ISGS - January 2009 Activity Highlights
ISGS - Home Page of the Illinois State Geological Survey
Scientists Bill DiMichele, (left), and ISGS staff member, John Nelson.
Cooperative Coal Geology Studies Underway
For 10 days, Illinois State Geological Survey scientists Scott Elrick and John Nelson collaborated with researchers Isabel Montañez from University of California-Davis and Neil Tabor from Southern Methodist University as well as their students. The group examined Illinois coal underclays, from core samples and at the mine, to determine their carbon and oxygen isotopes. Additionally, Elrick and Nelson collaborated with Bill DiMichele of the Smithsonian Institute and Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, London, for nine days. This group conducted studies on the paleobotanical ecology of Pennsylvanian age peat mires and the depositional framework of Illinois' major coal beds. (Contact: Scott Elrick)
Annual Review of Non-Fuel Mineral Industry
Zak Lasemi and Don Mikulic of the Illinois State Geological Survey completed the annual review of Illinois' nonfuel mineral industry for the United States Geological Survey's Yearbook. In terms of value, industrial minerals continue to be Illinois' leading mineral resource commodity, surpassing coal and oil and gas. Economic analysis indicates that, because of their large impact on construction and transportation infrastructure, every dollar's worth of industrial minerals consumed in Illinois contributes directly and indirectly to $500 of Illinois' gross state product (GSP). Illinois continues to be among the top five states in the production of crushed stone. The state also has been a major producer and manufacturer of construction sand and gravel, industrial sand, and Portland cement. The combined values of crushed stone and sand-and-gravel aggregate materials continued to account for more than 60% of the value of Illinois' industrial minerals. The Silurian and Ordovician dolomite mined in and near Chicago in northeastern Illinois accounted for most of the total stone production in the state.
Value of Illinois industrial minerals, 2007
Road maintenance and improvement are major sources of demand for the state's crushed stone, sand and gravel, and cement. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois has the third largest network of state and local roads and the sixth largest interstate highway system in the country. The state also has more than 26,000 bridges, 8,227 of which are in the state highway system, which is heavily used. A significant number of bridges need repair or replacement, as do many stretches of the interstate highway system and many state and secondary highways and roads. Large amounts of crushed stone, sand and gravel, and cement are required to maintain interstates and major highways and to improve congested urban and rural highways.
Illinois' non-fuel mineral industries will be faced with several challenges in the coming years: obtaining adequate government funding for continued transportation infrastructure improvements, supplying sufficient high-calcium limestone to rapidly expanding flue gas desulfurization systems at coal-fired power plants, resolving the conflicting public demands for environmental protection and resource use, and dealing with increasing public opposition to mining. The repair and maintenance of the highway system and environmental remediation require local availability of high-quality aggregate and high-calcium limestone. With construction aggregate constituting approximately 80% of concrete pavement and more than 90% of asphalt, durable aggregate will continue to be in high demand throughout the state for years to come. (Contacts: Zak Lasemi and Don Mikulic)
Study of Mt. Simon Sandstone Carbon Sequestration Potential Completed
Bedrock geologists Hannes Leetaru, Illinois State Geological Survey, and John McBride, Brigham Young University, have completed a study entitled, "Reservoir Uncertainty, Precambrian Topography, and Carbon Sequestration in the Mt. Simon Sandstone, Illinois Basin." Study results will be considered for publication by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Division of Environmental Geosciences. The study, which involved reprocessing of seismic reflection data in southeastern Illinois, deals with the influence of pre-existing Precambrian basement topography on the deposition of the Cambrian sediments that ultimately become the Mt. Simon Sandstone reservoir. The study results should be useful for interpreting seismic reflection data acquired over planned sequestration sites farther north in the Illinois Basin. Hannes Leetaru and John McBride also are working on a topical report for the U.S. Department of Energy on interpretation of the seismic reflection data. (Contact: Hannes Leetaru)
Seismic Safety Report Completed
Illinois State Geological Survey engineering geologist Robert Bauer, as head of one of four subcommittees for the Illinois Seismic Safety Task Force, submitted the final report of the subcommittee to the Task Force. The subcommittee reviewed the current use of only one map denoting earthquake hazards in the state from only one earthquake (seismic source) (this map is used for guiding literature dissemination to insurance policy holders), earthquake loss estimation models, and earthquake monitoring and notification. The Task Force findings and recommendation are being assembled into a final report by members of the governor's office. (Contact: Bob Bauer)
Trace Element Mineral Exploration in Illinois Coal
A mineral exploration company, looking at gallium (Ga) and germanium (Ge) values in Illinois coal and fly ash, wants to conduct additional analyses on coal from all of the active coal mines in Illinois with the assistance of the Illinois State Geological Survey Coal Section. As part of this project, Professor Liliana Lefticariu of the Geology Department at Southern Illinois University will be involved in trying to determine where these elements occur in the coal. Both Ga and Ge have increased in value during the last decade due to their use in fiber optic cable, night vision technologies, and photovoltaic panels. Coal has been the major source of Ga and Ge, most of which has come from China. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Coal Development and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute have voiced an interest in this project. (Contact: Dave Morse)
Geochemical Study for British Columbia Project Funded
Geoscience BC will provide $16,300 in funding to the Illinois State Geological Survey during 2009-2010 for a report on the till geochemistry of the Bulkley River valley in central British Columbia, Canada. Geoscience BC had sought submissions from scientific and technical experts from industry, government, First Nations, academia, communities, and not-for-profit organizations to apply innovative methods or techniques to stimulate mineral exploration activity in British Columbia. The group welcomed the collaboration of ISGS glacial geologist Andrew Stumpf to analyze geochemical data from the region and to publish the findings. Stumpf was chosen because of his expertise in glacial geology and sediment geochemistry and his past research studies in central British Columbia. This research funding will support ongoing collaborative studies being undertaken by Geoscience BC and the Government of British Columbia in partnership with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Northern Development Initiative Trust (Northern Trust), and the Geological Survey of Canada. The funding will support the salary of a student intern for two months. (Contact: Andrew Stumpf)
Updated 07/30/2012 SLD