Friday, December 31, 2010

Washington's geologic information portal

The Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources hosts the Washington State Geologic Information Portal where you can access interactive earth science mapping, data, and related information. [right, the prototype site for geothermal data]

More types of geologic information will be added to the information portal in the future, so please visit regularly to see what's new. You may also subscribe to our mailing list to receive announcements of new additions to the portal, as well as notification of our publications releases.

Using the interactive maps, you can create, save, and print custom maps, find out more information about map features, and download map data for use in a geographic information system (GIS). In addition to a variety of geoscience layers that can be turned on and off, each interactive map has many base layers to choose from, so you can customize your map in any number of ways. Please note that because of the volume of data available through these interactive maps, data loading and identification operations may not be instantaneous.

The site use ArcGIS Server v9.3.1 with a flex application. State Geologist Dave Norman reports they will be moving to v10 sometime next year which will likely give them more speed and a few more tools. He says the software has finally reached a stage where it is useful and fast enough for someone to consider using an interactive geology site.

The Geology mapping theme is the most advanced of the group but the others are adding data and functions continually.

Was new Utah dinosaur a brainiac?

Utah's State Paleontologist Jim Kirkland is co-author of a recent paper in the online journal PLos ONE describing the eighth new dinosaur species discovered in the state this year. Geminiraptor suarezarum's skull is six times larger than other dinosaurs, suggesting it might have evolved into a highly intelligent creature if it had not gone extinct. The dino also had other unique features, including an inflatable upper jaw bone and feathers on its arms and legs according to a post on the Utah Geological Survey blog. [right, Maxilla of Geminiraptor suarezarum. Credit, PLos ONE]

Ref: Senter P, Kirkland JI, Bird J, Bartlett JA (2010) A New Troodontid Theropod Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Utah. PLoS ONE 5(12): e14329. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014329

ND State Geologist leads effort on cancer risk from erionite dust

An investigation launched by North Dakota State Geologist Ed Murphy has found "levels of exposure to erionite [a zeolite mineral with characteristics similar to asbestos] in North Dakota are the same as in some of the Turkish villages ravaged by mesothelioma" according to a report in Nature.

"The North Dakota study eventually grew into a global collaboration including cancer biologists, geologists, epidemiologists, environmental scientists and physicians." Results were presented earlier this month at the Chicago Multi­disciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology. [right, photomicrograph of an erionite fibre in road gravel from North Dakota. Credit, K. Eylands/UND EERC in Nature News]

"North Dakota doesn't seem to have a higher incidence of the disease than is normal nationwide," but it may take 30 years or more for effects to appear, so studies are underway on construction and quarry workers who may have had extended exposure to erionite dust used in road construction.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Geological Surveys are tweeting

A number of geological surveys in the U.S. and Canada are tweeting about geology and geoscience activities

Check out the tweets from:

Kansas @ksgeology

Utah @utahgeological

Arizona @AZGeology

Alberta @geology4u

Ontario @OGSgeology


Monday, December 20, 2010

Arkansas Survey responds to earthquake swarm

The Arkansas Geological Survey is trying to determine the source of nearly 500 earthquakes that have shaken the small town of Guy since September.

CNN reports that the State issued a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the area while the Survey and others investigates a possibility the quakes are generated by deep underground disposal of oil and gas production waste water

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Citation for Vicki Cowart's Ian Campbell Medal

In November, former Colorado State Geologist Vicki Cowart received the Ian Campbell Medal the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver. The full citation and response are posted here:

[photo by Vince Matthews, CGS]

Saturday, December 04, 2010

"Importance and Future Roles of State Geological Surveys" - White paper from AIPG

"Our nation’s state geological surveys serve a fundamental role in resolving many of the important issues facing our world today and in the future," according to a study carried out by the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) and issued as a white paper entitled, "Importance and Future Roles of State Geological Surveys."

The report states,

State geological surveys are vitally important to the economy of each state and to the nation. The information they collect and disseminate is used by other state agencies, by consultants, industry, developers, and the public as critical input in local and regional economic development plans, resulting in an economic advantage to the state. The information is essential for the responsible and sustainable development of a state’s mineral, energy, and water resources, safe development and modernization of infrastructure, protecting the public from losses due to geologic and natural hazards or anthropogenic hazards, and the wise use of the state’s natural resources for tourism and recreation. All of these are significant to the economy of the state and to the nation by providing jobs and various revenues, preventing or minimizing loss due to hazards and natural disasters, and by increasing our understanding of the earth’s resources and the need for sustainable use.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Buzz Ostrom, former State Geologist of Wisconsin

Meredith "Buzz" Ostrom, former Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey ((1972 - 1990), passed away yesterday, Thursday, November 11. Funeral and other arrangements have yet to be finalized. Buzz's wife Ann resides at Oakwood Village West, Apt. D-81, 6225 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53711. [photo credit, Univ. Wisc. Extension]

The following is excerpted from History of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey: Part 2
Originally published in "The State Geological Surveys: A History", © 1988 Association of American State Geologists

Buzz was appointed director and state geologist to succeed Hanson in July of 1972. Ostrom received his Bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois in 1952 and his Master’s (1954) and Doctor’s (1959) degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.

Ostrom worked for the Illinois State Geological Survey beginning in 1953 as a project assistant in Subsurface Geology and in the Coal Section. In 1955 he was appointed as an assistant geologist in the Industrial Minerals Section, where he worked on a variety of subjects including black shales, sandstones, carbonate rocks, and clays. He joined the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey in November 1959 as assistant state geologist with principal responsibility for geology and groundwater. In 1968 he was promoted to associate state geologist and to associate professor in the newly created UW–Extension Department of Geology and Geography.

