ISGS - September 2008 Activity Highlights
September 2008 Activity Highlights
Holocene stratigraphy is shown in the far
bank of the Senachwine Creek.
Reconnaissance Analysis Completed for Senachwine Creek Watershed
The Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability Watershed Assessment Group includes representatives from Illinois State Water Survey (Bill White and others), Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) (Drew Phillips), and Illinois Natural History Survey (Greg Sass). Group members met with COE-Rock Island and Natural Resources Conservation Service representatives to conclude the reconnaissance analysis of ecosystem conditions in the Senachwine Creek watershed, Peoria and Marshall Counties. Reconnaissance activities were funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Drew Phillips, Geoff Pociask, and Jennifer Carrell of the ISGS constructed analytical maps that integrated new and archival observations of channel and landscape conditions. The group identified areas where land use and geology may have destabilized stream channels, leading to abnormally high sediment loads and poor habitat. The ISGS group decided to pursue feasibility analysis, including detailed channel surveying and hydraulics and hydrology modeling along two ~5-mile reaches of Deer and Little Senachwine Creeks. The project goal is to identify and design specific ecosystem restoration projects for each reach and implement those projects along one of the reaches while retaining the other as a control. Reconnaissance continues in the Ten Mile Creek watershed, Tazewell and Woodford Counties. (Contact: Drew Phillips)
ISGS Featured at IDOT Fall Program Meeting
Anne Erdmann and Dan Adomaitis spoke and gave a demonstration at the Illinois Department of Transportation's (IDOT) annual fall program development meeting, held in Springfield, Illinois. Erdmann talked about the use and limitations of the Geoprobe and magnetometer in conducting site assessment work for IDOT, and Adomaitis demonstrated the use of the Geoprobe and magnetometer. Erdmann provided input to IDOT's Land Acquisition staff regarding the All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) regulations that now apply to some of IDOT's land acquisition activities and answered questions from land acquisition staff on how AAI potentially affects their work. (Contact: Anne Erdmann)
White speleothems resemble a face and is
one of the only living witnesses to the 1811-1812 earthquakes.
Dating of Cave Sediments and Speleothems Attracts Press
Sam Panno, Keith Hackley, Brandon Curry, and Charles Knight are currently conducting research in cooperation with members of the University of Illinois Geology Department (UIGD), on earthquake-initiated stalagmites in caves of southern and southwestern Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana. The project is being funded by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Hackley was interviewed for news articles relating to that research project and to his poster presented at the fall 2008 Geological Society of America meeting. The poster was titled, "Paleo-seismic Activity from the New Madrid Seismic Zone Recorded in Stalagmites: A New Tool for Paleo-seismic History" authored by Sam Panno, C. Lundstrom (UIGD), Z. Zhang (UIGD), K. Hackley, B. Curry, and B. Fouke (UIGD). The story based on Keith's interview with Science Daily can be found at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080924185742.htm. Bob Bauer was interviewed by Discovery News about this project. (Contact: Keith Hackley)
Study on Limestone Fines for Desulfurization Completed
Zak Lasemi submitted the final contract report to the Illinois Clean Coal Institute, sponsor of a project studying the economic viability of limestone fines as a source of sorbents. Limestone-based desulfurization processes continue to be an effective strategy in enabling increasing, cleaner use of high-sulfur coal. To be economically viable, high-quality limestone resources need to be available locally and at low cost. One such abundant, yet largely unused resource is by-product "fines" that are produced in all Illinois limestone quarries. Use of quarry fines as a scrubbing agent could provide two major cost-saving advantages: (1) reduced energy cost from grinding, because the material has already been crushed down significantly, and (2) use of this by-product material, which is widely available at quarries at a relatively low cost. Quarry fines vary in quality and have not been previously characterized as a scrubbing agent. The ISGS project scientists conducted a detailed characterization of the fines from 36 representative quarries, especially those located near existing and potential new coal-fired power plants. Sieve analyses indicate that about 50% of the material in the examined quarry fines ranged in particle size from 0.187 to 0.0331 inch (-4 to 20 Tyler Mesh). Mineralogically, quarry fines closely resemble the composition of the parent material. Samples from the northeastern part of the state are predominantly dolomite, and those from the central, western, and southern portions are predominantly limestone. Silica is a major impurity in some of the quarry fines, ranging from 0.11 to 48.26%. However, silica content was less than 10% in the majority of the samples analyzed. Samples with high-silica content are associated with a cherty and siliceous limestone and/or dolomite parent material. Measured relative reactivity of selected quarry fines with respect to sulfur removal under wet flue-gas desulfurization conditions showed significant variation in dissolution performances. Dissolution performance appears to be negatively correlated with the amount of magnesium oxide and silica. The thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) desulfurization reactivity of selected quarry fines showed higher desulfurization reactivity than was determined for the parent material in earlier studies. The results of this study provide a useful database for the abundantly available by-product limestone fines that could be used as an affordable sorbent for desulfurization in Illinois coal-fired power plants. (Contacts: Zak Lasemi, Shane Butler, Yongqi Lu, Massoud Rostam-Abadi, and David Ruhter).
ISGS Drill Team members replace a coring bit during bedrock sampling and rillng along Reservation Road, southeast of Yorkville, Kendall County, Illinois.
