Luczaj earns new grant for local bedrock research

A University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty member has earned $142,000 in research funding to complete a project expected to yield better maps of the bedrock beneath Brown County along with valuable data on groundwater and other resources.

Prof. John Luczaj, an earth scientist with the Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit, leads the team that will now complete the second year of a two-year project.Luczaj says mapping of the bedrock geology of the eastern half of Brown County — funded by an initial $109,000 in grants last year — has been completed. The new grant provides for completion of the western half during the coming 12 months.

The $142,075 is provided by the U.S. Geological Survey and its StateMap program ($67,047) and by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey ($75,028).

Luczaj’s research team includes geologists and GIS/database specialists, as well as UW-Green Bay students. The grants also provide money for core-sample drilling, testing and travel to inspect rock outcrops and quarries. Municipal records and well-construction reports from private drillers, nearly 10,000 in all, are being incorporated into the database.

Luczaj says a comprehensive bedrock map would necessarily be accompanied by a more thorough mapping of countywide soil and clay deposits that vary greatly in depth. The overall results could be of value to citizens concerned about bacterial contamination in shallow wells; to those who mine ornamental or crushed stone; and to land-use planners considering aquifer and “barrier” issues, groundwater recharge, and the potential for water and pollutants to travel comparatively quickly through fractured bedrock.

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.