Under Ostrom’s tenure beginning in 1972 the WGNHS base budget grew from $365,325 to more than $1,000,000. The staff has included as many as 10 geologists, 3 part time soil scientists, 4 hydrogeologists, 1.5 climatologists, 0.5 biologists, 3 technicians, 2 computer specialists, 1 editor, 4 cartographers, 1 administrative assistant, and 5 secretaries, plus more than 20 students. The period was marked by publication of a new 1:1,000,000 scale bedrock geologic map, the first 1:500,000 Pleistocene geologic map, and more than 200 maps and reports. Ostrom retired in 1990, and Assistant Director Ronald G. Hennings served as Acting Director and State Geologist until mid-1991.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Alabama's Nick Tew elected AGI Secretary

The American Geological Instituted installed its new officers last week in Denver at the Geological Society of America annual meeting.

Nick Tew, AGI’s incoming Secretary, is currently the Alabama State Geologist and Oil and Gas Supervisor, roles he has served since 2002. Dr. Tew is also involved in the Association of American State Geologists, serving as President (2008-2009); the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, where he is the incoming 1st Vice Chairman; the Geological Society of America; and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, where he is an Associate Editor. Tew has recently been appointed to the National Petroleum Council.

AGI is a nonprofit federation of 47 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

Peter Scholle to retire as State Geologist of New Mexico

Peter Scholle announced that he is retiring as State Geologist and Director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in June 2011, after serving in that position for 12 years. Peter also served as President of AASG among many other roles in the organization.

The official vacancy announcement for the position of director/state geologist has been posted on the New Mexico Tech web site (at, currently just below the job opening for a Test Range Gunner I at the university's explosives research center. The announcement is also posted on the Bureau of Geology web site ( If you know of people who would be interested in the Director Position (or Test Range Gunner), please pass along those web links.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Wunsch, Parrish, Kelly elected to Honorary status

AASG this morning elected three former state geologists to Honorary status in the Association: David Wunsch (NH), Jay Parrish (PA), and Bill Kelly (NY).

Honorary status is given for exemplary contributions to AASG by a State Geologist over a tenure typically of 7 years or longer.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nevada's Jon Price receives GSA Public Service Award

Nevada State Geologist Jon Price received the 2010 Geological Society of America Public Service Award last night in Denver at the Presidential Awards Ceremony of the GSA Annual Meeting.

The citation by Steve Testa noted that throughout his career, Jon "has fervently pursued his goal to address societal and public policy issues related to mineral resources, geologic hazards, and professionalism."

Vicki Cowart receives Ian Campbell Medal at GSA

Former Colorado State Geologist Vicki Cowart received the 2010 AGI Medal in Memory of Ian Campbell last night in Denver at the Presidential Awards Ceremony of the Geological Society of America.

Vicki is presently CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

In her acceptance remarks, she commented how surprised she was to receive the award after being out of the geology field for a number of years and joked that it felt like she was being honored posthumously.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Geothermal energy in New Mexico

The Fall 2010 issue of Lite Geology published by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources is dedicated to the topic of geothermal energy. Articles provide an overview of the different types of geothermal resources and reports on geothermal applications across the state.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Delaware State Geologist John Talley retiring

Delaware State Geologist John Talley announced today that he will be retiring from the Delaware Geological Survey and University of Delaware on June 30, 2011, after more than 38 years of service.

The University of Delaware and the DGS have embarked on an open search recruiting program for a new Director and State Geologist. The goal is to have a new Director on board on or before July 1, 2011. John says the goal is to maintain continuity of leadership and have a seamless transition to a new Director. The University of Delaware has posted the position on its Human Resources web site

The DGS has posted the Director Position announcement on its web site at

Friday, October 08, 2010

Capitol Hill visits by State Geologists

State Geologists blanketed Capitol Hill in Washington DC in late September, briefing our Representatives and Senators on issues key to the geosciences.

L to R: Jim Connors (Univ. of South Alabama), Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL), Nick Tew (Alabama State Geologist) (photo courtesy AGI)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

NH State Geologist interviewed about biggest quake in 15 years

New Hampshire State Geologist David Wunsch appeared on WMUR channel 9 discussing the Sept 26 magnitude 3.1 earthquake, which is the largest in the state in 15 years. The interview is posted on YouTube.

State Geologists on Capitol Hill

State Geologists met with their Congressional representatives and senators while in Washington DC, during the AASG's biannual "Liaison" visit, Sept 19-22. Here Minnesota State Geologist Harvey Thorleifson and Senator Al Franken pause after solving the nation's problems.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

New Hampshire's Wunsch moving to NGWA

New Hampshire State Geologist David Wunsch is resigning effective October 8 after 10 years to take the position as Director of Science & Technology for the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

In his announcement to AASG members, David noted that "Cumulatively, water wells probably provide the greatest window into the subsurface, and the ground water industry as a whole is one of the key stakeholders that use state survey products and assistance regularly, so there are opportunities to develop more synergy between both associations. Thus, I look forward to working with many of you as our paths cross in the geoscience, education, and policy realms in the future."

David completed his term as AASG President in June.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Geologist positions open at Ohio Geological Survey

The Ohio Geological Survey is accepting applications through October 15 for two Geologist 3 positions.

