ISGS - June 2008 Activity Highlights
ISGS - Home Page of the Illinois State Geological Survey
Providing Flood Imagery
Image collected along the Mississippi River between Warsaw, Illinois, and La Grange, Iowa.
Scientists from the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois State
Water Survey, the Illinois Natural History Survey, and geography faculty
from Illinois State University are collaborating to process and interpret
satellite imagery collected over Illinois during June and early July 2008.
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin experienced significant
flooding during this period. As a result of this natural disaster, on
June 10, 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) activated the
The International Charter aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those
affected by natural or man-made disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency has committed
resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on
human life and property. (http://www.disasterscharter.org/)
The image at the right was collected along the Mississippi River between Warsaw, Illinois, and La Grange, Iowa. This color infrared image was collected by the French Spot satellite. Levee overtopping and breaching along the Illinois portion of the channel resulted in flooding of nearly 50 square miles of lowland agricultural lands.
Through cooperative relationships established between the USGS, the National Geospatial Agency, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal and international agencies, a variety of imaging satellites have been acquiring daily both medium- and high-resolution imagery over flood-impacted areas of these five states. In Illinois, this image collection has been primarily focused over the Mississippi River floodplain from Rock Island County to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in Alexander County. (Contact: Don Luman)
ISGS Mapping Posters Reach Wide Audience
At the request of ESRI co-founder and president, J. Dangermond, Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) geologist Barb Stiff provided a digital copy of a poster showing the use of ESRI products. The poster was originally presented at the 2005 Geological Society of America workshop, Three-dimensional Geological Mapping for Groundwater Applications, during the 2005 ESRI International Users Conference. Stiff was contacted because one of her two award-winning posters (ESRI best poster award) was on display at the ESRI Redlands headquarters. Several of Stiff's posters and maps have been submitted to the Library of Congress as part of the ESRI archive, including the poster featuring the stacked sequence of Illinois maps that became part of ISGS Illinois Map 10. (Contact: Barb Stiff)
Early Aerial Photos Available on Web Site
Status of early air photo digitization efforts.
During the past decade, the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) has been engaged in an ongoing project to digitize the earliest aerial photographs of Illinois and to place them in a digital archive for online distribution through the Illinois Natural Resources Geospatial Data Clearinghouse (Illinois Clearinghouse). Funding from the 2008 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant allowed the ISGS Library to digitize 953 photographs from four additional counties (Alexander, Jackson, Perry, and Randolph) and add them to the Illinois Clearinghouse. Through the ongoing collaborative efforts of the ISGS Library and the Illinois State Library, 62 of 102 Illinois counties are now Internet accessible.
As the ISGS and Illinois State Library worked toward completing the Illinois Historical Aerial Photography (ILHAP) project, more history about the aerial photograph collection was discovered. For instance, although the first aerial picture of Illinois was considered complete in 1939, further research revealed that two additional years were actually needed to get a "good" picture of the entire state. During the first four years of the original aerial photography, several new and improved aerial photographic techniques were established and standardized, leading to retakes of several thousand photographs in 1940 and 1941 over counties that were originally completed in 1936 and 1937. Well over 50,000 photographs were taken between 1936 and 1941, but only about 33,000 photographic prints from that period remain.
The original photographic prints were placed into controlled collections used by various government agencies and learning institutions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) retained the immense collection of original cellulose nitrate film negatives until the 1960s when it transferred the collection to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for safekeeping. Nitrate negatives, however, are unstable unless stored in climate-controlled areas. After a fire at a NARA storage facility in 1978, NARA decided it no longer wanted to store nitrate-based film and began a program to copy the original large-format nitrate film onto much safer, small-format acetate film. Unfortunately, the original negatives for the early Illinois aerial photographs were those that were destroyed. Many of the resulting small-format duplicate negatives are of poor quality and produce unusable photographic prints. Thus, the existing contact prints made directly from the original negatives are the only reliable high-quality images that Illinois has as a record of its first statewide aerial picture, and these are deteriorating.
