Volume 25, No. 2 - WGWA Newsletter, Second Quarter 2011

President's Message

Our President is off doing fieldwork this week, so he asked me to send his regrets on not preparing a President's Page. The Annual Conference was a big success attendance-wise and many great talks were enjoyed.

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Plans are in progress for a Fall Field Trip in the Madison area. The rest of this newsletter will be dedicated to the subject of RESOURCE RECOVERY. Several good articles follow which will should make you proud you live in Wisconsin.

The Editor

Wisconsin's Mining Industry; Past, Present, and Future
By Bruce A. Brown P.G., Senior Geologist, of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

Most Wisconsinites would not immediately think of their state as an important mining state. However, the mineral production statistics kept by the U.S. Geological Survey consistently rank Wisconsin in the top three states in dimension limestone production, passing Indiana for top position in 2006. Preliminary figures for 2009 rank Wisconsin second to Illinois in production of industrial sand, due primarily to the explosive growth in demand for hydrofrac sand for the oil and gas industry. Prior to the recent economic downturn, Wisconsin produced nearly $400M worth of construction aggregates. Increasing metal prices have revived interest in base metals, precious metals, and most recently iron. Wisconsin also has a long history as a manufacturer of heavy equipment for the mining industry. Minerals and mining have always played a significant role in the history and economy of Wisconsin, and all indications are that they will continue to do so into the future.

Diamonds in Wisconsin?
By Ralph Neal Smith

We're all Diamond Hunters. Figuratively speaking - but a lot of folks are looking for treasures and who hasn't fantasized about finding a diamond while out enjoying nature? In Wisconsin, this is a remote possibility – the odds are like one in seventy million, but it has happened. Why Wisconsin? Because the state was glaciated, and the theory had been for 91 years that glaciers brought the diamonds and deposited them in glacial drift.

Open-pit mine proposed in Ashland and Iron counties
By Lee Bergquist of the Journal Sentinel

An affiliate of a privately held coal mining company is proposing to spend more than $1 billion to develop a large open-pit iron ore mine on an ancient mountain range in far northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite has purchased an option to lease the mineral rights on 22,000 acres covering 22 miles, near Mellen and Upson in Ashland and Iron counties.

The company is a subsidiary of the Cline Group, which controls large coal reserves in Illinois and parts of the Appalachian region.

The project is still years from starting. While supporters will trumpet the mine's economic benefits, it is sure to raise environmental concerns, especially potential threats to the Bad River and Lake Superior. READ MORE

Stratigraphy Corner – South-Central Wisconsin and Red Granite
Mauston to Ripon cross section
By Lee Trotta

This article is one of a series this issue dealing with "Resource Recovery".

Subterranean Wonders of the Twin Cities
by Greg Brick

I have compiled a list of what I regard as the most important and unique subterranean features of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro area, whether they be natural, artificial, or “inadvertent” features. All of them still exist, though perhaps not as they were in their glory days. Grouped by threes for convenience, the following, describing three Minneapolis caves, is the first of four articles in this “miniseries.” READ MORE

Taylor County - The State of Our Groundwater

Groundwater is referred to as the “Buried Treasure” in Taylor County. Conservation and protection of groundwater has been our top natural resource concern and priority since it was identified as such in Taylor County’s first Land & Water Resource Management Plan ten years ago. Taylor County citizens also recognize that groundwater provides critical base flow to our creeks and streams, and headwaters for some of the main river systems in Central and Northcentral Wisconsin (eg. Black, Little Black, Big Eau Pleine, Jump, Rib, Yellow, Mondeaux, Eau Claire, Spirit).

News from WGWA Member John Tweddale

John's son Luke, age 17, has a goal of representing the USA as a long-track speedskater during the Winter Olympic Games in 2014 and/or 2018. During the first weekend of February 2011, Luke won two silver and six bronze medals at the U.S. Junior Speedskating Championships and North American Championships held at the Pettit International Ice Center in Milwaukee.

During the same weekend, Tweddale was also one of five men and seven ladies from the U.S. at the International Skating Union (ISU) Junior World Cup, which provides an opportunity for Junior A and B speed skaters (ages 15-19) to compete at the top international level. His best finish there was 6th place in the 1500-meter race. According to Luke, "It’s nice to be back home and resting in Madison after some very competitive racing at the Pettit. I plan to end the season at the American Cup finals in Salt Lake City, and hopefully achieve some personal best times on their faster ice."

Those wishing to follow Luke's progress can be added to a monthly mailing list by contacting John Tweddale at jtweddale@tds.net.

