ISGS - December 2010 Activity Highlights
ISGS - December Monthly Activities
Illinois' Biggest Erratic?
In southern Illinois, near Texico in Jefferson County, about 50 miles north of the southernmost extent of continental glaciation in the northern hemisphere, lies perhaps the largest erratic in Illinois. Erratics are exotic rocks brought to Illinois by the continental glaciers of the Great Ice Age as they scoured, scraped, and plucked pieces of bedrock during their southward advance. This erratic, composed of pink granite most likely originating from the Canadian Shield north of Lakes Huron and Superior is particularly interesting because of its size (about 22 feet × 10 feet × 11 feet), estimated weight (more than 100 tons), and its location. The erratic is about 75 miles south of the southern limit of the last glaciation (Wisconsinan) that occurred about 23,000 years ago. The rock was transported about 1,000 miles by the glaciers of the Illinoian or earlier glaciations about 150,000 years ago. Erratics of this size are very rare, particularly so far south.
The large erratic has grooves on one side, indicating some scouring on its journey or that these grooves may have occurred prior it being picked up by the ice. However, if the erratic had been at the bottom of the glacier for an extended time period, it would have been ground up. To remain intact for such a long journey, the erratic must have been on top of or within glacial ice. Further brief inspection of the region around the erratic revealed numerous smaller erratics (diameters of 1 to 4 feet). Some were exotics and others had lithologies of local shale. This concentration of erratics might be a smaller scaled version of the "boulder belt" near Ohio's glacial terminus. As the underlying ice, containing boulders, melted and the glacier receded northward, the boulders—like a conveyor belt—were brought to the surface of the ice and deposited.
The Texico erratic, known affectionately as "Elephant Rock" by landowners Mike and Sarah Waite, has been the venue for picture taking at family holidays and special occasions for about 60 years. Apparently the erratic recently "fell" from the side of the creek, rotated, and is now residing in the creek bottom. According to Sarah Waite, the dark band on the rock represents the original ground surface prior to the rock falling in towards the creek in recent years. When she first viewed the rock, only the upper, lichen-covered portion of the rock was exposed, and it looked like the back of an elephant. (Contacts: Dave Grimley and Dick Berg)
A screen capture of ILMINES in the area of Springfield, IL.
New GIS-based Tools Available Online
Two new Web mapping interfaces were released on the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) Web site. Both integrate address-based location information from Google Maps with the dynamic presentation of ISGS GIS data.
The ILMINES viewer displays an overview of coal and non-coal mine data that will assist the public in determining if the land area of interest may be undermined; the viewer also provides dynamic links to additional coal mine-related maps and reports that contain detailed information. The Illinois Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Locator tool locates an Illinois address and displays township, range, and section information, as well as longitude and latitude coordinates and the U.S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute quadrangle name for the point of interest.
Introductory text describes how to use each map viewer and briefly explains the ISGS data presented. The map viewers are found under the "Data" link on the main ISGS Web page. (Contacts: Andrew Louchios and Chris Korose)
Lab technicians Shane Butler and Lois Yolksoulian work on the project from a lab in the Natural Resources Building.
Carbon Sequestration in Deep Saline Aquifers
The first annual project report was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in fulfillment of the 3-year project "Protecting Drinking Water by Reducing Uncertainties Associated with Geologic Carbon Sequestration in Deep Saline Aquifers." Project members include personnel from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), Illinois State Water Survey, Stanford University, and the University of Hawaii.
During the first year, a quality assurance project plan was created with input from all the investigators, submitted, and approved. Staff began meeting with the gas storage companies to review their data.
A geological model of the Illinois Basin Pilot Project was developed using data provided in the open literature. Based on this model, the ISGS performed simulations using the computer code TOUGH2 to predict the pressure buildup at an observation well located about 300 m from the injection well. The regional groundwater model (MODFLOW) was significantly improved by increasing the horizontal spatial resolution in northeastern Illinois, increasing the vertical spatial resolution at regional scale, and increasing the saturation stability of the groundwater flow model at the Ironton-Galesville aquifer on top of the Mt. Simon Sandstone.
Preliminary geochemical experiments were conducted with pressure vessels and core samples of the Mt. Simon Sandstone collected from the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project. A protocol was developed for safely pressurizing the reaction vessels with carbon dioxide using an air-driven, pneumatic pump. Experience was gained in assembling the pressure vessels after adding rock samples and a synthetic brine, and simultaneously heating and pressurizing the vessels to pressures and temperatures corresponding to injection formation conditions. A detailed core sampling and analysis plan was also created to ensure that sufficient sample would be available for each experiment and for chemical and mineralogical characterization.
