ISGS - September 2009 Activity Highlights
ISGS - September Monthly Activities
Map showing the relationship of Zone 1, (land over the mapped mine extent and adjacent land), and Zone 2, (additional land beyond Zone 1), to mined areas and urban land cover classifications.
Coal Subsidence Mapping Project and Report Completed
Recent coal mine subsidence beneath a school in Benld, Illinois, has drawn increased attention to the importance of documenting and locating old mine workings. More than 4,000 underground mines with known locations have operated in Illinois. All but 12 coal mines and 10 industrial minerals/metals mines have been abandoned. Although subsidence has occurred over all types of mines in Illinois, most subsidence is related to coal mines because of the extensive areas underlain by these mines. However, one of the state's largest subsidence events occurred over a lead-zinc mine near Galena, Illinois.
The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) has released Circular 575, The Proximity of Underground Mines to Urban and Developed Lands in Illinois, authored by Christopher Korose, Andrew Louchios, and Scott Elrick. The circular is an update of a 1991 study and contains maps and statistics per county on the proximity of both coal and non-coal underground mined areas to urban development The present study reflects newly available data and a revised assessment methodology that incorporates a mine depth, rules-based approach within the spatial calculations. Results of this study found that an estimated 333,000 housing units and approximately 201,000 acres of urban and developed lands are in close proximity to underground mines and may be exposed to subsidence. The work was funded, in part, by the Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund. (Contacts: Chris Korose, Andrew Louchios, and Scott Elrick)
Environment Screening Completed for Mendota
Dale Schmidt, of the Illinois State Geological Survey Environmental Sites Assessment Section, completed the terms of the contract with the City of Mendota by sending them the final contract report. The scope of the report included the identification of documented and previously undocumented environmental conditions and natural features that would potentially impact new acquisitions or proposed improvements to existing municipal properties. (Contact: Dale Schmidt)
Project on Coal Combustion By-products for Use in Fertilizer Completed
The volume of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) by-products is expected to increase as use of the desulfurization materials increases because of continued stringent federal and state regulations requiring significant reductions in sulfur oxide and other pollutants, such as mercury. Additionally, the agricultural profile of Illinois is changing to meet the demand for more ethanol. Resultant changes in fertilization methods and crop rotation, coupled with environmental requirements to upgrade to clean burning coal systems, could link the agricultural and power generation markets in the state of Illinois if FGD can be used as a fertilizer additive. Previous studies have shown that treating manure with coal combustion by-products (CCBs) such as FGD can provide beneficial results in stabilizing manure phosphorus and increasing yields. Many of the studies have not considered the mineralogical and chemical composition of FGD by-products when mixed with manure and the possible environmental impact from the leaching of potential groundwater contaminants.
The main objective of this project was to characterize and compare samples from three separate coal plants in Illinois in order to investigate the chemical and mineralogical composition of different ratios of FGD to manure. Mineralogical properties of FGD samples were determined using x-ray diffraction methods. Chemical composition was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy and whole rock analysis–x-ray fluorescence methods after the FGD-manure mixtures were subjected to a standard test method for shake extraction of solid waste with water. When the samples were exposed to water, bassanite was converted to gypsum. Chemical analysis demonstrated that the ratio of FGD to manure can determine the concentrations of soil nutrients, such as phosphate or calcium, that would directly impact crop variables such as root growth, crop yield, crop health, or growth rates. The concentrations of aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, nickel, lead, antimony, and zinc in the 18-hour laboratory extracts were at or less than analytical detection limits. Arsenic was not detected in any of the extracts. Selenium was present, but in trace amounts near analytical detection limits. The FGD samples contained mercury at concentrations less than that required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for classification as a low mercury waste for land-disposal restrictions. The reaction pH values of the sample mixtures suggested that potential groundwater contaminants would be relatively insoluble. Even with consideration of the chemical and mineral characteristics of the FGD-manure mixtures, it is still difficult to accurately predict environmental interactions in an open system, indicating additional work is needed before FGD-manure mixes can be applied in commercial agricultural practices.