Energy Resources Group

The Ohio Geological Survey seeks applications for the position of Geologist 3 for the Energy Resources Group. The successful candidate will be a versatile and highly motivated geoscientist with a thorough understanding of geologic mapping, stratigraphy, geophysical exploration methods, interpretation of logs, familiarity with coring, sampling, and drilling. Experience in geologic modeling, and GIS, particularly any 3-D or geostatistical analysis is a major plus. A Master’s degree is preferred although a Bachelor’s degree with relevant experience will be considered. The complete job posting will be available on the ODNR website beginning October 4th. (; applications will be accepted thru October 15, 2010. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. For more information concerning application procedures, please contact Rene Norris at 614-265-6406. For more information about position duties and qualifications, please contact Chris Perry at 614-265-6584.

Mapping & Industrial Minerals Group

The Ohio Geological Survey seeks applications for the position of Geologist 3 for the Geologic Mapping & Industrial Minerals Group. The successful candidate will be a versatile and highly motivated geoscientist with a thorough understanding of geologic mapping, bedrock geology and stratigraphy, and glacial geology and geomorphology. Background knowledge in areas such as geophysical exploration, interpretation of logs, familiarity with coring, sampling, and drilling, geologic modeling, and GIS, particularly any 3-D or geostatistical analysis is a major plus. A Master’s degree is preferred although a Bachelor’s degree with relevant experience will be considered. The complete job posting will be available on the ODNR website beginning October 4th. (; applications will be accepted thru October 15, 2010. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. For more information concerning application procedures, please contact Rene Norris at 614-265-6406. For more information about position duties and qualifications, please contact Mike Angle at 614-265-6602.

Additional information

The Ohio Geological Survey (OGS) is a Division within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, with offices located at Fountain Square in Columbus, Ohio and at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Ohio. Staff are charged with researching and reporting on the geology of Ohio. The Energy Resources Group currently has a staff of four full-time geologists plus part-time technicians/interns. The group is involved in research and mapping of coal resources, abandoned underground mines, characterization of select oil and gas fields, geologic carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, geothermal potential, and deep injection of liquid waste.

Excellent written and oral communications skills, publications record preferred, and demonstrable mapping and/or GIS experience

Computer Skills: Integrated geologic mapping and analysis software (e.g. GeoGraphix), GIS - ESRI Arc/Info including Geostatistical Analyst, Microsoft Office.

In order to be eligible to accept a permanent part-time or full-time job with the state of Ohio, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident of this country. Those here on student visas cannot be offered permanent employment.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pennsylvania names new State Geologist

Pennsylvania announced the appointment of George Love to the position of Director, Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey. George has been serving as the Assistant Bureau Director in Topographic and Geologic Survey since joining DCNR after retiring from Carmeuse North America in 2006.

George will function as the State Geologist of Pennsylvania and be responsible for directing the activities of the Bureau’s professional, technical, and administrative staff. He will continue to advance the integration of the Bureau’s work with the key initiatives of the Department.

George has over 30 years experience in executive leadership positions in mining, minerals, exploration, permitting, geology and geotechnical engineering in private industry and government. In past roles, George has led up to 240 workers with an overall operating budget of $37 million. He has a Master’s Degree in Geology and numerous credits in Civil Engineering and Soil Mechanics.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

State Geologists blitz the Capitol

State Geologists from around the country are arriving in Washington DC for a multi-day blitz of meetings and briefings with dozens of federal agencies, Congressional committees, and NGOs.

Twice a year AASG holds this "Liaison" session to stay on top of developing issues and share our perspectives on national programs.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

NY and PA state geologists stepping down

New York state geologist Dr. William "Bill" Kelly announced today that he is retiring in two weeks after 30 years with the New York Geological Survey. Dr. Langhorne "Taury" Smith will serve as Acting State Geologist.

And in Pennsylvania, state geologist Dr. Jay Parrish announced he is leaving the Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey at the end of the week to assume a position with the Dutton Institute at Penn State University, teaching remote sensing. George Love will be taking over as acting State Geologist.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Rockhound Guide to New Mexico

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources has posted a 111-page compendium of field guides and related materials as a Rockhound Guide to New Mexico.

This information is designed to direct people to localities where they may collect specimens and also to give them some brief information about the area. These sites have been chosen because they may be reached by
passenger car.

[right, copper "chile" spinel twin from the Santa Rita NM area. Credit, NMBGMR]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Opening for State Geologist of Kansas

The position announcement for Director/State Geologist of the Kansas Geological Survey is now available on-line at

and on the AASG web-site at

Review of applications will begin on November 19, 2010. [right, KGS' Moore Hall, on the KU campus, Lawrence, Kansas]

Friday, August 20, 2010

Geologic Mapping & Industrial Minerals job opening at Ohio Geological Survey

Geologist 3 - Ohio Geological Survey

The Ohio Geological Survey seeks applications for the position of Geologist 3 for the Geologic Mapping & Industrial Minerals Group. The successful candidate will be a versatile and highly motivated geoscientist with a thorough understanding of geologic mapping, bedrock geology and stratigraphy, and glacial geology and geomorphology. Background knowledge in areas such as geophysical exploration, interpretation of logs, familiarity with coring, sampling, and drilling, geologic modeling, and GIS, particularly any 3-D or geostatistical analysis is a major plus. A Master’s degree is preferred although a Bachelor’s degree with relevant experience will be considered. The complete job posting will be available on the ODNR website beginning August 23rd. (; applications will be accepted thru September 3, 2010. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. For more information concerning application procedures, please contact Rene Norris at 614-265-6406. For more information about position duties and qualifications, please contact Mike Angle at 614-265-6602.