The WGWA Newsletter Team

The Newsletter Editor, Lee Trotta, would like to introduce the expanded WGWA Newsletter Team. Please welcome them and look forward to continued top-notch news and articles each Quarter. The Team includes:

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Lee Trotta
Newsletter Editor

Joan Viney

Troy Thompson

Ralph Smith

Jennifer Blazer

In Memoriam

"Buzz" Ostrom was a mentor in the geology career of WGWA Editor, Lee Trotta. Always a resource, his field trip documentation was meticulous and his teaching style easy-going. The following "In Memoriam" is paraphrased from the UW Geology Department's "The Outcrop for 2010", p. 24.

Meredith E. "Buzz Ostrom, of Madison, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010, at the age of 79. Buzz was the State Geologist, Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, and Professor Emeritus, UW- Madison Department of Geoscience. He was a true "naturalist", a man for all seasons with an extremely broad range of knowledge and capabilities, and a compassionate leader who played an active role in community, university, state, and national affairs.

Interesting Articles and Other Tidbits on the Web

Overview of the ARkStorm Scenario
The U.S. Geological Survey, Multi Hazards Demonstration Project (MHDP) uses hazards science to improve resiliency of communities to natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, floods and coastal erosion. READ MORE

12 News Investigates: Something In The Water - Part 1
Study reveals more gastrointestinal illness in kids after heavy rains.

Conferences, Meetings, and Courses (March thru October)

May 3: FET Water/ Wastewater Issues Update, Liberty Hall, Kimberly, WI, go to www.fetinc.org to register online

May 5: FET Environmental Regulatory Update,Comfort Inn & Suites/Northstar Conference Ctr, DeForest, WI, go to www.fetinc.org to register online

May 17-18: Aquifer Testing for Improved Hydrogeologic Site Characterization. Mississauga, Ontario, Price: $1,195. Complete course information here.

May 19: Rock River Recovery Educational Forum: Targeting Water Quality Improvements. 8:00, registration opens, 8:30 – 11:15 presentations followed by facilitated discussions. Pre-registration requested by emailing Theresa.ford@wisconsin.gov. Location: Jefferson County UWEX Office, 864 Collins Rd Jefferson.

May 20: Ledge Tours Washington Island Adventure: 9:30am-4:00pm. Unique behind-the scenes tour of this renowned part of Wisconsin’s Niagara Escarpment – Washington Island. Maximum 20 persons. Sign up bycontacting Sherrill Anderson (920)412-1920 or sherrill@1nrp.org. Registration/payment due by May 17, 2011.

May 19-21: NGWA and Western Michigan University’s Aquifer and Slug Tests Short Course. Kalamazoo, Michigan. $1190.00 per person - Late Registration after April 15th 2011. Information here.

June 6: An Evening on the Lake: by the Clean Lakes Alliance. Learn how we can save our lakes. Includes reception and conversation about creatinga new lakes legacy; live auction; day/night captained cruise on board new Sea Ray Sport Yacht on Lake Mendota. RSVP by May 23 to rsvp@cleanlakesalliance.com or 608-836-6973.

June 9: Rock River Recovery Educational Forum: Whether Weather Changes will Impact the Rock. 8:00, registration opens, 8:30 – 11:15 presentations followed by facilitated discussions. Pre-registration requested by emailing Theresa.ford@wisconsin.gov. Location: Jefferson County UWEX Office, 864 Collins Rd Jefferson

June 14-16: Improving Hydrogeologic Analysis of Fractured Bedrock Systems: Advances from Field Characterization to Ground Water Modeling. University of Wisconsin, Madison. Click HERE for more informaton.

June 14-17: Hydrogeology Field Methods Course: What You Didn’t Learn in School. Andover, Minnesota. Designed for new and soon-to-be groundwater professionals wishing to bridge the gap between scientific theory/academia and critical real-world field experience and daily operations. Click HERE for more informaton.

June 16-19: A River Gathering: There’s No Place Like Home: Rockford IL. An opportunity to canoe, hike, bird watch, explore and enjoy an amazing area. Registration Deadline May 27. Registration packet withpresentations/field trips: MORE INFO. Email: tdawson@boonecounty

June 17: DNAPLS in Fractured Rock Aquifers: Advances in Characterization, Monitoring and Remediation Strategies and Technologies University of Wisconsin, Madison. Click HERE for more information.

June 18-19: Groundwater Systems: Managing the Resource. Chicago, IL. Gain a better understanding of the interrelationships of groundwater and surface water, and the impacts on water resource management issues in this new NGWA two-day course. Click HERE for more information.

Jul 8-10: EcoFair360 II: Now accepting applications for exhibitors, speakers, demonstrators, sponsors and volunteers for Walworth event. For more information: EcoFair360II

July 25–29: Fundamentals of Stream Restoration: Applied Geomorphology & Ecology: Fergus Falls MN. The first course in our restoration series, provides fundamental knowledge of river dynamics and streamclassification. Cost is $1000. (Flyer with registration form available at www.mndnr.gov/eco/streamhab)

Oct. 9-12: 2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Geological Society of America. "Archean to Anthropocene - the Past is the Key to the Future"