The final technical report, entitled "Understanding the Nature of Coal Combustion By-products as Manure Fertilizer Additives," was submitted to the Illinois Clean Coal Institute. (Contact: Shane Butler)
Wireline log of a portion of the Knox Dolomite
Study of Carbon Sequestration Potential Funded
The Illinois State Geological Survey is the lead organization in a three-year U.S. Department of Energy-funded project to evaluate the carbon sequestration potential of the Cambrian-Ordovician strata of the Illinois and Michigan Basins. This area encompasses most of the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. This stratigraphic interval underlies much of the central United States and, for some areas, may be the only available carbon sequestration target. A best practices manual for site characterization to be developed during the project will help reduce storage risk by documenting the uncertainties related to fracturing, injectivity, and geochemical interactions for these specific formations. The research consortium is led by the Illinois State Geological Survey and includes Brigham Young University, Indiana Geological Survey, Kentucky Geological Survey, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and Western Michigan University. The project has a total value of $6 million and includes financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. (Contact: Hannes E. Leetaru)Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium Sequestration Technology Transfer Center Funded.
With nearly $1 million over three years from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) in conjunction with the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) will create a regional technology training center to disseminate carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology gained through leadership and participation in regional carbon sequestration projects. The MGSC Sequestration Technology Transfer Center (STTC) will provide education and training opportunities for engineers, geologists, service providers, regulators, executives, and others. MGSC STTC programs will work in accordance with state and regional job development programs to stimulate economic recovery and support development of trained personnel for commercial CCS projects. MGSC STTC will work with professional organizations and regional experts to leverage existing training opportunities while providing additional stand-alone training events. Training topics will include CCS project development, site characterization, permitting, reservoir engineering, monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA), simulation and risk assessment, and communications. Training will utilize a modular multi-track approach allowing different professional participants to customize training. Phase I will be nine months and will focus on management, development, and communication/information dissemination. Phase II will be two years focused on implementation and training, communication/information dissemination, and management.
MGSC STTC will benefit the Illinois Basin region by providing curriculum, outreach, and networking on five focal areas for carbon sequestration technology development: (1) capture, (2) geologic carbon storage, (3) MVA, (4) CO2 use, and (5) simulation and risk assessment. Further benefits will result from links between MGSC STTC, independent research entities, utilities, CO2 producers, and technology providers to develop CCS technology training and job development opportunities. MGSC STTC work should result in advancing the United States in its position as a leader in CCS technology, developing a training center, production of teaching materials, and production of workforce necessary for the CCS industry. (Contact: Sallie Greenberg)
ISGS Members Help Conduct Eastern Section AAPG Meeting
David Morse and others organized a very successful 38th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Section, American Association of Petroleum Geologists in Evansville, Indiana. ISGS provided many of the organizing committee chairs including David Morse, General Chair; Lisa Young, Finance Chair; Joan Crockett, Workshops and also Publicity Chair; LeAnn Benner and Andrew Louchios, Registration Co-chairs, Sally Denhart, Webmaster; Scott Elrick and Chris Korose, Audio/Visual Co-chairs; Cindy Briedis, Graphics Chair; and Jared Freiburg, Student Job Quest Co-chair. In addition, Bryan Huff, Bev Seyler, Yaghoob Lasemi, Zohreh Askari, David Morse, John Grube, James Damico, and Jared Freiburg presented papers or posters. Cheryl Nimz operated an ISGS exhibit and publications booth, and John Nelson and Scott Elrick led a coal geology field trip. The conference was 1½ years in the planning. At the Evansville meeting, David Morse received an award for the best Division of Environmental Geology oral paper for his presentation at the previous meeting in Pittsburgh. His paper dealt with the CO2 sequestration in coal project at the Tanquary site in southeastern Illinois.
The meeting attendance of 452 persons far exceeded the initial planning estimates. There were three one-day workshops and three one-day field trips spaced around the 75 technical presentations and posters. The meeting was hosted by the Illinois Geological Society and the Indiana-Kentucky Geological Society; both are affiliated societies of the AAPG. There were 56 exhibit booths, and substantial monetary and sponsorship donations were also made by local industry and professional associations. The Indiana Geological Survey provided considerable assistance, particularly in putting together the technical program and in running two of the field trips. Local geologists provided the remaining support. Shale gas was one of the major themes, reflecting the ongoing interest in the Devonian natural gas-bearing black shales of the East, most notably the Marcellus Shale, but also the New Albany and the Antrim Shales. Numerous sequestration papers and posters were presented, reflecting the abundance of research projects supported by the U.S. Department of Energy in the Eastern Region of the AAPG.