In March 2001, the ILHAP project was initiated at the ISGS to digitally capture these existing original prints using exacting standards and make those digitized images Internet accessible to an expanded audience. Today there is an overwhelming interest and desire by the public to view these aerial time capsules, yet securing funding to complete this archive has been, and will continue to be, a challenge. The hope is to complete the statewide archive so that once again the first picture of Illinois will be available for all to see. (Contact: Dee Lund)
University of Illinois Geography Department Contributes to ISGS Outcrop Studies
A Leica reflectorless total station with integrated scanner and robotic surveyor and accompanying advanced GPS receivers are graciously being made available to the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and the University of Illinois Geography Department by Jim Best of the University of Illinois Geology Department. Chris Stohr is the designated resource person for the use of these complex instruments. He will process information for the ISGS and familiarize the Geology Department with the use of this advanced technology. The ISGS is using the equipment for detailed documentation and analysis of outcrops for preparing three-dimensional maps of facies, lithologic contacts, and textural changes.
Using this equipment, Chris Stohr, Steve Brown, and Don Keefer photographed glacial deposits exposed at the Wedron Silica facility in LaSalle County, Illinois. The borrowed instruments should improve the information obtained in this three-dimensional geologic mapping project for hydrologic modeling. Additionally, the equipment will benefit students who are being trained in the use of these state-of-the-art instruments for geologic investigations. (Contact: Chris Stohr)
ISGS Provides Assistance at Archeological Dig at Urbana's Founder's Park
ISGS scientists drill boreholes at Urbana's Founder's Park to seek evidence of early settlers.
Illinois State Geological Survey Quaternary (ISGS) geologists Steve Brown and Mike Barnhardt and geophysicist Tim Larson assisted University of Illinois archeologists and town officials in the characterization and identification of sediments and buried structures at three sites adjacent to Boneyard Creek in downtown Urbana. The location is thought to be near the site of a cabin built by one of the Urbana's founding fathers. This site is to become the location for a new city park, Founder's Park, in celebration of the Urbana's 175th anniversary.
Six boreholes (two hand-bucket augers and four PowerProbe) were advanced to depths ranging from 7.5 feet to 24 feet. The sediment encountered was identified as artificial fill of variable texture (generally from 7 to 10 feet below the land surface) overlying black, organic- and clay-rich silt (about 7 to 12 feet below the land surface) atop sand and gravel deposits. The fill is the result of many decades of construction and changing land use, as evidenced by the presence of brick, sand, and gravel incorporated into the fill. Also present at variable depths below the land surface are small pieces of slag, coal, and fine sand that may be the evidence of past industrial activities near the site. The organic-rich silt probably represents the land surface of the Boneyard Creek floodplain at the time of modern settlement. The sand and gravel appears to represent natural deposition on the floodplain by the creek, possibly in a point bar location. Cores and sediment samples collectedi from the six boreholes were examined, identified, and interpreted by the Survey geologists. Two cross sections and a brief interpretative document were prepared and presented to the archeologists.
Two of the sites were surveyed in a grid pattern using a ground-penetrating radar unit to help identify buried contacts and buried structures that may be related to both human and natural landscape activities. This survey provided real-time views of the subsurface and suggested areas for additional investigation. When processed, the radar data indicated the presence of disturbed ground at one site that possibly is related to past human activity. Radar images at the other site suggested the locations of old building foundations. Two descriptive posters of the radar work were prepared for the archeologist. Based on the preliminary drilling and geophysical work at the site, the archeologists decided to excavate in one area. (Contacts: Steve Brown, Mike Barnhardt, and Tim Larson)
Bridge Consultants Use Information from ISGS Stored Core
When a new Mississippi River bridge project was scaled back, revised design plans altered the location of the pylons for the four-lane cable-stayed bridge into the river. The move will require new, expensive borings. However, some information can be gained from examining the bedrock cores that were obtained from the original borings. Consultants have asked to examine those cores, which are stored in ISGS facilities, to see what geology, fractures, bedding, and other details are revealed. Core examination will give them some idea of what they can expect to find from the new boreholes in the Mississippi River.
The ISGS obtained the core and jar samples from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) District 8 and from Hanson Engineers, Springfield, Illinois, when IDOT ran out of storage space in 2004. All parties recognized the value of the samples. The IDOT transfer was for temporary storage at the ISGS for 10 years. Ve'Niecy Pearman-Green, Materials Section at District 8 in Collinsville provided copies of the boring logs for use in conjunction with the examination of the physical core. (Contact: Chris Stohr)
Updated 07/24/2012 SLD