Additional info

The Ohio Geological Survey (OGS) is a Division within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, with offices located at Fountain Square in Columbus, Ohio and at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Ohio. The Geologic Mapping & Industrial Minerals Group currently has a staff of eight full-time geologists plus a part-time seismologist and technicians/interns. The group is involved in diverse research and mapping of deep subsurface to shallow bedrock and surficial glacial and alluvial deposits. This section is also heavily involved in delineating Ohio’s geohazards including karst terrain, abandoned underground mines, landslides, and shoreline erosion along the Lake Erie coastline. The Group also compiles mineral resource statistics ranging from coal to sand and gravel aggregate

Excellent written and oral communications skills, publications record, and demonstrable mapping and/or GIS experience is preferred.

Computer Skills: Integrated geologic mapping and analysis software (e.g. GeoGraphix), GIS - ESRI Arc/Info including Geostatistical Analyst, Microsoft Office, Fluid flow modeling (e.g. Mod Flow).

In order to be eligible to accept a permanent part-time or full-time job with the state of Ohio, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident of this country. Those here on student visas cannot be offered permanent employment.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wrap up of AASG annual meeting

The Association of American State Geologists (AASG) convened its 102nd annual meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey on June 27- July 1. The meeting was hosted by Karl Muessig, state geologist and director of the New Jersey Geological Survey. The New Jersey Geological Survey was concurrently celebrating its 175th year of service to the state, making it one of the oldest state geological surveys in the U.S.

AASG elected its officers for 2010-11, and include: Past president - David Wunsch (NH); President - Jim Cobb (KY); President-elect - Vicki McConnell (OR); Vice president - Harvey Thorleifson (MN); Secretary - Robert Swenson (AK); and Treasurer - Jon Arthur (FL). These officers constitute AASG’s executive committee and will serve a one-year term that begins on July 1, 2010. Other elected officers for the association are Historian - Bill Kelly (NY); Editor - Mike Hohn (WV); and Statistician - Rick Allis (UT).

The AASG, founded in 1908, represents the chief executives of the geologic surveys or bureaus of the 50 states and Puerto Rico. Cumulatively, state geological surveys employ 2,000 earth scientists and engineers and have a combined annual budget of $230 million, making state geological surveys one of the largest geologic enterprises in the U.S. A 2010 survey of affiliations and responsibilities of state geological surveys shows that 35 are state agencies and 16 are university departments. The missions of state surveys vary from state to state but all state surveys conduct geological research, 14 have regulatory responsibilities, 20 manage core and sample collections, 10 do seismic monitoring, 15 maintain groundwater records and monitoring, and 15 maintain oil & gas drilling records. In geologic specialties all state surveys do public outreach, 49 do geologic data preservation, 49 do geologic mapping, 46 do geologic hazards, 45 do mineral resources, and 40 do fossil fuels. More than half of the 51 state surveys are currently doing groundwater, carbon sequestration, and environmental geology research. Many state surveys have responsibilities and expertise not listed here but are individual to each state. Get to know your state geological survey there is something there for everybody.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Surficial Geology of Kansas map online

The Kansas Geological Survey has posted an image of the Surficial Geology of Kansas map online for free downloading. The map is available as M-118 (68 x 39 in., scale: 1:500,000) from the Publications Sales Office of the KGS.

Friday, August 06, 2010

GSA Today: Geological mapping goes 3-D in response to societal needs

The August issue of GSA Today published an article by U.S. state and Canadian Survey geologists on the role of geologic mapping to help decision makers "balance economic growth with environmental protection."
Geological mapping goes 3-D in response to societal needs (pp. 27-29)

Harvey Thorleifson1, Richard C. Berg2, Hazen A.J. Russell3

1 Minnesota Geological Survey,
2 Illinois State Geological Survey,
3 Geological Survey of Canada,


In the early 1800s, state and federal geological survey agencies were conceived to address increasing demands for natural resource information to fuel the Industrial Revolution. More recent urbanization, however, has spurred surveys, along with their university and industry partners, to extend their applications from mining and energy to water supply, engineering, hazards, environment, and climate change, while more directly supporting the needs of decision makers.

Geological maps are at the heart of this decision support system. They are the method geologists use to synthesize and communicate an understanding of earth materials, processes, and history; however, for all geologic mapping, challenges remain in obtaining the information required to construct maps that are meaningful and helpful to users. This is particularly acute for subsurface mapping. Geologists must process data obtained through field work, geophysical surveys, and laboratory analyses and then compile that data to map the composition and distribution of materials in a format and resolution that serves map users. In turn, map users have an obligation to grasp the uncertainty of the map while providing the best possible service to their clients.

Previously, technological and data limitations dictated that a two-dimensional (2-D) paper map—accompanied by at most a few cross sections and a report—was the most appropriate publication format, so users were expected to infer subsurface conditions at their site. Over the past two decades, however, in response to demands for subsurface information in extensive areas of thick sediments and sedimentary rocks, 2-D geological mapping has been superseded by three-dimensional (3-D) mapping. Geological mapping thus has been redefined in these settings—from a single-layer 2-D map to a 3-D model showing thickness and properties of multiple stacked layers (Turner, 2003; Culshaw, 2006).

