ISGS Fall 2014 Seminar Series

ISGS Seminar Series: Human viruses as tracers of recent groundwater and indicators of human impacts on groundwater systems

Monday, August 25, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Presented by: Ken Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological Survey

Please note the room number is 439 while the former meeting room is under renovation.

The finding of human viruses in deep groundwater in Wisconsin is causing hydrogeologists to rethink long-held ideas and conceptual models for groundwater movement and groundwater protection in southern Wisconsin.  Over the past ten years our research group has repeatedly detected human enteric viruses in water produced from deep (over 800 ft) bedrock water-supply wells.  Some of these viruses are infectious and could cause disease if the water were not treated before use.  The likely source of the viruses is leakage from urban sewers.  These virus detections have been surprising because human enteric viruses were previously thought to have relatively short (1-2 yr) viable lifetimes in groundwater environments and the predicted travel times from near-surface sources to the wells were tens to hundreds of years.  Wells of this depth were generally assumed to be well-protected from contamination from near-surface sources.

How and why do viruses turn up in the wells?  In evaluating potential virus pathways and transport mechanisms we have become convinced that the viruses originate from a widespread, distributed source, probably sanitary sewers,  related to the entire urbanized area rather than to one or more discrete point sources.  Several lines of evidence support this concept.  These findings are potentially very significant for several reasons. 

About speaker:  Dr. Bradbury serves as Assistant Director for Science at the Wisconsin Survey, and Program Leader for water and environmental programs. Current research interests include virus transport in groundwater, groundwater flow in fractured media, aquitard hydrogeology, groundwater recharge processes, wellhead protection, regional groundwater simulation, and the hydrogeology of glacial deposits.  Ken is the author of numerous scientific papers and reports, is a Fellow in the GSA, has chaired the National Research Council Committee on Water Resources Research for the USGS.  

Presentation: PowerPoint slides (pdf)

ISGS Seminar Series: NO SEMINAR (Labor Day)

Monday, September 1, 2014 (All day)

ISGS Seminar Series: Urbana’s draft Climate Action Plan Phase 2

Monday, September 8, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Presented by: Scott R. TessEnvironmental Sustainability Manager, City of Urbana, IL

Urbana’s first 2 year phase of the City’s Climate Action Plan concludes at the end of 2014.  Phase 2 of the Climate Action Plan zeroes in on a smaller number of strategies that the city can employ to reach a 25% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from a 2007 baseline.  As part of the plan development process, an updated greenhouse gas inventory tool was used to create a 2013 inventory and update the 2007 baseline inventory. 

The City is now accepting public comment on the plan at

About speaker:  Scott R. Tess earned his B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Masters of Planning from Rollins College. As the Environmental Sustainability Manager for the City of Urbana, IL, Scott oversees the Recycling and Environmental Compliance programs and is responsible for working with the Sustainability Advisory Commission to implement the City’s Climate Action Plan and Sustainable Water Management Plan. Prior to his current appointment, Scott was the Pollution Prevention (P2) Coordinator for the Orange County, FL Environmental Protection Division. He also worked in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program for Orange County, FL. Before joining Orange County, Scott worked for the Florida Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health in the well and septic programs. Scott is also a LEED Green Associate.

Please note, this seminar will be held in room 439.

ISGS Seminar Series: Film viewing: Alan Alda: Helping the public get beyond a blind date with science

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Alan Alda, award-winning actor and visiting professor at the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, talks about his experiences with communicating science to the general public. Looking to close the gap between the scientific community and the public, Mr. Alda discusses what needs to be improved, and how science can be better understood.

Discussion to follow.

ISGS Seminar Series: Characterization of Karst Terrain Using Remotely-Sensed Data in Jo Daviess County, Illinois

Monday, September 22, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Presented by: Samuel V. Panno, Donald E. Luman, and Dennis R. Kolata, Illinois State Geological Survey

Approximately one-quarter of the bedrock surface area of Illinois is comprised of carbonate rock, and more than one-third of this amount is concentrated within the state’s five major karst regions, which includes the Driftless Area of northwestern Illinois. Characteristic features of karst terrain include sinkholes, caves, large springs, fluted rock outcrops, blind valleys, swallow holes, and solution-enlarged crevices. Because carbonate bedrock within the Driftless Area in Illinois mantled by unconsolidated deposits, direct observation of fractures and crevices has historically been limited to sparse occurrences of road cuts, quarries, and outcrops where bedrock is exposed at the ground surface.

An unforeseen outcome of the 2012 Midwest severe summer drought was that it provided a rare opportunity to indirectly examine the buried bedrock surface of the Driftless Area. Complex vegetated networks, referred to as “crop lines”, began to appear across the dry summer landscape of Jo Daviess County in northwestern Illinois. Primarily confined to alfalfa hay fields, the vegetated crop lines resulted from a combination of three factors: 1) persistent, extremely dry conditions; 2) a relatively thin soil zone and associated unconsolidated deposits 0.5 to 2 meters in thickness; overlying, 3) highly fractured and creviced carbonate bedrock comprised of Upper Ordovician (443–460 Ma) Galena Dolomite. Analysis of multidate aerial photography acquired over Jo Daviess County during the 2012 summer and early fall period identified nearly 18,000 vegetated crop lines. The crop line features were digitized, and a rose diagram created of the features reveals a dominant west–northwest orientation with an average azimuth of 275°. The azimuth of the subdominant trend is nearly north-south in orientation.

