ISGS - October 2009 Activity Highlights
ISGS - October Monthly Activities
ISGS Awarded Three-year Grant
The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and its research partners have received a three-year grant under the Integrated Design, Modeling, and Monitoring of Geologic Sequestration of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide to Safeguard Sources of Drinking Water research program (EPA-G2008-STAR-H1). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) awarded four grants under this program: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/504/records_per_page/ALL
The proposal, Protecting Drinking Water by Reducing Uncertainties Associated with Geologic Carbon Sequestration in Deep Saline Aquifers, has five tasks designed to reduce the uncertainties related to geologic carbon sequestration in the Illinois Basin and other open basins. The project period is from November 2009 through November 2012. The budget is $897,225. The principal investigator is William Roy of the ISGS. The newly funded project will work in conjunction with the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) to collect samples and data from the injection and deep monitoring wells at the Illinois Basin – Decatur project site. The tasks are summarized below.
The first task involves the review of available hydrogeologic data from 10 natural gas storage fields completed in the Mt. Simon Sandstone in the Illinois Basin. These data will be vital to improving our understanding of the storage field geology and the hydrodynamics of fluid flow within the Mt. Simon Sandstone. (Technical leader: Edward Mehnert, ISGS)
For the second task, Stanford University researchers will evaluate vertical pressure profiles for monitoring CO2 and brine migration from the injection zone. This task will feature the use of the Westbay system, a modular monitoring platform that allows continuous monitoring of fluid pressure and discrete sampling of groundwater from multiple zones in a single borehole. (Technical Leader: Sally Benson, Stanford University).
For the third task, available regional flow and transport models will be enhanced to reduce risk. These models include a MODFLOW model for bedrock aquifers in northeastern Illinois and a dual-phase model of geologic carbon sequestration in the Mt. Simon Sandstone. At a minimum, the iterative use of these models will allow us to develop better boundary conditions for both models. Data mined in Task 1 should also enhance this effort. (Technical Leaders: Yu-Feng Lin, Illinois State Water Survey and Chittaranjan Ray, University of Hawaii)
For the fourth task, geochemical experiments will be conducted at elevated pressures and temperature to determine the type and kinetics of the reactions that are likely to take place between CO2, the Mt. Simon Sandstone, and the Eau Claire Shale caprock. New core samples (provided by the MGSC) and the brine samples collected in Task 2 will be used in this effort. Experimentally determined reaction products will be compared with those predicted by geochemical modeling. (Technical leader: William Roy, ISGS)
For the fifth task, ISGS geochemists have identified about 25 areas in the Illinois Basin where saline groundwater discharges from bedrock. We will collect samples and determine the rate of discharge at each location. Using chemical and isotopic signature techniques, the source formations for each spring and seep will be determined. (Technical leader: Samuel Panno, ISGS)
Lab director, Hong Wang, in the OSL lab
ISGS OSL Dating Laboratory Opens
After two years of preparation, the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Laboratory is up and running and available for analysis. This research laboratory is able to provide OSL ages for eolian deposits and fluvial sediments younger than Illinoian age. All tests have been completed, including preheat plateau, thermal transfer, dose recovery, and extended SAR protocol. The laboratory uses a new Riso TL/OSL DA-20 and two low background Ge gamma spectrometers in the analyses. Hong Wang, director of the new laboratory, presented information about the laboratory and OSL dating results at the Sixth New World OSL Dating Conference, held at the University of Washington, Seattle, in October 2009. (Contact: Hong Wang)
Rock fall at Starved Rock State Park
Impact of Large Rock Fall in Starved Rock State Park
The park superintendent of Starved Rock State Park and an Illinois Department of Natural Resources district manager requested the investigation of a large rock fall that occurred below the Owl Canyon observation platform. Illinois State Geological Survey engineering geologist Robert Bauer met both representatives at the park on October 16, 2009, and investigated the fall of the cliff face into the Illinois River. The fall is located on the cliff below the platform that left an overhang near the platform's base. River erosion undercut the base of the cliff back to joints that parallel the cliff face, which caused the fall. The investigation found other slow rock movements at the top of the cliff that tilted two of the platform's six supports. Several pages of composite annotated pictures were presented to the park superintendent and district manager showing the fall's projection to the top of the cliff in relation to the platform's position and other precarious undercut rock masses near the platform. The platform area has been closed until the platform can be moved back from the current edge. (Contact: Bob Bauer)
Provost Robert Easter (center right, holding agreement) and ISGS scientist Yonqi Lu (far right) at the memorandum of understanding signing event between the University of Illinois and Zhejiang University in China.
