ISGS - October 2005 Activity Highlights
ISGS - Home Page of the Illinois State Geological Survey
Dr. Harrison Schmitt, left, enjoys
the rock hammer just presented
to him by Dr. William Shilts.
Geologist and Astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmitt Presents First Lecture in Centennial Lecture Series
Apollo 17 was not only the last lunar landing mission, it was the first and only time a geologist, Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, walked on the surface of the moon. "A Trip to the Moon and Beyond" was the title of the free public lecture Dr. Schmitt gave to an audience of approximately 600 people at Lincoln Hall on Thursday, October 13, 2005. He was the first speaker in the ISGS Centennial Lecture Series. ISGS staff, Centennial fund donors, and special guests were invited to a reception for Schmitt at the Levis Faculty Center on Wednesday evening. Thursday morning, Schmitt talked to fourth and fifth graders from Wiley and Thomas Paine Elementary Schools in Urbana. Schmitt also presented two other lectures during his visit, "Martian Evolution: Lessons from the Moon" primarily to ISGS staff on Thursday afternoon and "Full Moon, Old Earth" to the University of Illinois Geology Department and others on Friday morning. All five events were well attended, and Schmitt's visit received excellent coverage by local media. This first lecture, as well as all of the events in the ISGS Centennial Lecture Series, was sponsored by ISGS donors to the Centennial Celebration Fund. Fox Development Corporation provided major funding for this lecture. The next lecture in the series will be "The Secret Search for Diamonds in North America", presented by Kevin Krajick, award-winning science journalist and author of the book, "Barren Lands: An Epic Search for Diamonds in the North American Arctic". See the Centennial Celebration link on the ISGS homepage for more information about upcoming speakers and other Centennial events. (Contacts: R. Krumm and J. Goodwin)
Revised Coal Availability Maps Completed
A revised set of statewide digital maps, "A GIS Guide to Coal Availability and Resource Development in Illinois," has been completed by the ISGS. This project was funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity through their Office of Coal Development. These maps graphically show at a scale of 1:250,000 the availability of the Springfield and Herrin coal seams integrated with water resource data supplied by the Illinois State Water Survey and sensitive biological areas of concern supplied by the Illinois Natural History Survey. All are key elements for siting a future mine-mouth power plant. Other key map layers include locations of wastewater treatment plants; current coal-burning, electric power plants; electric power grid; political boundaries and railroad lines. Maps from this project will be soon be available for distribution through the ISGS Information Office. (Contact: S. Gustison)
ISGS Participates in IDOT Fall Program Meeting
Two staff members participated in the annual Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) fall program planning meeting, held in Springfield for IDOT Bureau of Design and Environment (BDE) staff from the central office and all nine IDOT districts. A staff member provided input into BDE's new proposal to require all transportation projects involving excavation or utility relocation to go through the ISGS environmental site assessment process. Current IDOT policy does not require individual IDOT districts to submit such projects if in their judgment an environmental hazard is unlikely to be present. However, new environmental regulations may require that all soil excavated from construction projects, regardless of past use, be certified as clean before disposal into quarries or gravel pits. The preliminary environment site assessment process would be used to assist in this determination. The ISGS presented the talk, "What's New with IDOT-ISGS Extranet" to the environmental staff of IDOT's BDE. This talk featured discussion of electronic mapping of boreholes and the ability to export georeferenced borehole data into AutoCAD. (Contacts: A. Erdmann and M. Yacucci)
ISGS to Co-Sponsor National Ground Water Summit
The ISGS is a co-sponsor of the second annual Ground Water Summit to be held in San Antonio, Texas, in April 2006. The Summit is designed to engage local, national, and international science partners in a setting that facilitates the exchange and dissemination of technical information and new science developments, allows a means for discussing policy and regulatory issues pertaining to ground water, and promotes goodwill between scientists and engineers worldwide. The Summit sessions, workshops, and field trips cover a wide range of topics to allow recent issues and advances in ground water science, technology, and policy to be brought to the forefront. Staff members are serving on the planning committee and convening the session on Hydrogeologic Mapping and Characterization. Abstracts are due November 18. (Contacts: B. Herzog and D. Keefer)
Oil Potential from Lower Paleozoic Rocks