The field trip led by Scott Elrick and John Nelson explored two Illinois Basin Pennsylvanian age surface coal mines and gave trip participants the opportunity to safely make critical observations of the high wall exposures and their cyclothem strata.
Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC) workshops and field trips held in conjunction with the Eastern Section AAPG Meeting included the following:
- Workshop: Appraising and Developing Coalbed Methane Reservoirs, sponsored in part by the Eastern Region PTTC. There were 30 attendees. There was interest in exploration and development of Illinois Basin coalbed methane reservoirs.
- Field Trip: The Geneva Dolomite (Devonian) in the Illinois Basin; Field Trip and Core Pre-view. The core pre-view was September 22, 2009, and the field trip was September 23, 2009. Brian Keith of the Indiana Geological Survey was the trip leader. The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Region PTTC. There were 25 participants in this field trip.
- Field Trip: Coal Mines—Indiana and Illinois; Field trip leaders were ISGS geologists John Nelson and Scott Elrick. The trip was held September 20, 2009, and sponsored by the Eastern Region PTTC.
(Contact: David Morse)
Papers on Produced Water Presented at Two Conferences
Seyed Dastgheib, David Ruhter, and Chad Knutson were co-authors of two papers presented at the Water/Energy Sustainability Symposium of the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) Annual Forum held in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 13-16, 2009, and the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference (PCC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 20-23, 2009. The papers were related to produced water resources in the Illinois Basin as a supplemental source of water for coal-based power plants. The papers are available from the GWPC Web site and the PCC 2009 conference proceedings. (Contact: Seyed Dastgheib)
Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) geologists Keith Hackley, Brandon Curry, Sam Panno, and three professors from the University of Illinois Geology Department were the subject of a Nova Science Now special on September 1, 2009, entitled "Earthquakes in the Midwest."
Ed Mehnert prepared a presentation on the search for and the proposed monitoring plan for the lowermost underground source of drinking water at the Illinois Basin Decatur Project site. This presentation was given on September 23, 2009, at the annual Project Advisory Group meeting at the I Hotel in Champaign. Approximately 60 people attended the meeting to hear progress on this research program.
Dave Grimley and Alison Anders, University of Illinois Department of Geology, are co-teaching a class (Geology 493) on Quaternary deposits, landscapes, and processes in Illinois during fall 2009. The one-hour seminar class will feature as guest lecturers several Quaternary science specialists from the Illinois State Geological Survey.
Michael Chrzastowski was a guest lecturer on September 2, 2009, for graduate students in Architecture 571 taught by Professor Joy Malnar. Students in the class are designing shoreline redevelopment for the Lake Michigan shore at the Chicago-Evanston city line. The lecture addressed the coastal geology and coastal processes that needed consideration in the design effort.
Hong Wang talked to students from an archeaometry class taught through the Anthropology Department at the University of Illinois during two separate visits to the carbon-14 and optical stimulated luminescence laboratories in the Isotope Geochemistry Section of the ISGS. Approximately 12 students attended each visit.
Michael Chrzastowski delivered 32 sets of the three-part Geology of the Chicago Lakefront poster series to the offices of the Burnham Plan Centennial Committee in Chicago. These poster sets will be distributed to Chicago Public School teachers for use in lesson plans that address the history of building the Chicago lakefront.
Michael Chrzastowski was a guest at an appreciation dinner held in Chicago on September 29, 2009, at the Cliff Dwellers Club for all scientists, engineers, media representatives, and community officials who participated in the Last Four Miles Project. This project is an effort to establish the vision for completion of the lakefront park system first proposed by Daniel H. Burnham in 1909. In appreciation for the ISGS' participation in the 2009 Burnham Centennial, Michael Chrzastowski accepted from the Centennial Committee Chair on behalf of the ISGS a special edition reproduction of the 1909 Plan of Chicago.
Updated 07/31/2012 SLD