Yongqi Lu was a member of a University of Illinois (UI) delegation visiting Zhejiang University (ZJU), a first-tier university in China, from October 19 to 21, 2009. The delegation, led by UI Provost Robert Easter, included five UI professors and Yongqi Lu. The purpose of the visit was to explore opportunities for collaborations on energy and environmental (EE) research programs between the two universities. During the visit, a symposium on EE was organized featuring the UI delegation and Chinese peers at ZJU with a focus on bioenergy production and utilization, carbon capture and sequestration, and cleaner coal utilization. A presentation by Lu summarized EE research activities of the Advanced Energy Technology Initiative, Illinois State Geological Survey, Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability. The presentation was highly recognized by the Chinese peers. A memorandum of understanding was signed by the two universities during this trip. A white paper is currently being prepared to identify research priorities and personnel exchange opportunities for future collaborations. (Contact: Yongqi Lu)
Geologist Attends Young Earth Scientists Conference
ISGS geologist Jiao Yong, left, Mary Seid, Dean Feller, and Sun Pengfei at the Young Earth Scientists Conference in Beijing, China.
With funding from the Geological Society of America, Illinois State Geological Survey geologist Mary J. Seid attended the First World Young Earth Scientists (Y.E.S.) Congress 2009. The Congress was held October 25-28 in Beijing, China, at the China University of Geosciences-Beijing. A rich and diverse program of technical presentations relating earth sciences to society made up the four-day program. The program included talks by young geoscientists from Austria, Australia, Italy, India, Tanzania, United States, Argentina, United Kingdom, China, Sri Lanka, Malawi, France, South Africa, Norway, Russia, The Netherlands, Mexico, and Brazil. Talks focused on many pressing issues including groundwater, natural disasters, health, energy and sustainability, climate, mineral resources, megacities, deep earth, oceans, soils, biodiversity, digital earth engineering, geoparks, and geoheritage conservation. Discussion roundtables were unique to this conference and covered topics including Women in the Geoscience Workforce, Climate Change, Natural Hazards, Transfer of Credentials and International Licensure, Natural Resources and Energy Sustainability, Issues Facing Geoscience Education and Research, Industry-Academic Linkages, and a final Synthesis and Strategy roundtable. The Synthesis and Strategy session identified a number of key findings for active work by the Y.E.S. Network. The more than 300 senior and junior scientists in geological surveys and industries from around the world will depend on cutting-edge science, communication, and a strong vision in order to arrive at strategies to address the issues identified by the Congress.
The Y.E.S. Congress 2009 was a launching pad for the future. The Y.E.S. Network intends to increase its membership and increase awareness of the issues connecting the geosciences and society through visibility at numerous international conferences, education, and outreach in the present countries of membership. The Y.E.S. Network will build on the support of many international organizations (including UNESCO, International Year of Planet Earth [IYPE], and the International Union of Geological Sciences) and United States organizations (including Geological Society of America and the American Institute of Professional Geologists). The Y.E.S. Congress was organized as a direct result of IYPE, which occurs during 2007-2009 and aims to contribute in making societies safer, healthier, and more prosperous by using largely underutilized earth science knowledge in decision making. The aim of the Y.E.S. Congress was to connect young earth scientists from around the globe and to identify many crucial issues that the Y.E.S. Network can focus on in the immediate future. The Y.E.S. Network was envisioned by a group of earth scientists who realized the growing need to educate policy makers on earth science issues that will significantly affect the younger generation. With climate change, a growing world population, and global economies, the political support of the geosciences is absolutely necessary. The future belongs to the incoming generation of earth scientists. Well-informed politicians make better policies, and the Y.E.S. Network is committed to increasing teamwork, collaboration, outreach, and connection of the next generation of politicians with earth scientists. The next Y.E.S. Congress will be held in conjunction with the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia, in 2012. For more information about the Y.E.S. Congress, please visit http://www.yescongress2009.org/index.php. (Contact: Mary Seid)
Opportunities for Onshore/Offshore Geophysical and Environmental Protection Monitoring Experiments in the Great Lakes
The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) contributed to the USArray and EarthScope plans for obtaining broadband seismic and magnetotelluric data using ocean bottom and lake bottom seismometers and magnetotelluric stations as a complement to the USArray as it approaches the Great Lakes. The planned arrival of the EarthScope's seismic array (USArray) to the Midwest offers a unique opportunity for scientists to learn more about the crustal and mantle structure of the Illinois region. Simultaneous deployment of the lake-bottom broadband seismometers and magnetotelluric stations in Lake Michigan will complement the land-based transportable array and possible flexible array campaigns in the area and provide an unprecedented dataset to study the Earth structure in this region. Because a significant part of the midcontinent rift is located beneath the Great Lakes, dense instrument coverage in and around Lake Michigan will enable a detailed study of its structure and should advance our understanding of its origin. It is very important for the ISGS to participate in the Earthscope Great Lakes initiative.