Past studies have determined that the bedrock fractures within Jo Daviess County are oriented west–northwest with an average azimuth of 275 degrees, and the subdominant fractures are oriented nearly north-south—consistent with the analysis of the vegetated crop lines. Overall these trends are consistent with bedrock fracture orientations observed in adjacent areas of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Published field and laboratory results suggest that regional fracture systems form parallel to maximum compressive stress trajectories, making fracture orientations highly sensitive indicators of paleostress fields. We speculate that the dominant west-northwest fracture system formed in response to the late Paleozoic Alleghenian Orogeny.  Origin of the subdominant north-south fractures is not entirely clear, but possibly could have formed in response to compressive stress associated with current rifting along the mid-Atlantic ridge.

Complementing the vegetated crop line data, LiDAR bare earth elevation data revealed alignments in areas of late 19th and early 20th century lead and zinc mine diggings, and within cover-collapse sinkholes developed in Silurian (412–443 Ma) dolomite which have very nearly the same dominant trends as the vegetated crop lines. The orientations of the crop lines, mine diggings and sinkhole alignments follow trends that are directly observed in solution-enlarged crevices exposed in outcrops, road cuts and quarries, and are convincing evidence that the vegetated crop lines can be used as surrogates for the known bedrock fractures of the Galena Dolomite within the Driftless Area.

About speakers:

Samuel Panno Education:Southern Illinois University, Geology, M.S., 1978. Sam is a Senior Geochemist and has been with the Illinois State Geological Survey since 1988. Currently, Mr. Panno is leading research on the geology, hydrogeology and groundwater quality of karst regions of Illinois, the location, significance and origins of saline springs throughout the Illinois Basin, the origin and evolution of Illinois Basin brines, and the use of speleothems in identifying paleoearthquakes in the Midwestern US.

Donald Luman Education:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Geography, Ph.D., 1978. Following a university teaching career of 20 years in Illinois, Don joined the Illinois Natural History Survey in 1993 and later the Illinois State Geological Survey in 1995. He retired earlier this year as a Principal Geologist. During his academic and Survey careers, Don’s primary teaching and research has been focused on the applications of remote sensing technology to natural resource applications.

Dennis Kolata Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Geology, Ph.D., 1973. Following a year of employment as a petroleum geologist with Texaco, Inc., Dennis joined the Illinois State Geological Survey in 1974. The primary focus of his work was on the stratigraphy and structural geology of Illinois.  Following his retirement in 2004, he has been active as a geologic consultant to natural resource industries, and currently has been mapping the bedrock geology in Lee and Ogle Counties, Illinois as part of the USGS STATEMAP program.  

ISGS Seminar Series and Geology Colloquium: Hydraulic fracturing and Earthquakes. Ethically, how do we move forward and do the right thing?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 4:00pm

Room 610/612, Institute of Genomic Biology 1206 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801

Presented by: Donald Clarke, petroleum geologist, University of Southern California

In 2010 Senator Bingaman of New Mexico requested that Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu engage the National Research Council (NRC), the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, to form an ad hoc committee to examine the topic of “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies”. The committee of eleven members was formed from a large set of nominees sent to the NRC staff from a spectrum of professionals in academia, government, and industry and was approved by the chair of the NRC. The committee members, each of whom served pro bono for the duration of the project, brought a wide range of expertise to the study including oil and gas exploration and production, geothermal energy, drilling engineering, fluid injection, seismic monitoring and modeling, seismic hazard assessment, geomechanics, mining engineering, fluid-rock interaction, and regulatory oversight, with professional experience derived from academic research, private industry, and government service. During the course of a year, the committee convened five public information-gathering meetings and produced a consensus report that assessed the current situation related to induced seismicity in the United States for various energy technologies including hazards, risks, government roles and responsibilities, proposed research needs and suggestions on how to move forward. The report stands as an example of how a group of objective professionals with varying viewpoints can come to a consensus and produce a useful, scientifically-grounded document to help guide developments with emerging energy technologies.

Donald ClarkeAbout the speaker: Donald Clarke teaches petroleum geology at the University of Southern California and works as a consulting geologist for many clients including Occidental Petroleum, Vintage, Signal Hill Petroleum, the cities of Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Hermosa Beach and Terralog. A long-time member of AAPG, Clarke has served the organization in a variety of positions including Chairman of the House of Delegates and has served on the AAPG Advisory Council and Executive Committee and as the AAPG representative on the Board of Directors of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council. He has published three geological guidebooks, more than 60 papers and abstracts, and has appeared on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic’s Gallon of Gas, VBS Television’s LA’s Hidden Wells, the Canadian show Trashopolis and in the Swiss movie A Crude Awakening. His main areas of research are Los Angeles basin geology and computer mapping techniques. He has also served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Geoscience Data and Collections, National Resources in Peril and the Committee on Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies. 

