peterson earned his PhD from the University of Missouri in 2002, and joined Illinois State University in August 2002.  He is one of two main faculty directly involved in the Hydrogeology MS program.  His main area of research involves surface water-groundwater interaction, investigating questions in two geologic settings:  karst and the glaciated plains of the Midwest.  In 2013, he became the interim chair of the Dept of Geography-Geology Department at ISU.

ISGS Seminar Series: Paleoclimate Reconstruction of Pennsylvanian Paleoequatorial Environments: Coupling Terrestrial and Marine Proxies

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Nick Rosenau, Dolan Integration Group

The geological record is replete with archives of environmental information.  As the earth transitions from a global icehouse to greenhouse climate, there is an increasing need for deep-time studies that will provide insight into how the both the terrestrial and marine realm may respond to such a climate change.  The Late Paleozoic Ice Age (LPIA) represents a particularly attractive interval for this endeavor, as it encompasses the only complete icehouse to greenhouse transition on the vegetated earth, providing the closest deep-time analogue to the modern ice age.

This presentation will discuss the evolution of paleotropical climate during the LPIA through coupled lithostratigraphic and geochemical data collected from intercalated terrestrial and marine strata preserved within North American cyclothems.  The morphological, mineralogical, and geochemical content of paleosols preserved within Pennsylvanian cyclothems of the Illinois basin serve as a terrestrial paleoclimate proxy and are used to investigate the interplay of basin-scale to global-scale controls responsible for their evolution during the LPIA.  Deconvolution of these controls reveals that the development of Pennsylvanian-age paleosols in the Illinois basin can readily be related to Late Paleozoic glacioeustatic fluctuations, and associated climate change, as well as topographic position on the ancient landscape.   The oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of paleosol phyllosilicates are used as a quantitative terrestrial paleotemperature proxy for the Pennsylvanian tropics and reveal a significant temperature increase (~ 6ºC) at low-latitudes across the Desmoinesian–Missourian (~Moscovian–Kasimovian) boundary.  Conodont apatite 18O values from organic-rich marine black shales in the Illinois basin serve as a marine paleoclimate proxy.  These data reveal significant variations in conodont apatite 18O values from a single black shale member across the basin that is attributed to local factors such as enhanced continental runoff in the Illinois basin as a result of its proximity to the ancient shoreline Appalachian highlands.  Collectively, these results help resolve the responses of terrestrial and marine systems to the waxing and waning of late Paleozoic Gondwanan ice sheets and provide insight into the suite of mechanisms responsible for tropical paleoenvironmental change during LPIA glacial-deglacial episodes.

About speaker: Nick Rosenau just graduated from Southern Methodist University with his Ph.D. and is currently working at Dolan Integration Group (geochemistry for energy exploration).

ISGS Seminar Series: Cancelled

Monday, March 3, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Eric Carson, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

ISGS Seminar Series: A Bayesian Framework for Uncertainty Quantification and its Implementation using Sparse-Grid Collocation Schemes: with Application to Groundwater Reactive Transport Modeling

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 10:30am

Presented by:
Ming Ye, Associate Professor Department of Scientific Computing, Florida State University

Graph of model uncertainty 

In simulating the complex subsurface environment, an obstacle to efficient and effective quantification and reduction of predictive uncertainty is that existing methods of uncertainty quantification are too fragmented and incomplete for understanding and predicting the complex subsurface environment as a whole. To tackle this problem, we developed a comprehensive Bayesian framework from a system perspective. It uses a hierarchical structure to characterize uncertainty in model scenarios, structures, parameters, and data used for the modeling. Variance decomposition is used to quantify relative contribution from the various sources to predictive uncertainty. Based on the variance decomposition, the Sobol’ global sensitivity index is extended from parametric uncertainty to consider model and scenario uncertainty, and individual parameter sensitivity index is estimated with consideration of multiple models and scenarios. The framework is implemented using the Bayesian network, in which different uncertainty sources are described as uncertain nodes. All the nodes are characterized by multiple states, representing their uncertainty in the form of continuous and discrete probability distributions. After building the Bayesian network, we used the sparse-grid collocation schemes to enhance computational efficiency. We demonstrate the use of the developed method for groundwater reactive transport. The example considers three scenarios of precipitation due to climate change, two models that convert precipitation to groundwater recharge, and multiple random parameters of hydraulic conductivity and kinetic reaction rates. While the example is for groundwater reactive transport modeling, our methods are applicable to a wide range of environmental models. The results of uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis are useful for environmental management and decision-makers to formulate science-informed policies and strategies.