The Earthscope Great Lakes initiative discussion was organized primarily by Bob Woodward, director of USArray on May 12, 2009, during the EarthScope National Meeting in Boise, Idaho. The discussion was intended to give both a general and broad overview of bottom geophysical stations and data quality and to give the user specific capabilities to determine when and where data quality issues arise. During the meeting, the ISGS contributed to the Earthscope Great Lakes initiative by developing a conception of the Great Lakes Geophysical Observation System based on using offshore underwater cables that can support a set of geophysical equipment. Such a system would be a step toward development of the Great Lakes bottom cable geophysical observatories, which would allow automatic or semiautomatic data collection and measurements and would be coordinated in time with all stages of development from exploration through construction, operation, and liquidation. Integration of the system in the offshore underwater cables infrastructure will be an important in providing a tool for Great Lakes environmental protection.
In recognition of the ISGS contribution to the planning process with the presentation entitled "Illinois-Lake Michigan EarthScope Seismic Experiment" during the national meeting, ISGS was invited to participate in the Workshop for an EarthScope Science Plan (WESP), which was held on October 7 to 9, 2009, at Snowbird, Utah, to discuss the USArray and EarthScope Science plan for the next 5 to 10 years. The final science plan document is due to the National Science Foundation no later than January 31, 2010. (Contact: Yevgeniy Kontar)
Lake County Orthorectification Project Completed
Mark Yacucci of the Illinois State Geological Survey completed a contract with Lake County to orthorectify selected years of aerial photographs of the county. The project was delivered to Lake County October 2, 2009. Orthorectification was completed for Lake County aerial photographs for 1961, 1980 through 1981, 1984 through 1986, and 1993. The photographs will be used by the Lake County GIS group for its projects. Individuals interested in this information should contact Lake County. (Contact: Mark Yacucci).
Yevgeniy Kontar (right) at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2009 conference
Illinois State Geological Survey Staff Members Elected to Positions in Scientific Societies
Pius Weibel was elected President of the Great Lakes Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology.
Sheena Beaverson was elected to the Illinois GIS Association Board of Directors in October 2009 for a two-year term. As a board member, Beaverson will serve on the Web site committee and also on the 2010 fall conference planning committee.
Yevgeniy Kontar was selected as an executive member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fellows Committee and participated in evaluation of the AGU 2009 Fellows nominees.
ISGS Members Speak at Several Meetings
Illinois State Geological Survey scientists presented eight talks, were co-authors on an additional four talks, and led a workshop in geologic mapping at the Geological Society of America meeting in Portland, Oregon, in October 2009.
Yevgeniy Kontar presented the poster "EarthScope Wabash Valley Geophysical Experiment in Illinois" and discussed optimizing an experimental design for the combined seismic/magnetotelluric experiment in Illinois during the Workshop for an EarthScope Science Plan (WESP) on October 7, 2009, at Snowbird, Utah. The presentation concerned testing a novel geophysical framework and scientific concept as a part of a collaborative NSF project proposal led by the Illinois State Geological Survey.
Keith Hackley and Samuel Panno attended the Central-Eastern U.S. Earthquake Hazards meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, October 28-29, 2009. Panno gave a PowerPoint presentation, and Hackley and Panno presented a poster titled "Holocene-Age New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquakes: New Data from the Initiation/Regrowth of Speleothems in Midwestern U.S. Caves."
Zakaria Lasemi gave two talks on Illinois industrial minerals at the Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals in Delaware, Ohio, on October 5, 2009.
Pius Weibel led 25 participants in the Great Lakes Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology Annual Field Conference in far southern Illinois. The trip was titled "Ancient Landscapes of the Shawnee Hills, Southern Illinois." Participants visited numerous sites on the western half of the Shawnee Hills and the Cache River valley on October 3, 2009.
Hong Wang attended the Sixth New World OSL [Optically Stimulated Luminescence] and Dosimetry Workshop in Seattle, Washington, October 22-24, 2009, and presented the paper "OSL Dating of Glaciofluvial Sand in Minnesota and Illinois."