Having thus raised expectations among users for 3-D mapping, surveys and their partners are now seeking to rapidly improve their methods for construction, dissemination, and use of 3-D geological maps to support decision makers who must balance economic growth with environmental protection.

New publication: The Permian System in Kansas

The Kansas Geological Survey has published, "The Permian System in Kansas," as Bulletin 57.

[right, Permian red beds near Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas; the light-colored “rim rock” is probably the Medicine Lodge Gypsum Member of the Blaine Formation above the red beds of the Flower-pot Shale; from photo files of the Kansas Geological Survey]

Rocks of Permian age in Kansas were first recognized in 1895, and by the early 21st century the internationally accepted boundary between the Permian and the Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian Subsystem) was recognized in Kansas at the base of the Bennett Shale Member of the Red Eagle Limestone. The upper boundary of the Permian is an erosional unconformity that is overlain by rocks of Cretaceous age. Currently accepted stratigraphic nomenclature for the Permian of Kansas recognizes the Wolfcampian, Leonardian, and Guadalupian Series, and the lithostratigraphic formations within each of these series reflect a wide spectrum of depositional environments. Summaries of the lithofacies, thicknesses, depositional environments, and source
areas of, and for, the rocks in each series provide a basis for inferring the history of the Permian in Kansas as currently understood. Fluctuations from shallow-marine to terrestrial environments associated with climate change as a result of the waning of Gondwana glaciers and latitudinal shifts are recorded in the Permian rocks of Kansas. Economically these Permian rocks have been, and are, an important source of hydrocarbons, salt, gypsum, building stone, aggregate, and ground water.

This report on the Permian System in Kansas is “a work in progress” and future multi-disciplinary studies of chrono- and sequence stratigraphy, climate history, structural aspects, sediment transport, and diagenesis will further enhance our understanding of the end of the Paleozoic in Kansas.

The Permian System in Kansas
by R. R. West, K. B. Miller, and W. L. Watney

Monday, August 02, 2010

Wallace Ulrich appointed acting state geologist of Wyoming

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal on July 6 named Wallace Ulrich acting state geologist. Ulrich will lead the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS).

He succeeds Ron Surdam, who is now directing the Carbon Management Institute at the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources.

“I am delighted that an individual of Wally’s stature and experience is willing to step into this extremely important role of public service as the acting state geologist,” Freudenthal said. “Having strong leadership at the survey is important because it is often the first place professionals go to understand the geological resources of the state, and that can lead to exploration and ultimately to development.”

The governor praised the work of Surdam, who was appointed director of the WSGS in 2004.

"I congratulate Ron. I am delighted he will remain in the service of the state. He has been and will continue to be a great asset in maintaining a fully diversified energy economy,” Freudenthal said.

Ulrich, a fifth generation Wyomingite who lives in Fossil and Jackson with his wife, Lisa Samford, and son, Aiden, starts his new job Aug. 2.

Since 1947, Ulrich and his parents, Shirley and Carl Ulrich, have operated the fossil quarries near Kemmerer. His family was instrumental in creating Fossil Butte National Monument west of Kemmerer.

Ulrich is a past chairman and present member of the WSGS advisory board, a trustee of the American Geological Institute Foundation, the chairman of the board of the National Foundation for the Geosciences and the secretary and one of the founders of the Geologists of Jackson Hole.
“I’m just tickled to carry on the great work of Dr. Surdam,” Ulrich said. “He and the governor made great strides in bringing the Wyoming State Geological Survey to where it is, and I hope to continue those efforts. The survey performs remarkably well with a highly dedicated staff that provides excellent services.”

Ulrich added, “The survey has a responsibility to provide the governor, the legislature, Wyoming policymakers and citizens real science for governance decisions, including future projects, research funding and providing services and data.”

Freudenthal said, “Wally’s commitment and passion about geology in Wyoming will serve us all well. I couldn’t be happier about getting Wally on board.”

The mission of the WSGS is to promote the beneficial and environmentally sound use of Wyoming’s vast geologic, mineral and energy resources while helping protect the public from geologic hazards. By providing accurate information and expanding knowledge through the application of geologic principles, the WSGS contributes to economic growth and improvement in the quality of life for Wyoming’s residents.

[press release from the Wyoming State Geological Survey]

Saturday, July 31, 2010

AIPG Parker Medal to John Rold

Former Colorado State Geologist John Rold is the 2010 recipient of the Ben H. Parker Memorial Medal from the American Institute of Professional Geologists. According to AIPG:

The Ben H. Parker Memorial Medal is the Institute’s most distinguished award. It was established by the Executive Committee in 1969 in posthumous honor of a truly great leader, who devoted much of his life to improve the quality of geology and geologists and the services they provide. The medal is awarded to individuals who have long records of distinguished and outstanding service to the profession.

The most important criterion for this medal is a continual record of contribution to the profession of geology. A wide variety of contributions can be considered, such as (a) the education and training of geologists, (b) professional development of geologists, (c) service to the Institute, (d) leadership in the surveillance of laws, rules, and regulations affecting geology, geologists, and the public, and (e) activity in local and regional affairs of geologists.
John was director of the Colorado Geological Survey from 1969 - 1992. Phoito credit CGS.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Geologists mapping what lies beneath New Hampshire

The Portland (NH) Press published a nice story on the significance and value to residents of geologic mapping by the New Hampshire Geological Survey. [right, simplified bedrock geologic map of New Hampshire. Credit, NHGS]

An example they gave was that,
After days of torrential rain in March and April, water wouldn't leave the basements of about 15 homes in a Rollinsford neighborhood. The pumping seemed endless, and officials in the Seacoast town needed a solution.