Bio: Dr. Ming Ye is an Associate Professor in the Department of Scientific Computing at the Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, FL. His research is mainly focused on groundwater numerical modeling and uncertainty analysis. He holds a B.S. degree in Geology from the Nanjing University, China. In 2002, he earned his Ph.D. degree in Hydrology from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Before joining FSU, he worked as a post-doc in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Assistant Research Professor at the Desert Research Institute. He received the 2012 DOE Early Career Award, and was elected as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2012. He is serving as an Associate Editor of Water Resources Research.

ISGS Seminar Series: Geology and Geotourism/Ecotourism of Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf, Southern Iran

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Davood Jahani, ISGS GSA Presentation

The Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz is the largest island in the Persian Gulf (2.5 times that of Bahrain- and Singapore), covering an area of about 1,500 square kilometers. It has a long history; references to Qeshm Island can be traced back to the Elamite and Achaemenid Empires of Iran over 3000 years BC. Based on geologic investigations, Qeshm Island is a part of the southeastern Zagros Mountains of southwest Iran with a stratigraphic succession consisting of Pre-Cambrian, Paleozoic, Miocene, Pliocene, and Quaternary deposits. Extensive field investigation of the Quaternary coastal sediments has resulted in recognition of tidal flat subenvironments containing a wide variety of physical and biogenic sedimentary structures. Mud flat to mixed flat dominate the northern coastal areas but mixed flat to sand flat are extensive in the southern part. Microbial mats in tidal flats and coral reefs in subtidal setting are present in the southern part of the island.

Qeshm is one of numerous places in Iran alive with many geologic, ecologic, cultural, and historic attractions unique for geotourism and ecotourism. Stars Valley, Namakdan Salt Plug and salt caves, Bame Qeshm, Khoorbas cave, Tala water wells, historic castles, coral reefs, Hara (mangrove) forests, and charming small towns and villages are among many wonderful attractions of Qeshm Island.


About speaker: Dr. Davood Jahani joined the ISGS on August 15 as a Visiting Research Scholar. Davood holds a Ph.D. in sedimentary geology and is a professor in the Department of Geology at Azad University in Tehran, Iran. He is working with Dr. Yaghoob Lasemi on sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Triassic succession of the Alborz Mountains in northern Iran.

ISGS Seminar Series: Spring Break (no seminar)

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 11:00am

Spring Break (no seminar)

ISGS Seminar Series: Rescuing Climate Data in the US and Middle East

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Nancy Westcott, ISWS

Historical climate data are crucial to placing today’s weather and future weather into perspective. During the 2000’s, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center with assistance from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC), launched an effort to rescue climate data in the US, and then for other regions around the world. The MRCC, hosted by the Illinois State Water Survey, was instrumental in developing a program to quality control 19th century climate data spanning the lower 48 and Alaska, and the MRCC remains the archive for these data.  19th century data provide a crucial link between paleo-environmental records and modern data sets.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission on Climate with other global or regional partners (volunteer groups, consortiums of universities, and National Meteorological or Hydrological Institutions) have spearheaded climate data rescue activities and climate assessment efforts around the world.  To improve the capacity of Jordan and Palestine to examine and understand climate change causes and impacts in their region, the UN-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the WMO launched a number of initiatives, including a workshop on climate data rescue and an assessment of needs.

While climate data rescue is to a large degree relatively straightforward, its accomplishment is not an easy task in either the US or the Middle East. Based on experiences gained through a first-hand assessment of climate data rescue status in the US, Jordan and Palestine, issues involved and lessons learned, in rescuing historical data, in adapting it to today’s standards and practices, and obstacles to its accomplishment will be discussed. 


About speaker: Dr. Westcott has worked at ISWS since 1977. Her research has primarily centered on the use of radar to estimate rainfall, studies of fog, and various applied climate topics such as weather impacts on crop yields, quality control of historic weather data, impact of heat waves on natural resources, prediction of West Nile Virus outbreaks, and impacts of urban areas and cloud seeding on weather. She has managed the Cook County Precipitation Network since 1995.