Scott Elrick presented two talks on the Danville, Illinois, Coal Fossil Forest to the Midwest Environmental Conference held at the Forbes Natural History Building at the University of Illinois.
Xiaodong Miao gave a talk at the Illinois Soil Classifiers Association Fall Tour on October 23, 2009, held at Petersburg, Illinois. The talk, "Understanding the Loess and Sand Dunes along the Middle Illinois River," reviewed the Wisconsin and Illinois Episode glaciations, the coupled system of loess and sand dunes, and the application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating on loess and sand dunes in that area. Miao also helped run the Illinois Soil Classifiers Association Fall Tour, organized by soil scientist Jim Hornickel, National Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Springfield. The tour area is located in Mason and Menard Counties along the Middle Illinois River, where sand dunes are located upwind of the thick loess table. Approximately 30 people, including soil scientists, geologists, and a natural resource conservationist, participated in this tour.
Zakaria Lasemi presented a talk at the Illinois-Indiana Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologist's fall meeting titled "Current Activities at the ISGS" in Lisle, Illinois, on October 21, 2009.
Sheena Beaverson presented a paper at the Illinois GIS Association's 2009 fall conference, held in Naperville, Illinois, October 6, 2009. The talk was titled "Illinois Height Modernization Program, Providing Access to High-Resolution Elevation Data."
Participating in Educational Events
Daniel Adomaitis ran a booth, conducted activities, and met with students as part of the Third Annual Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Career Day held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on October 1, 2009. The event offered high school and junior high students an opportunity to explore careers in the transportation industry; Adomaitis' booth focused on the importance of the geosciences to transportation issues. Fifteen schools and more than 250 students attended the event. Although this event is typically restricted to IDOT participants, ISGS was invited to attend this year.
Chris Stohr discussed glaciers, the glacial history of Illinois, and "Illinois from Outer Space" during an education day at Fairmont Minerals at Wedron, Illinois, on October 14, 2009. Exhibits and demonstrations were made by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Wedron Silica, Dyno Nobel, and other groups. More than 200 students from Ottawa High school attended.
2009 Governor's Conference on Management of the Illinois River
Andrew Phillips chaired the Second Digital Technologies Open House, a workshop in which governmental and non-governmental organizations provided opportunities to explore their data and tools for addressing ecosystem issues. The workshop was part of the Governor's Conference on the Management of the Illinois River, held October 21-22, 2009, in Peoria. Eight organizations participated this year, and one organization was recruited for the next conference. About 25 people attended. Phillips was also on the conference organizing committee. (Contact: Andrew Phillips)
Presentations on Chicago Lakeshore
Coastal geologist Michael Chrzastowski was one of the speakers at a symposium at Loyola University in Chicago on October 9, 2009, celebrating the 1909 Plan of Chicago centennial. The symposium was held in the Mundelein Auditorium with approximately 100 people in attendance. On Saturday, October 24, Michael Chrzastowski was the guest speaker for the Austin Wyman Lecture sponsored by the Edgewater Historical Society in Chicago. The presentation addressed Chicago lakefront geology and was held at the Edgewater Library Auditorium with approximately 50 people in attendance. (Contact: Michael Chrzastowski)
Survey Staff Members Speak to University Classes
William Roy presented a seminar to the Department of Geology at Southern Illinois University titled "The Geochemistry of Geosequestration."
Yevgeniy Kontar gave an invited presentation entitled "Hazards Related to Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions" and conducted a creative scientific discussion among students and faculty members at the University of Illinois Geology Colloquium October 2, 2009.
Robert Bauer made a presentation "Earthquakes in the Central U.S.: Their Impacts and What to Expect" to 600 students in the University of Illinois geology class on natural disasters.
Brett Denny presented a lecture about the geology of southern Illinois to 25 students in Dr. John Sexton's Southern Illinois University geology class about the geology of southern Illinois on October 23, 2009. Denny also led a field trip to southeastern Illinois for 10 students in Dr. Richard Fifarek's mineralogy class to see fluorite, Hicks Dome, and Garden of the Gods.
New Core Petrography Camera Available for Use
A new camera and lighting setup has been purchased by the Illinois State Geological Survey Oil and Gas Section for core photography. The equipment is housed in the Geological Samples Library. The setup includes a Canon EOS 50D camera, an 18-55-mm lens, a laptop including the cameras software, and two high-intensity metal halide lights with diffusers. By using the remote shooting and focusing on the laptop coupled with the high-intensity lights, glare that is typically associated with core photography is eliminated and high-resolution professional photos are obtained. (Contact: Jared Freiburg).
Updated 07/31/2012 SLD