Results showed that the saline springs of the Illinois Basin are coincident with geologic structures (faults, folds) within the Basin and coincident with the Basin margins. Formations of origin have been identified for most of the samples where halide data are available, and the ISGS should be able to identify, with reasonable certainty, the origin of all saline spring waters in the Illinois Basin. (Contact: William Roy)
New Mine Maps
Thirteen 7.5-minute quadrangle maps of abandoned mines in Marion, Randolph, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Montgomery, Christian, Macoupin, and Calhoun Counties were completed. These maps, accompanied by directories containing detailed information on the mine histories and sources of information, have been delivered in both paper and digital formats to the Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund, the project sponsor, and to Illinois Department of Transportation, and are released to the public at this time. The quadrangles are Centralia East, Centralia West, Coulterville, Tilden, Baldwin, Marquette Heights, Georgetown, Raymond, Raymond Northeast, Virden South, Farmersville, Sidell, and Brussels (with a portion of Kampsville) Quadrangles. These maps and directories will help government planners, developers, and private citizens identify areas that have been undermined. (Contact: C. Chenoweth).
Beverly Herzog receives the 2010 Keith E. Anderson Award of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) from Jack Henrich NGWA president.
ISGS Retiree Receives Association Award
Beverly Herzog received the Keith E. Anderson Award at the annual meeting of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) in Las Vegas on December 9, 2010. The award was presented by the Scientists and Engineers Membership Division (SEMD) of NGWA in recognition of outstanding contributions to the association. In nominating Herzog, Vickie Kertsinger Grabert, past chair of the NGWA SEMD Board said, "Bev has distinguished herself in working effectively with the four membership divisions of NGWA. She has also proven effective in launching initiatives important to the groundwater industry and the nation's groundwater resources."
"Bev helped design a survey submitted to the states on the current and future understanding of groundwater resources availability and monitoring needs," Kretsinger added. "Bev was instrumental in the step-by-step approaches taken to build relationships that led to specific requests for financial support to accomplish nationwide monitoring and groundwater resources evaluation goals." Herzog also played an important part in the establishment and success of the Ground Water Summit, the NGWA's premier gathering of groundwater scientists and engineers, now heading into its seventh year of existence.
"Bev Herzog exemplifies what a 'working member' of a board should be. NGWA has benefitted greatly from her hard work and expertise, and the grace with which she has used both to accomplish great things for NGWA and the entire groundwater industry," said NGWA President Jack Henrich.
Herzog retired from the Illinois State Geological Survey in August 2010. (Contact: Beverly Herzog)
Hackley Receives Best Paper Award
Keith Hackley received the Geological Society of America (GSA) Coal Geology Division's Best Paper Award for his talk entitled "Monitoring injection gas with isotope analyses at a CO2-sequestration pilot study in a coal seam in Illinois" presented in the "Advances in Clean Coal Technology: Carbon Sequestration and Enhanced Resource Recovery" oral session at the 2010 annual meeting of GSA, held in Denver, Colorado. (Contact: Keith Hackley)
Michael Chrzastowski (far left) watches Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sign an Executive Order furthering the Illinois application to the NOAA Coastal Zone Management Program.
Illinois to Join Coastal Zone Management Program
Senior coastal geologist Michael Chrzastowski was an invited guest to witness the signing of an Executive Order by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at Loyola University in Chicago on December 10, 2010. This Executive Order marks a major milestone in the continuing Illinois effort to join the federal Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Illinois is the only coastal state in the nation that is not part of CZM, a federal coastal program that began in the 1970s. However, Illinois is now on track to enter the program in late 2011. The Executive Order commits all State agencies concerned with Lake Michigan issues to support and comply with the State's pending CZM program. Once final application materials are approved by NOAA, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will receive approximately $2 million annually for project grants addressing stewardship, research, and education along the Illinois coast. Never before has the state had such a sustained budget stream designated specifically for the Illinois coast. The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) played a major role in advancing the state's CZM application to reach this stage. The CZM program will also provide the ISGS with funding opportunities for research, applied studies, and outreach related to Illinois coastal geology. (Contact: Mike Chrzastowski)
ISGS staff members Hong Wang, left, Yevgeniy Kontar, and Brandon Curry at the 2010 American Geophysical Union fall meeting
Natural disasters in 2010 (the magnitude 7.0 Haiti earthquake on January
12 and the magnitude 8.8 Chile earthquake on February 27) increased
Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) consideration of natural
hazards, geophysics, and risk assessment in Illinois. Yevgeniy Kontar,
of the ISGS, organized and conducted five scientific sessions in natural
hazards and hydrology during the 2010 American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Fall Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, held on December
Land-Ocean-Atmospheric Processes: Implication to Natural Hazards and the Global Carbon Cycle I
Land-Ocean-Atmospheric Processes: Implication to Natural Hazards and the Global Carbon Cycle II Posters
Natural Hazards General Contributions Posters
Groundwater Inputs to Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans I Posters
Groundwater Inputs to Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans II
These scientific sessions contributed to a better understanding of the physical phenomena behind natural hazards, disaster risk analysis, and the potential for triggered seismicity associated with geologic sequestration of CO2, which is important for Illinois. Scientific sessions organized by ISGS scientists promoted further research in an interdisciplinary framework focused on natural hazards, risk assessment, and reduction. Kontar was also a member of the AGU Fall 2010 Meeting Program Committee. He previously served as a member of the AGU Program Committee of the 2010 Meeting of the Americas in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. (Contact: Yevgeniy Kontar)
Updated 08/01/2012 SLD