ISGS Seminar Series: Saline springs of the Illinois Basin: Implications for structural and stratigraphic controls on groundwater flow within the basin

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Samuel Panno, ISGS

Groundwater quality in the Illinois Basin, like most intracratonic basins in the Midwestern US, transitions from extremely fresh near surface (Cl = 1 to 13 mg/) to concentrated brines at depth (Cl > 100,000 mg/L). Naturally-occurring saline anomalies have been identified throughout the Illinois Basin within the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In the course of this investigation, more than 40 locations of “mineral” and saline springs within and at the margins of the Illinois Basin were identified and investigated. Most springs were sampled for chemical and isotopic composition with emphasis on halide chemistry (Cl, Br, I) in order to determine the source formations of the salinity. In addition, six cross sections through the Illinois Basin were prepared and included all available Cl concentrations to help evaluate local and regional groundwater movement into, within, and discharge from the basin.

Of the springs identified and sampled, only 23 were naturally-occurring NaCl-enriched, brackish and saline springs and NaCl anomalies (plumes of saline groundwater discharging within freshwater aquifers). These springs and anomalies (so-called “mineral springs” and “salt licks”) were recognized first by Native Americans and later by early settlers as good hunting grounds and a source of much-needed salt. Some of these springs were converted into lucrative commercial ventures as a source of salt in the early frontier. After the bottom fell out of the salt-making business in the mid-1800s, many sites were converted to health spas that thrived until the early 1900s. After the health spa business waned, many were converted into city and state parks. Whereas many of their occurrences and locations are a matter of historic record and are of historic significance, some of the once well-known brackish and saline springs have been abandoned, forgotten or destroyed. For example, the Vermillion Salines of nearby Kickapoo Creek State Park were buried under tons of waste as a result of coal mining in the area.

Overall, the saline springs of the Illinois Basin were found to be coincident with geologic structures within the basin and with basin margins to the south. Two major areas of saline anomalies coincident with geological structures stand out: 1) the La Salle Anticlinorium, and 2) the DuQuoin-Louden Anticlinal Belt possibly. Discharge along basin margins occur primarily in the southern end of the basin in Kentucky. In general, chloride concentrations of these springs are typically around 500 mg/L, but can be as high as 30,000 mg/L. Springs with the greatest concentrations of Cl usually contain H2S which supports colonies of white, filamentous, chemolithotrophic sulfide-oxidizing bacteria. Cl/Br mass ratios that range from 150 to 700 and were used to identify the source formations of the saline spring water. Spring water salinities originated from Cambrian- to Pennsylvanian-age sedimentary rocks; these springs may be the result of recharge-driven hydraulic gradients into and out of the basin. The existence of the saline springs is an indicator of pathways associated with geologic structures and saline aquifers within and near the margins of the Illinois Basin.

About speaker: Samuel V. Panno is a Senior Geochemist and has been with the Illinois State Geological Survey since 1988. Prior to joining the ISGS, Sam worked as a Geochemist/Hydrogeologist with Rogers and Associates Engineering Corporation, as an Associate Geochemist with Brookhaven National Laboratory, and as a mine geologist with Atlas Minerals. Currently, Sam is leading research efforts on various aspects of karst geology, and the hydrogeochemistry of groundwater in aquifers of Illinois and within the Illinois Basin.

ISGS Seminar Series: New insights into shale research from slice & view FIB-SEM Microscopy

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Georg Grathoff, University of Greifswald, Germany

A renaissance of shale diagenesis research has begun.  Shales are becoming economically important with growing industrial interests in CCS, shale gas, and shales as potential radioactive waste repositories.  To understand processes that occur in shales we need tools to visualize clay minerals in its framework of porespace, organic matter, and other minerals. The presentation will introduce a method of 3D reconstruction (up to 10 x 10 x 10 µm) of the mineralogy, pore space and C-org in shales using a coupled Focussed Ion Beam (FIB) and  Scanning Electron Beam (SEM) microscopy with EDX analyses (ZEISS-Auriga).  A case study of Jurassic Posidonia shales, a potential gas shale from Northern Germany, will be presented examining the interconnectivity of pores in the organic matter and the mineral matrix. Such insights should be relevant for CCS and gas shale studies in the Illinois Basin.

