Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Illinois geological survey describes the Ice Age on History Channel show

Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) geologists are featured in the History Channel’s internationally popular program, How the Earth Was Made: America’s Ice Age that aired March 9. The geologists lead the search across Illinois for evidence of glaciation which played a defining role in the geography and consequently the economy of Illinois and the U.S.   [right, maximum extent of ice. Credit, ISGS]

From the East Central Illinois base of Champaign, the story takes viewers to a Tuscola quarry with erratics and striated rocks, to a balloon flight over one of the most prominent moraines in Illinois, and to northern Illinois and the folded and faulted sediment of a gravel pit near Spring Grove. Along the way, ISGS geologists demonstrate and explain the evidence and impact of glaciation in Illinois and the greater Midwest.

 “The enormous ice sheets that advanced and retreated into North America during the last several hundred thousand years created the landscape that we live upon here in Illinois today,” according to Steven E. Brown, senior geologist and head of Quaternary geology at ISGS, a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability (INRS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “The geology and geography of Illinois created by the glaciers created the economic base of Illinois as we know it—rich soil for agriculture, quality groundwater for drinking, river and Great Lakes water for shipping, and minerals for construction.”
Illinois is a key part of the episode’s larger story of why and how glaciers form and the history of the Earth’s ice ages.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Don McKay appointed State Geologist of Illinois

Don McKay (left) has been appointed State Geologist and Director of the Illinois State Geological Survey, at the Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Don had been serving as Interim Director, after former director Bill Shilts (right) took over the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability.

102nd AASG annual meeting set for June 27-July 1

The AASG annual meeting is being held in New Brunswick, NJ from June 27 to July 1, hosted by the New Jersey Geological Survey, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this month.

The meeting details and registration information are posted at the NJGS web site.

Pick & Gavel Awards to Murkowski and Holt

The Association of American State Geologists tonight presented the "Pick & Gavel" award to Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, for their contributions to advancing the role that geoscience plays in our society.

The Pick and Gavel Dinner was held in Washington D.C. at the Cosmos Club, whose history is steeped in geology. One of its founders and first presidents was John Wesley Powell, 1881 -1894 USGS Director and explorer of the Grand Canyon, and its membership has included many renowned geologists.

The Award consists of a mounted mineral, fossil, or rock, with a symbol that includes a geologist's pick, a policy-maker's gavel, and the Capitol, where geologists and policy-makers work together to respond to the needs of the nation.

A full list of Pick & Gavel recipients is posted at the AASG website.