Lower Paleozoic rocks of the Illinois Basin represent an important, yet underexplored target. Of the 4 billion barrels of oil produced from the Illinois Basin, only 7.5% has been from lower Paleozoic rocks. The U.S. Department of Energy is funding a project to develop a digital play portfolio for the lower Paleozoic rocks that could improve exploration and development strategies in the Illinois Basin. The play analysis will be conducted by members of the Illinois Basin Consortium using analytical techniques to visualize and image structural evolution of the basin; innovative methods to mine, refine, and update old data and create new databases; and proven, modern technology transfer methods to efficiently reach a wide audience at low cost. (Contact: B. Seyler)
Chicago "Last Four Miles" Committee Organized
Chicago's world-class urban shoreline has four miles of shore land that does not yet have public access. This portion is the "unfinished" part of a vision for a continuous park along the entire city lakefront. The Chicago-based Friends of the Parks has organized an ad hoc committee of technical experts to develop preliminary concepts and plans for this parkland completion, including an ISGS coastal geologist who will provide geotechnical information. The first meeting of the committee occurred in Chicago on September 22. In part, the committee is driven by the desire to have this "Last Four Miles" project well advanced or even in construction by 2009. That year is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Plan of Chicago in which authors Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett presented their landmark vision for Chicago's lakefront park system. (Contact: M. Chrzastowski)
Centennial Field Trip
In addition to the public field trips that the ISGS conducts annually, the Survey is conducting several small field trips during its year-long Centennial from May 2005 to May 2006. The first Centennial Celebration Field Trip took place on October 15 and 16. This special two-day field trip explored southern Illinois. On Saturday, participants visited Ferne Clyffe State Park, Tunnel Hill, Bell Smith Springs Natural Landmark and Scenic Area, and Mill Stone Bluff. On Sunday, they visited the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, an abandoned fluorspar mine, Rim Rock Recreation Area, the faulted Horseshoe Upheaval, and Old Stone Face. The field trip was led by three geologists. Numerous positive comments were relayed by the field trip participants, including this one: "As a veteran of many field trips, I must say that these past two days were the best." (Contact: W. Frankie)
The Discovery of Carbonate Rootlets in Last-Glacial Eolian Sediments in Illinois
Geologists know that the carbon and oxygen isotope ratios of genuine biogenic soil carbonates are uniquely important for studying paleoclimate and ecosystem changes. But all currently known soil carbonates in the world, such as nodules, concretions, coatings, and fillings cannot rule out the non-biogenic carbon "contaminate". Recently, ISGS geologists have discovered a 10,000-year record of carbonate rootlets from the eolian silt sediments formed during the late Wisconsin glacial episode in southern Illinois. The evidence showed that the carbon source for the carbonate rootlets was purely derived from the root/microbial respiration. The ISGS geologists found that the stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios of these carbonate rootlets were indicators of growing-season climate and ecosystem. They also found that the long-term seasonal anomalies in southern Illinois during the last glaciation resembled El Niňo-Southern Oscillation patterns that prevail in the Midwest today. The significance of these findings have been published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2004. (Contact: H. Wang)
Emerald Dragonfly Symposium
An ISGS wetlands geologist presented geochemical information at a symposium on the federally endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly. The symposium was held by the Forest Preserve District of Will County in Joliet. The geologist presented chloride and conductivity measurements that he had collected from surface water in Lockport Prairie during a 2005 snowmelt episode. Chloride measurements exceeded water-quality standards in several locations, although the measurements varied greatly. Areas of the preserve where high chloride levels were found are generally not utilized by the Hine's emerald dragonfly as larval habitat, suggesting that high chloride contents may negatively impact the aquatic stage of this species. Additional measurements are required to explore this trend. (Contact: J. Miner)
One ISGS publication and two outside publications (listed below) were released this month. Twelve unpublished preliminary environmental site assessments were completed this month.
OFS 2005-1. Database for the characterization and identification of the sources of sodium and chloride in natural waters of Illinois, S.V. Panno, K.C. Hackley, H.H. Hwang, S. Greenberg, I.G. Krapac, S. Landsberger, and D.J. O'Kelly. 21 p. 3.4 KB $13.00.
Ballestero, T., B. Herzog, and G. Thompson, 2005, Monitoring and sampling in the vadose zone in D.M. Nielsen, ed., Practical Handbook of Environmental Characterization and Ground-Water Monitoring, 2nd edition: Boca Raton, Florida, CRC Taylor & Francis. p. 207-248.
Chrzastowski, M.J., 2005, Chicago—A model world-class urban beach: Shore and Beach: Journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, v. 73, no. 4.
Updated 07/19/2012 SLD