ISGS Seminar Series: Odyssey of cyclothems from Illinois to the Midcontinent and throughout the tropical Pennsylvanian world

Monday, April 14, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Phil Heckel, University of Iowa

Cyclothems are marine transgressive-regressive sedimentary units, which were defined in the Pennsylvanian succession in the Illinois Basin, and reasonably interpreted as products of glacial eustatic fluctuation of sea level in the 1930s. Other models of deposition from diastrophic [tectonic] to sedimentary delta-shifting were proposed from the 1930s to 1960s. Early interpretations of cyclothem deposition ignored the significance of the distinctive black shale member, until the shallow-water algal-flotant model on delta lobes was developed in the 1960s.  The widespread nature and phosphorite content of the black shales in the major Midcontinent cyclothems led to the deep-water circulation and upwelling model in the 1970s. Abundant and distinctive conodont faunas in the black shales [and homologous gray shales] allowed correlation of individual cyclothems along the Midcontinent outcrop belt and into the Illinois and Appalachian basins.  Dominantly marine cyclothems are now recognized elsewhere around the Pennsylvanian tropical region in eastern Europe and China. The shapes of sea-level curves based on the succession of cyclothems of different extents in the Midcontinent resemble the shapes of Pleistocene glacial-eustatic sea-level curves.  Groupings of smaller cycles around major cyclothems, which apparently represent the 400-kyr period of the Earth’s orbital parameters, can be calibrated with recent radiometric dates of the geologic time scale. Combining radiometric dates with recognition of the greatest sea-level drawdowns [that should correspond with the most widespread glacial deposits] will facilitate correlation with the southern polar Gondwana succession.

About speaker: Philip H. Heckel was born in 1938 in Rochester, New York. He received his B.A. in 1960 from Amherst College in western Massachusetts and his PH.D in 1966 from Rice University in Houston, Texas. From 1965-1971, he worked at the Kansas Geological Survey in Lawrence. Since then has moved to the University of Iowa in Iowa City as a professor of Sedimentology in the Geology department. Heckel retired from work in 2011, but continues to do research. 

ISGS Seminar Series: Nitric Oxides Emissions and Control in China

Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Guohua Jing, ISGS/Chinese Visiting Scholar

China has experienced dramatic economic growth over the past three decades, accompanied by an annual growth rate of energy consumption as high as 10%. It has become the world’s second largest energy consumer after the United States. Energy consumption, especially fossil fuel consumption, is the main source of anthropogenic air pollution emissions in Chinese cities. Nitric oxides (NOx), originating from the combustion of fossil fuels, is becoming one of the main air pollutants. Considering the significant impact of NOx emissions on regional air quality, i.e., formations of ozone and fine particles and contribution to acid deposition, there is an urgent need to control NOx emissions in China. In this regard, China has put into effect new regulations on NOx emission control. However, commercially available technologies for NOx removal are associated with several problems, such as high cost, tendency to form secondary pollutants, and low removal efficiency. Research and development of new-generation NOx removal technologies are of growing interest of both academia and industry.

This talk will begin with an introduction on the status of NOx emissions, control, and regulations in China. An overview of existing and emerging technologies for NOx removal from fossil fuel combustion flue gas will also be presented. Dr. Jing will then introduce the related R&D activities in her group with deliberation on the development of a novel chemical absorption - biological reduction integrated process for low cost, high efficiency removal of NOx from combustion sources.  


About speaker:  Guohua Jing is a full professor at Huaqiao University, China. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Zhejiang University. Her research interests relate to new principles and technologies for energy and environmental applications with a focus on new materials and bio-processes for energy-related gas pollutant control. Guohua joined the ISGS as a visiting research scholar, effective on August 1. She is currently working with the Applied Research Lab (ARL) staff to conduct research on the modeling and evaluation of new systems and materials for carbon capture and multi-pollutant control associated with fossil fuel combustion. 


ISGS Seminar Series: Shirley Dutton

Monday, April 28, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Shirley Dutton, Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, AAPG Distinguished Lecturer

ISGS Seminar Series: Ken Bradbury

Monday, May 5, 2014 - 11:00am

Presented by:
Ken Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey