The Wisconsin Section of the American Water Resources Association has honored UW-Green Bay student and Geoscience major Christa Kananen. She was given the best undergraduate student poster award last week for her research project on groundwater levels in the deep sandstone aquifer of Marinette County. Her poster (with co-author Prof. John Luczaj of Geoscience) was titled: “Drawdown of the Potentiometric Surface in the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer in Marinette County, Wisconsin” The award will eventually be posted at http://state.awra.org/wisconsin/studentposteraward.html.
The best-of-the-best students in Natural and Applied Sciences programs were honored at an annual scholarship reception held Jan. 30. Twenty-five students were awarded a total of $31,150 in scholarships that nearly doubled last year’s total of $15,200. The scholarships recognized student achievement in academics, research, and overall excellence. The new scholarships introduced this year include the Todd and Julie Bartels Scholarship, the Chad Moritz and Beth Meyer Scholarship, and the Faith Technologies, Inc. Scholarship for Engineering Technology. (Next year, NAS will introduce five additional scholarships.) Students selected to receive awards are: Kristine Berry, Environmental Science major; Krystal Clark, Environmental Science; Matthew Malcore, Environmental Science and Environmental Policy and Planning; Ashley Morin, Biology; Molly Dederich, Mathematics; Christa Kananen, Geoscience; Angela Smet, Environmental Science major; Jessica Finger, Biology; Brianna Messner, Mathematics and Spanish; Michael Pietraszek, Biology; Roberta Reif, Biology; Jeremiah Shrovnal, Environmental Science; Gabriel Michaels, Mathematics; Tiffany Marshall, Pre-Professional Engineering Program; Hanne Guthrie, Environmental Science, Pre-Professional Engineering Program, and Spanish; Reed Heintzkill, Pre-Professional Engineering and Chemistry; Matthew Nichols, Individual Major (related to environmental engineering) and Chemistry; Caroline Nakanwagi, Chemistry; Jordan Marty, Biology; Christi Branham, Chemistry; Samuel Frisbie, Engineering Technology (Environmental) and Geoscience; Shannon Mackey, Environmental Science; Amanda Nothem, Chemistry; Michael Xie, Mathematics major. For more on each student and the scholarship received.
The winner of this year’s Sager Scholarship is Christa Kananen, a senior majoring in Geoscience with a minor in Environmental Science. Her paper “Drawdown of the Potentiometric Surface of the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer in Marinette County” was based on her undergraduate research project under the guidance of NAS Associate Prof. John Luczaj. The Sager Scholarship for Scientific Writing was established by retired UW-Green Bay faculty members Paul and Dorothea Sager in memory of Chancellor Emeritus Edward Weidner and his commitment to UW-Green Bay and the Cofrin Arboretum. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a UW-Green Bay undergraduate who has demonstrated excellence in scientific writing resulting from a classroom or extracurricular academic activity. Students receiving honorable mention for this year’s competition were Reed Heintzkill, Courtney Pagenkopf, Holly Plamann, Alex Stenner and Timothy Zietz.
John Luczaj, associate professor of Natural and Applied Sciences and chair of UW-Green Bay’s Geoscience program, has granted numerous interviews to local reporters as they try to make sense of the Leo Frigo Bridge closure for their readers, viewers and listeners. Luczaj is an authority on the bedrock and soils of Brown County, having completed the first comprehensive bedrock map of the county for the Wisconsin Geologic Survey.
In a lengthy article in the Oct. 13 edition of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Luczaj is one of the scientists and engineers quoted as to why Pier 22, one of the massive concrete pillars supporting the I-43 bridge, slipped two feet into the ground. Although state highway officials say the most likely explanation is shallow-layer corrosion of steel beams caused by fly ash, organic material and industrial waste used to fill the wetlands decades ago, Luczaj and at least one other expert say the cause might lie much deeper. Because the steel pilings below the pier don’t reach bedrock, approximately 130 feet below, they would be resting on a layer of clay or sand. Luczaj notes that the local water table has risen rapidly and dramatically since Green Bay suburbs deactivated most of their municipal wells and began piping Lake Michigan water from Manitowoc. That change in the aquifer could have greatly altered the stability of the soil layer, he says. It’s another theory, and an interesting one, as the investigation continues and the DOT evaluates bridge supports to determine how soon that section of the mile-long, 120-foot high harbor bridge can be repaired.
The P-G article is archived at www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20131012/GPG0101/310120334/.
Retired Geoscience Prof. Steve Dutch sends us a photo taken Wednesday night (March 13) from the campus bayshore near Lambeau Cottage. The Comet PANSTARRS is faintly visible in a view looking back toward the mouth of the Fox River. For the photo and more on the comet, click here.
Retired Geosciences Prof Steve Dutch sends us this photo taken Wednesday night (March 13) from the campus bayshore near Lambeau Cottage. See the Comet PANSTARRS? In this image the comet is faintly visible about one-third of the way down the image, almost directly above the bright light at bottom. (This view is looking back toward the mouth of the Fox River and the Pulliam Plant emissions stack.) Dutch said that by early the week of March 18, the comet will be slowly moving north (right, in the photo) and higher from the horizon, but probably also fainter. He said it should be easy to see in binoculars and maybe with the unaided eye from a very dark location.
National Public Radio carried a report over the weekend on the comet. Click here.
Geoscience Prof. John Luczaj is the man responsible for the first comprehensive map of Brown County’s bedrock, part of a statewide project commissioned by the State of Wisconsin and the U.S. Geologic Survey.
The resultant map should be of value to citizens concerned about bacterial contamination in shallow wells; to those who mine crushed stone; and to land-use planners considering aquifer issues, groundwater recharge, and the potential for water and pollutants to travel comparatively quickly through fractured bedrock.
“There are a number of people who need to know about the subsurface: People who are putting in utilities like water pipelines or gas pipelines, they need to know how deep it is to bedrock. People who are operating quarries, they want to know where resources are. People who are trying to figure our groundwater resources and how groundwater contaminates might move. If you don’t understand the subsurface geology you’re not going to have a handle on what those groundwater characteristics look like, how the groundwater is going to move,” Luczaj says.
Luczaj (pronounced LOOCH-eye) and his team inspected outcrops and quarries, core samples from drilling, and well-construction reports. His grant also allowed for a visit by a heavy-duty, earth-shaking “vibra” truck — perhaps the first seismic testing of its kind in Wisconsin, Luczaj says.
The in-ground sonogram helped confirm the existence of long-suspected faults — no longer active and likely millions of years old — in the sedimentary rock that underlies much of Brown County.
Despite roughly 100 feet of vertical displacement, the plates are entirely stable and of direct interest only to groundwater researchers… and, indirectly, to Packers fans, as a curiosity. One of the faults, several hundred feet deep, is believed to run in the general vicinity of Lambeau Field.
Luczaj’s research team included geologists and GIS/database specialists, as well as UW-Green Bay students. The project, more than two years in the making, was supported by $250,000 in grants from the US. Geologic Survey and the UW-Extension state survey, known as the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.
Luczaj joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2005. He was previously a senior scientist and data manager with American Hydrogeology Corp. He holds a Ph.D. and master’s in geology from Johns Hopkins University in addition to a master’s from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s from UW-Oshkosh.
His mapping project began in the eastern half of Brown County, where relatively less was known about the stratigraphy of sedimentary rocks that are up to nearly 1,500 feet thick in places, and where few wells are deep enough to approach the pre-Cambrian “basement.” The second-year investigation centered mainly on western parts of the county.
A simple version of Luczaj’s Brown County map can be found online.
Already sent campuswide but repeated here for the record: Geoscience Prof. Steve Dutch, who recently celebrated 35 years with the University, is retiring. Punch and cake will be served from noon to 3 p.m. in Environmental Sciences Suite 317 to celebrate his retirement. All are welcome.
Geoscience Prof. Steve Dutch will deliver the final NAS Seminar Series presentation for the semester Friday, May 4, offering thoughts on technology, change and progress through his lecture “How the West Dominated Technology or What I Learned From My General Ed Course.” The event kicks off with a 3 p.m. social in ES 317, which will be followed by Dutch’s talk from 3:30-4:30 in ES 328. The series is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Institute for Research.
It was a very busy week, media-wise, for UW-Green Bay Geoscience Prof. Steve Dutch and his colleague Prof. Steve Luczaj. The mysterious disturbance in Clintonville made headlines across the state and nation, and even beyond. Dutch, especially, was a go-to source for what was — or perhaps more aptly, what wasn’t — happening in the Waupaca County city. In an interview for an Associated Press story that appeared mid-week before USGS confirmation of a 1.5 magnitude quake and mini-quakes, Dutch suggested that granite and water might be the keys. The Detroit Free Press was among those carrying the story: click here.