They found it with the New Hampshire Geological Survey office, which had a detailed map pointing out sand and clay layers underground - and an explanation for the continued flooding.

It showed a unique situation where the sand deposits were overlying clay layers, and the water could not percolate down," said David Wunsch, state geologist. "So the basements were flooding and the sand was flowing into the basements because residents were pumping the water so hard, and the foundations were being undercut."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Work plans for AASG geothermal data project

The AASG Geothermal Data Project's Science Advisory Board met in Tucson last Tuesday and Wednesday to review work plans for 33 of the states represented in populating the National Geothermal Data System.

The SAB is making recommendations to project managers on data priorities, quality assurance, and efforts to avoid duplication.

[right, from left to right: sitting, Arlene Anderson, DOE; Steve Richard, AZGS; Ed Deal, MT; Lisa Shevenell, NV; Catherine Martinez-Wells, AZGS; Lee Allison, AZGS; Chacko John, LA; and Rick Allis, UT. Not pictured, John Costain, VA]

Thursday, July 22, 2010

USGS - AASG "Divisions of Geologic Time" released

The USGS has released an upated "Divisions of Geologic Time" produced by
the USGS Geologic Names Committee and the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), which represents an update containing the unit names and boundary age estimates ratified by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

The fact sheet states that scientists should note that other published time scales may be used, provided that these are specified and referenced (for example, Palmer, 1983; Harland and others, 1990; Haq and Eysinga, 1998; Gradstein and others, 2004; Ogg and others, 2008).

USGS FS 2010-3059: Divisions of Geologic Time - Major Chronostratigraphic and Geochronologic Units

This fact sheet is a modification of USGS Fact Sheet 2007–3015 by the U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Names Committee

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Geology positions in CO2 sequestration at Bureau of Economic Geology

Bureau of Economic Geology

John A. & Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences

The University of Texas at Austin

The Gulf Coast Carbon Center, an international leader in CO2 sequestration research, is looking for junior and senior geologists or engineers with expertise in reservoir characterization or reservoir fluid modeling. Previous experience in CO2 sequestration is desirable but is not required. We also have post doctoral fellowship positions available for recent PhDs interested in: risk analysis, geochemical modeling, geomechanical modeling, or fluid flow modeling. Positions include but may not be limited to the following:

Reservoir Geologist/Petrophysicist posting # 100224030708

Reservoir Engineer/Fluid Flow Modelers posting # 100224040708

Research Geologist/Hydrological Modeling Posting # 100224020708

Please refer to the following website for a full description and requirements of each position, and to apply. . Use the corresponding posting number for the position for which you are interested.

Expressions of interest in research positions or post doctoral fellowships can be directed to Dr. Ian Duncan, Associate Director at BEG at

The University of Texas at Austin is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer. All positions are security sensitive, and conviction verification is conducted on applicants selected.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ken Weaver service and obituary

The funeral for former Maryland State Geologist Ken Weaver was held yesterday (July 18).

Comments were provided by Emery Cleaves (former MD State Geologist), Torrey Brown (former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources), Robert Jordan (former DE State Geologist), and Ken's daughter Wendy Scheinberg.

Ken's obituary was posted in the Baltimore Sun on Sunday July 18.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bill Fisher receives 'Legendary Oilman Award'

Former Texas State Geologist Bill Fisher recently received the Petroleum History Institute's (PHI) most prestigious award, the 2010 "Colonel Edwin L. Drake, Legendary Oilman Award" for "his lifetime commitment, contributions and achievements in advancing petroleum geology and its application in industry, government and academia." The award was presented at the Honors and Awards Banquet held during PHI's 2010 annual Symposium on the History and Heritage of the Global Petroleum Industry and Associated Field Trips this year April 29 - 1 May in Lafayette, LA. [Bill Fisher, left, and Larry Woodfork, right. Photo courtesy of Larry Woodfork]

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Park Service geology program lauded

The AASG passed the following resolution during its annual meeting last week:

Resolution Recognizing the National Park Service’s Cooperative Efforts on the Geology of our Nation’s Parks

WHEREAS, many of America’s most treasured National Parks were established on the basis of their geologic features, settings, and geologic resources; and

WHEREAS, geologic resources of the National Parks range from the world–renowned sculptured depths of Grand Canyon to the fossils of Dinosaur National Monument to modern sand dunes of Canaveral National Seashore, and geologic resources and the dynamic processes that affect them are inspiring to behold, form the foundation of park ecosystems, and are essential to understanding the natural world; and

WHEREAS, the Geologic Resources Division is a relatively new entity of the of the National Park Service; and

WHEREAS, the Geologic Resources Division has responsibilities for education, interpretation, research, public programs, geo-hazards, minerals, cave and karst resources, land restoration, paleontology, soils, abandoned mines and mineral lands, inventorying and monitoring, and other areas of critical importance to the operation, preservation, and enjoyment of the National Parks; and

WHEREAS, a thorough evaluation of the geologic resources within National Parks is needed for comprehensive management, interpretation, and understanding of park resources; and

WHEREAS, the Geologic Resources Division’s Geologic Resources Inventory is an exemplary cooperative program to provide crucial information to and about our National Parks; and

WHEREAS, the Geologic Resources Division leverages very limited financial and technical resources through truly collaborative and shared activities with external partners including State Geological Surveys, academic institutions, and professional societies resulting in complete scoping meetings in 250 NPS units, producing digital geologic maps for 176 NPS units, and with numerous park mapping projects in progress, resulting in final geologic reports now available for 76 parks:

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: the Association of American State Geologists, on this 30th day of June, 2010 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, recognizes the Geologic Resources Division for its highly effective and successful efforts to improve our understanding, preservation, and management of the geologic resources of the National Park Service; applauds the Geologic Resources Inventory program in particular as a model of federal-state-academia cooperation; and expresses its deep thanks to GRD geologists, and in particular Bruce Heise and Lindsey McClelland, for their leadership, vision, and unselfish dedication in producing this extensive inventory of scientific products and in building and maintaining these partnerships.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that this resolution will be delivered to the Secretary of Interior, chief of the NPS Geologic Resources Division, NPS Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, and the Director of the NPS.

Ken Weaver, former Maryland State Geologist

We just learned that Ken Weaver, Director of the Maryland Geological Survey from 1963 to 1992, passed away yesterday. [right, Ken (r) with Chris Slaughter, on Chesapeake Bay. Credit, MGS]

Ken received the American Geological Institute (AGI) Ian Campbell Medal in 2001, with this citation:
“Dr. Weaver built a respected research and service unit in the Maryland Geological Survey,” says his citationist, Dr. Robert R. Jordan, Director and State Geologist of the Delaware Geological Survey. “Note that the magnificent home of the Maryland Geological Survey is officially named the Kenneth N. Weaver Building – a singular honor by his state – and that several hundred thousand visitors a year are introduced to science at the Sideling Hill Visitors’ Center that Ken developed,” Jordan added. The Center, which opened in 1991, is located at a rest area along Interstate 68 in Maryland. A dramatic syncline is exposed at the site demonstrating the folding of the Appalachians when two tectonic plates collided during the Permian period.

Weaver is from a Mennonite family of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He served as a Merchant Marine and then studied geology at Franklin and Marshall College and The Johns Hopkins University, where he completed his Ph.D. As Jordan notes in Weaver’s citation, “His graduate career started with an induction notice and ended with transformation from Ph.D. to PFC, this time with the Army Operations Research Office.”

In 1956, Weaver joined Medusa Corporation as Chief Geologist and later became Manager of its Geology and Quarry Department. He was appointed State Geologist and Director of the Maryland Geological Survey in 1963, a position he held for almost 30 years.

Weaver’s service to the profession is widely recognized. Honors include the Van Couvering Award, American Institute of Professional Geologists; the Cohee Public Service Award, American Association of Petroleum Geologists; and the John Wesley Powell Award, U.S. Geological Survey. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a past president of the Association of American State Geologists, and has served on the Executive Committee of the American Geological Institute. He is the 20th recipient of the Ian Campbell Medal.

The Maryland Board of Public Works renamed Bennett Hall, the home of the Maryland Geological Survey, the Kenneth N. Weaver Building on September 28, 1994, in honor of Dr. Kenneth N. Weaver, who served as State Geologist and Director of the Maryland Geological Survey from 1963 to 1992. The renaming was a fitting tribute, because it was largely Dr. Weaver's vision and leadership that led to DNR's acquisition of the property and to its subsequent renovation and restoration.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nevada's Price to receive GSA Public Service Award

Jon Price, State Geologist of Nevada, and Director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, will receive the Geological Society of America's Public Service Award for 2010.

"The GSA Public Service Award in honor of Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker, was established by Council in 1998 to be awarded for contributions that have materially enhanced the public's understanding of the earth sciences, or significantly served decision-makers in the application of scientific and technical information in public affairs and public policy related to the earth sciences."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

States to add new geothermal data to national system

State geological surveys will be gathering new state-specific data to contribute to the DOE-supported National Geothermal Data System.

Arlene Anderson, DOE Geothermal Technologies Program Team Lead for Strategic Planning, Analysis and Geothermal Informatics, briefed attendees at the AASG annual meeting last week that the cooperative agreement between AASG and DOE (managed by the Arizona Geological Survey) would expand the effort for collection of new data:

The expectation is that the new data will lead to derived geothermal gradients, heat flow, thermal conductivity, radioactive heat production numbers, and other geothermal relevant data as necessary in areas where such data are inadequate or lacking.

DOE will provide an additional $4.058 million of ARRA funding to the existing project for a new total of $21.94 million.

In related news, all 50 states are now represented in the project with the addition of data resources from Maryland and Delaware last week.

[cross posted at]

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Vicki Cowart to receive AGI's Campbell Medal

The 2010 winner of the AGI Medal in Memory of Ian Campbell for Superlative Service to the Geosciences will be Vicki J. Cowart, former State Geologist of Colorado.

The Campbell Medal is AGI's highest award, given in recognition of singular performance in and contributions to the profession of geology. Campbell was a man of remarkable accomplishment and widespread influence. He was a geologist, educator, administrator, and public servant. The Campbell Medal holds special significance for AASG, due to the role that Ian Campbell played in AASG, and due to the respect and admiration that the AASG community felt for Ian. AASG therefore was active in its establishment, and remains very active in its support.

Vicki is being recognized as a founder of the Association for Women Geoscientists, former Colorado State Geologist, and a past President of AASG. Prior to her Survey work, she spent 16 years in the petroleum industry.

