ISGS - January 2010 Activity Highlights
ISGS - January Monthly Activities
Fluorite resembles gems in its many colors and crustal structure, but is very soft and requires special care if it is set as jewelry.
Illinois State Mineral Still Newsworthy
The January 2010 issue of Outdoor Illinois, published by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, reported on fluorite, the state mineral of Illinois. Illinois State Geological Survey geologist Zakaria Lasemi provided much of the information for the article, titled "The Gem in Your Toothpaste." Lasemi is quoted several times in the article. He provided information about the origin of fluorite, the rise and decline of fluorite mining in the state, and the future potential of this mineral. He also indicated some of the mineral's many uses, which include smelting metal alloys, refining aluminum and uranium, and use in optics, lubricants, toothpastes, and plastics. (Contact: Zakaria Lasemi)
This dog effigy pipe carved at about 50 BC from northern Illinois Sterling pipestone was recovered from an Ohio Hopewell mound in the early 20th century. Photo courtesy of Thomas Emerson.
Thomas Emerson, Kenneth Farnsworth, Sarah Wisseman (all from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey), and Randall Hughes (Illinois State Geological Survey-Illinois State Archaeological Survey) performed 53 PIMA (portable infrared mineral analyzer) and Hunter color meter analyses on 24 Native American artifacts. These artifacts were borrowed from private collectors and several were from the Illinois State Museum. The analyses are part of a continuing effort to analyze and create a database of source quarries for all of the pipestone artifacts from the central United States. Most of these artifacts were made of pipestone from the Sterling and Rock Falls region of Illinois. These carved pipes and similar objects were highly valued in the Hopewell Culture (ca. 1,900-2,050 years before present). The objects were commonly unused and buried with important individuals. The effigy bowl pipes are also very highly valued by today's collectors. (Contact: Randy Hughes)
Water Supply Planning in Northeastern Illinois
Donald Keefer and Jason Thomason attended the final meeting of the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG) on January 26, 2010, at Willis Tower, Chicago. At this meeting, the draft final report was accepted by a nearly unanimous vote of the attending committee members. The RWSPG was created in 2007 by an Executive Order from the Illinois governor. The RWSPG was given a three-year mission culminating in a final report that established a framework for regional water supply planning and management, evaluated current water use patterns, and explored potential water management strategies based both on future demand forecasts and regional water availability estimates. The RWSPG project focused on the 11-county greater metropolitan Chicago region comprising Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties. The RWSPG was advised by the Chicago Metropolitan Area for Planning; the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Water Resources; the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS); and the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS). The ISGS participation over the past 3 years provided technical support to the ISWS and RWSPG concerning the distribution and characteristics of geologic deposits in the unconsolidated Quaternary sequence and the bedrock formations in the 11-county region. This geologic information was used in the development and interpretation of regional groundwater flow models of the glacial and bedrock aquifer systems. (Contact: Donald Keefer)
Methane Investigation at Central Illinois Landfill
Keith Hackley completed an investigation of a landfill in central Illinois to determine the origin of the methane detected in some of the monitoring gas probes on site. Isotopic analyses indicated that three sources of methane were detected: natural drift gas, gas produced from recent burial of natural debris during construction at the site, and landfill gas migrating from the refuse facility itself. Such information will help the landfill owners determine how to remediate the methane. (Contact: Keith Hackley)
Haiti Earthquake Aftermath: Urgent Action Needed to Improve Scientific Communication
The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) contributed to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and International Union on Geophysics and Geodesy (IUGG) initiatives related to further development of scientific research on natural hazards and environmental disasters and its implementation. After witnessing the earthquake-related humanitarian disaster in Haiti and the broken link between scientific research and disaster managers, the importance of multidisciplinary geological risk research was again highlighted. For example, geologists and geodesists working in the Caribbean region showed most recently that the local fault was capable of a magnitude 7+ earthquake. Unfortunately, the seismological community did not react to those results, and regional seismic hazard maps were not revised. This example illustrates that effective risk management implementation requires interaction between research and its application. AGU and IUGG plan to establish an international committee of experts to prepare a document on how the scientific community should react to a natural disaster once it has occurred. The committee intends to help answer the questions of (1) how to provide immediate and proper scientific information about the event to public, media, and government and (2) how to help local geoscientists in their work after the disaster. A Web site, "Geosciences and Natural Disasters," has been developed for the immediate placement of such information.
The ISGS contributes to these initiatives. On January 14-15, 2010, an ISGS staff member participated in the AGU JA10 Science Program Committee (SPC) Planning Meeting at the AGU Headquarters in Washington, D.C. ISGS is also helping with the preparation of a Union Symposium and 10 scientific sessions to be conducted during the AGU Joint Assembly 2010: The Americas. The symposium and sessions will focus on natural hazards and disaster risk assessment for the Caribbean and South America. (Contact: Yevgeniy Kontar)
Presentation Given on Midwest Earthquakes
Robert Bauer made a presentation, "Earthquakes and Their Effects in Central US," to an audience of 90 people at the Illinois Emergency Management Association Earthquake Summit held at the John Logan College on January 12, 2010. The summit presented background information on the effects and various earthquake response plans of Illinois agencies. Part of this information was a result of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's New Madrid Catastrophic Planning Initiative, which detailed results by county of the impact of a magnitude 7.7 earthquake on the New Madrid faults. The initiative is in preparation for counties to participate in the National Level Exercise in 2011 simulating the response to such a large earthquake on the New Madrid faults. (Contact: Robert Bauer)
Survey Scientist Interviewed on Quad Cities Earthquakes
Robert Bauer submitted information on earthquakes in Illinois for the Quad-Cities Online Dispatch/Argus newspaper. The journalists were interested in earthquakes that may be felt by or impact the Quad Cities area, which comprises Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa, and East Moline, Moline, and Rock Island, Illinois. (Contact: Robert Bauer)
Building Library Collection
Geochemist Richard Cahill was recently acknowledged by the Chemical Heritage Foundation for his generous donation of 59 monographs and four archival volumes. The publications were donated during fall 2009 to the Special Collection Group of the Othmer Library. Among the items given to the library was a signed 1914 first edition of S.P. Mulliken's A Method for the Identification of Pure Organic Compounds and a 1919 edition of W.A. Noyes, A Textbook of Chemistry. (Contact: Richard Cahill)
Updated 08/01/2012 SLD