Kendall County Resource Investigation Update
Ed Smith, along with Al Wehrmann, Illinois State Water Survey, met with representatives of the Kendall County Groundwater Resource Investigation Technical Advisory Committee on September 3, 2008, at the historic courthouse in Yorkville, Illinois. Later that day, Smith and Werhmann spoke to the mayors and managers of Kendall County during their quarterly meeting. The Survey representatives reviewed the results of the geologic and hydrologic investigations conducted for the county to date. Preliminary results of the geologic study indicate that no additional sources of groundwater have been identified in the glacial deposits overlying the bedrock. Results from geophysical testing, subsurface borings conducted by the Survey, and county-wide mapping of existing borings showed no areally significant sand and gravel deposits present. The lack of additional groundwater resources from unconsolidated materials means that Kendall County will need to continue to rely on existing bedrock aquifer sources, which are already being impacted by continued lowering of water levels in the region. Preliminary mapping of the unconsolidated deposits and creation of an aquifer vulnerability map indicate that the County may be a poor choice for landfills sites currently proposed or under consideration. Both groups were reminded of the primary importance of long-term management and conservation of the groundwater resource. (Contact: Ed Smith)
Summer Resistivity Field Work Completed
Tim Larson continued 2008 summer research work for mapping projects. In September, his resistivity field crew, which included Kent North and Tim Hodson, spent parts of two weeks at Allerton Park in Piatt County. The crew acquired resistivity data along the bottom of the Sangamon River and along an upland road. This work is in support of a Mahomet Aquifer project. This work concludes the summer season of resistivity data acquisition, although some small projects may be added in the fall, if time permits. (Contact: Tim Larson)
Central Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition Drilling
The 2008 drilling season began on September 8, 2008, with six sites scheduled for drilling in Lake County forest preserves and two in McHenry County Conservation District locations. Boreholes to bedrock were completed at Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve-Sterling Lake (total depth 145 feet), Lyons Woods upland (180 feet), and Lyons Woods lowland (170 feet). A fourth borehole at Greenbelt Forest Preserve is under way. Drilling this season is focused on acquiring high-quality core from locations along the crests of several moraines of the Lake Border Morainic System and in areas within and immediately adjacent to the Zion Quadrangle, which is the current STATEMAP mapping project in Lake County. (Contact: Mike Barnhardt)
New Coal Waste Project Funded
Shane Butler received funding from the Illinois Clean Coal Institute for a project to understand the nature of coal combustion by-products as manure fertilizer additives. Heavy metal contamination is a major focus of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as such contamination poses risks to both human health and the environment. Therefore, regulations concerning materials that contain heavy metals will continue to focus on methods of limiting their emissions from coal-fire power plants. Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) is one form of coal scrubber used in Illinois that produces waste materials containing variable concentrations of these trace elements. The use of FGD scrubbers and their by-products is expected to increase because of continued stringent federal and state regulations requiring significant reduction in sulfur oxide and other air pollutants, such as mercury. The concentrations of trace elements in coal combustion by-products (CCBs) depend on coal quality as well as the combustion process. Determining what heavy metals are present and the possible environmental impacts of those materials represent important issues in determining their use or disposal. If it can be determined that the environmental impacts of regulated trace elements can be minimized by their use as a fertilizer additive, that new use might be beneficial to agricultural practices. Therefore, the characterization of the initial CCBs, manure samples, and their end products is required to evaluate their potential impacts on surface and groundwater quality. (Contacts: Shane Butler, Zak Lasemi, and William Roy)
Funded Project to Capture CO2 from Flue Gas
The Illinois Clean Coal Institute (ICCI) has selected the Illinois State Geological Survey to develop a biocatalyst-promoted absorption process for the post-combustion CO2 capture from coal combustion flue gases. The main objective of the 18-month, $118,000 project is to develop and evaluate an enzyme catalyst to promote the absorption rate of CO2 in a vacuum potassium carbonate process. The process was developed at the ISGS and is currently patent pending. Particular efforts will be made to evaluate and minimize the impacts of the impurities from the Illinois coal combustion flue gas (such as sulfur and chlorine) on the activity of the catalyst. Immobilization techniques will be developed to maximize the activity of the catalyst immobilized onto selected matrix supports. (Contact: Yongqi Lu)
Invited Speaker at Earthquake Conference
Robert Bauer was an invited speaker at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's workshop on developing new guidelines for earthquake scenarios. The workshop was held in San Francisco, California, on September 17 and 18, 2008. Bauer summarized individual state and multi-state scenarios that have been developed since 1990 for earthquake exercises and earthquake loss estimation projects that have and are currently under way in the central United States. The 75 workshop participants developed lists of items for the new guidelines through group discussions. Work will continue on a new guidelines document that will be published by the Institute. (Contact: Bob Bauer)
Quaternary Geologist Presents Talk at International Meeting
Brandon Curry attended the 10th Annual INTIMATE (Integration of Ice Core, Marine, and Terrestrial Records) Conference in Oxford, England, from September 19-22, 2008. The group sets standards for high-precision correlation of records spanning the last glacial-interglacial transition, including the period from the end of the last glacial maximum and covering the climate oscillations during the early Holocene. For example, INTIMATE was instrumental in defining the latest key chronologic boundaries defined by NGRIP, a relatively new ice core from Greenland. Curry presented a paper on the paleohydrology and paleovegetation of the last interglaciation (Sangamon Episode) in the interior of North America (Missouri and Illinois, USA). The program was dominated by talks regarding high-resolution stratigraphy. (Contact: Brandon Curry)
Updated 07/24/2012 SLD