Vicki was the highly effective State Geologist of Colorado and Director of the Colorado Geological Survey from 1992 until 2003. She was AASG Annual Meeting host in 1997, Statistician from 1996 until 1999, Treasurer in 1999, and President in 2001.

Vicki is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Early in her career she worked as a geophysicist for several oil and gas companies and was a District Manager for Schlumberger Well Services. Vicki is a Director of the Colorado School of Mines Foundation and is a past President of the Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association Board of Directors. Update, 7-9-10: In 2008, the Governor of Colorado appointed her one of seven Trustees of the Colorado School of Mines.

Environmental geology award to Utah Geological Survey team

The 2010 winners of the John C. Frye Memorial Award, for the best nominated environmental geology paper published by GSA or a state geological survey in one of the three previous calendar years, will be William Lund, Tyler Knudsen, Garrett Vice, and Lucas Shaw of the Utah Geological Survey. The authors will be recognized for the excellence of their work at the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver in November.


Cobb to lead AASG; new officers in place

Results of election of officers for AASG for the next year were announced at the annual meeting on Wednesday:

President - Jim Cobb (KY) [right, credit KGS]
President-Elect - Vicki McConnell (OR)
Vice President - Harvey Thorleifson (MN)
Secretary - Robert (Bob) Swenson (AK)
Treasurer - Jon Arthur (FL)
Editor-Pub Manager - Michael Hohn (WV)
Statistician - Rick Allis (UT)
Historian - William Kelly (NY)
Past-President - David Wunsch (NH)

AASG Presidential Awards

AASG President David Wunsch (NH) gave Presidential Awards to State Geologists Vicki McConnell (OR) and Lee Allison (AZ) at the during the AASG annual meeting banquet on Wed. night in New Jersey.

The awards are given "to recognize extraordinary service to the objectives of AASG by one or more active member(s) of the AASG community, during the preceding year." [photo credits, NJ Geological Survey]

AASG presents Distinguished Service Awards

Outgoing AASG President David Wunsch (NH) presented Distinguished Service Awards to 2 former State Geologists and one of our Associates at the organization's annual banquet on Wednesday night at the close of the annual meeting in New Brunswick New Jersey.

Awards were given to Emery Cleaves (MD) [left], John Kiefer (KY) [right] and Ernie Mancini (AL) [not pictured]. [photo credits, NJ Geological Survey]

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to particularly deserving retired or retiring State Geologists, Associates, and Honorary Members other than current officers who deserve to be recognized for the excellence of their efforts over the long term, and their pride in advancing our science and its application, in improving the work of State Geological Surveys, in improving dissemination of the knowledge we produce, in achieving effective coordination with partner agencies, and in promoting camaraderie among the membership of AASG.

Profile and interview of Missouri's first woman state geologist

Mimi Garstang, former State Geologist for Missouri, was the featured speaker at the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) breakfast on April 12, 2010 at the Geological Society of America (GSA) North Central/South Central sectional meeting in Branson. Missouri. That resulted in an interview and profile of Mimi in the AWG monthly magazine Gaea. [right, credit AWG Gaea]

Mimi's talk focused on advice for young professionals just getting started with their careers: Continue to learn
  • Don’t be afraid of a challenge
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Be true to your colors
  • Network
  • Push to be a better communicator

Texas' Tinker hailed as "Industry Icon"

Texas State Geologist Scott Tinker was profiled in the January 2010 issue of Oil and Gas Investor as the magazine begins "a monthly series profiling influential individuals who will change the
energy industry in the new decade and beyond."

Scott has directed the Bureau of Economic Geology at Univ. Texas, Austin since 1999. He is the on-screen narrator of a full-length documentary on world energy that is due to be released in August 2010.

Monday, June 28, 2010

175 years of geological surveys

The New Jersey Geological Survey is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, as is the British Geological Survey. They are the oldest state and national geological surveys in the world respectively.

NJ is hosting the 102nd annual meeting of AASG as I write this and a recurring theme of the first sessions is the societal relevance of the work of state geological surveys.

At yesterday's opening session, U.S. Rep. (and physicist) Rush Holt noted that America does not appreciate what State Geological Surveys contribute to the nation’s well being.

In the UK, the BGS' OpenGeoscience web page attracted 38 million page views in its first week online, which says the public demand for good, unbiased information is huge. Our job is to get it out in an easy to access and understandable manner.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Links to geology YouTube channels

The State Geologist video channel on YouTube has added subscriptions to a number of other channels with extensive collections of geology-themed videos. We will subscribe to others as we find them, so please pass along recommendations.

Here's one from the IRIS Education & Outreach channel showing the ground motions from the 2008 Wenchuan China earthquake.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AASG data project called cornerstone of national geothermal effort

The National Geothermal Data System was described as the "cornerstone" of the nations geothermal program for the next few years, by the Dept of Energy's geothermal head, Dr. Jay Nathwani, this morning in Washington DC.

The Arizona Geological Survey is the prime contractor, acting on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists, on an $18 million project to deploy the NGDS across the country and populate it with state-specific data. There are 5 projects involved in NGDS, with combined budgets of $33 million

Jay spoke at the plenary session of the 3-day long annual Peer Review of the 200 geothermal projects DOE is funding.

We launched our project yesterday with a full partners meeting in DC. We have 46 states involved in "State Geological Survey Contributions to the NGDS." The big challenges in the next couple of months are is getting detailed annual work plans for each state in place and setting up preliminary web services to enable core network functions.

[co-posted at ArizonaGeology]