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.

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