ISGS Seminar Series: Giant Calcite Crystals Beneath the Chicago Area: Geologic Significance and Preservation

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Presented by: Jared T. Freiburg, Illinois State Geological Survey 

Geologists have long recognized the important role of continental- to basin-scale fluid flow as a mechanism for diagenesis, including the dissolu­tion of rock and the deposition of Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) miner­als in sedimentary basins.  In 2001, massive calcite crystals zoned with sulfide minerals lining meter-scale solution cavities were discovered in the Ordovician-age Galena Group in the Conco Mine just west of Chicago.  These mineral deposits reflect the temporal changes in chemical composition, fluid flow pathways, and the source of paleo fluids migrat­ing through the midcontinent.  A paragenetic and isotopic comparison of mineral cements at Conco to other regional MVT mineral deposits around the Illinois and Michigan Basins suggest temporal and chemical relationships implying a common origin and related events of basin-wide diagenetic fluid migration. 
A brief introduction to the Geology of Illinois Gallery will follow this talk.  The Geology of Illinois Gallery will be a permanent exhibit at ISGS showcasing major accomplishments of the ISGS, exceptional Illinois minerals and fossils, and educational information and exhibits related to the natural geologic wonders of Illinois.
About speaker: Jared T. Freiburg, Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Geology, M.S., 2010.  Jared is an assistant geologist in the Advanced Energy and Technology Initiative section at the Illinois State Geological Survey.  His research interests include carbonate and clastic depositional environments, diagenesis, and Mississippi Valley-Type mineral deposits.  He is currently working on reservoir and seal characterization and interpretation projects that span from Ordovician to Precambrian rocks for the Midwest Geological Sequestration-Illinois Basin contracts. 

ISGS Seminar Series: NO SEMINAR (GHGT-12 Conference)

Monday, October 6, 2014 (All day)

ISGS Seminar Series: Solving the Mystery of the Blocked Valley Lakes of the Fly-Strickland River System, Papa New Guinea

Monday, October 13, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Presented by: Gary Parker, PhD., W. H. JOHNSON PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY, Depart­ment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The floodplain of the Fly River, Papua New Guinea, is riddled with lakes. These lakes, which are known as blocked valley lakes, are located at points where tributaries enter the main stem. This morphology is in contrast to most other rivers, where tributaries enter the main stem without the intermediary of floodplain lakes. We explore the nature of such lakes, and in particular the prevalence of reversing flows. We study the formation of reverse deltas, which point in the opposite direction as that of the incoming tributary flow. We explore the reason for these features in the context of post-glacial Holocene sea level rise and differences in sediment sourcing between the Central Highlands and the Fly River Platform.

About speaker: Professor Parker received a B.S. from the Department of Mechanics and Materials Science of Johns Hopkins University (1971) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Civil Engineering of the Uni­versity of Minnesota (1974). Prof. Parker was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysi­cal Union in 2003, and received the G.K. Warren Award in Fluviatile Geomorphology in 2002. He has received the Schoemaker Award twice and the Ippen Award from the International Association of Hydraulic Research, and the Einstein Award, Hilgard Prize and Stevens Award from the American Society of Civil Engi­neers. His major research interests are the mechanics of sediment-laden flow in rivers and turbidity currents, and resulting flow-boundary morphodynamic interactions. 

ISGS Seminar Series: NO SEMINAR (GSA meeting)

Monday, October 20, 2014 (All day)

ISGS Seminar Series: Innovation in Science and Engineering: A Strategy for Efficient and Clean Generation of Electricity from Coal

Monday, October 27, 2014 - 11:00am

Room 439, Natural Resources Building

Presented by: Massoud Rostam-Abadi, Ph.D., Principal Chemical Engineer Honorary, Illinois State Geological Survey

Some of the global challenges in the remaining years of the 21st century include population growth and aging, global health, agriculture and food supply, water scarcity, international security, global warming, and energy and environment . In respect to the last issue, coal most likely remains a part of the energy mix at least until the middle of the century. Technology innovation in generating clean energy (power) from coal could help the increasing electricity demand in the developing and emerging economies.  This seminar will address both the global energy and environment issues and an innovation in clean electricity generation from coal. 

About speaker: Massoud Joined ISGS in 1984 as an Assistant Chem E, was promoted to Associate Chem E in 1986, Chem E in 1988, Sr. Chem E in 1990 and Principal Chem E in 2004. He served as the Head of Energy and Environmental Engineering Section between 1999 and 2009 and was an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Engineering at UIUC until his retirement in July 2010. He continues working on his research projects related to developing adsorbent materials for combustion-generated air pollution control at ARL. 

ISGS Seminar Series: TBD

Monday, November 3, 2014 - 11:00am

ISGS Seminar Series: TBD

Monday, November 10, 2014 - 11:00am

ISGS Seminar Series: TBD

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 11:00am

ISGS Seminar Series: NO SEMINAR (Thanksgiving Holiday)

Monday, November 24, 2014 (All day)

ISGS Seminar Series: TBD

Monday, December 1, 2014 - 11:00am

ISGS Seminar Series: TBD

Monday, December 8, 2014 - 11:00am