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Technical Session Abstracts

Alphabetical According to Lead Presenter/Author. Posters are listed together after the session abstracts.

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David Abbott,
CPG, Consulting Geologist, Denver, CO,

Geoethics is being promoted by the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG), an organization born in 2012 and more fully developed in Cape Town Statement on Geoethics of October 2016 following the 35th International Geological Conference. Definition: Geoethics consists of research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviors and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. Geoethics deals with the ethical, social, and cultural implications of geoscience education, research and practice, and with the social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities.” The IAPG has 10 fundamental values of geoethics. The first six values reflect traditional geoscience ethics concepts such as honesty, integrity, competence, communicating science and results while recognizing intrinsic limitations of probability and uncertainty, verifying data and information sources, working cooperatively and with mutual respect, and respecting natural processes and phenomena including geohazards. The last four values encourage protection of geodiversity, enhancing geoheritage protection, ensuring the sustainability of future generations’ supply of energy and other natural resources and promotion of geo-education and outreach. Key geoethical questions are: “What should be considered ‘geoethics’ in an operational sense?” and “What is peripheral to it?” The aspiration to ensure the sustainability of the supply of energy and other natural resources for future generations conflicts with the fact that the supplies of energy and other natural resources are depletable, that individual deposits have a limited extent. This conundrum appears in the various papers addressing resource extraction in the spirit of the geoethical values. Other issues include ethical but upsetting geoscience research, the protection of geodiversity and avoiding outcrop destruction, and establishing and maintaining geoheritage sites around the world.


David Abbott,
CPG, Consulting Geologist, Denver, CO,

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) published the first geoscience Code of Ethics in 1924 as a means of dealing with oil and gas frauds. As a result of the first uranium exploration boom of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) appointed a committee to determine if a code of ethics was needed but decided against adopting a code in 1954. The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) essentially adopted AAPG’s Ethics Code at the time when it was founded in 1963. The AAPG and AIPG Codes had statements about advertising that they were substantially changed following Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actions in the 1980s. Most other geoscience societies didn’t adopt ethics codes until the past 20 years. These codes have common elements (honesty, competence, conflicts of interest resolution, and respect for colleagues) and some less common (publishing issues). And there are emerging issues including harassment and discrimination, unstainable development, geodiversity, and geoheritage. Continuing professional development is addressed differently by different societies; some only recommend it, and others require it. Whether or not discipline for violations is required, varies as well. Most codes agree that protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare supersedes protection of client confidentiality. Anti-discrimination and harassment statements are more recent additions to ethics codes. The Europe-based Geoethics movement, started in 2012, contains statements about geodiversity, geoheritage, and sustainability to ensure resource supplies for future generations.


Hasan Al-Saedi, SA, Rolla, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO,

Low salinity (LS) water flooding is a promising Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) method which has been examined by many experimental studies and field pilots for a variety of reservoirs and oils. This paper investigates applying LS flooding to a heavy oil. Increasing the LS water temperature improves heavy oil recovery by achieving higher sweep efficiency and improving oil mobility by lowering its viscosity. Steam flooding projects have reported many problems such as steam gravity override, but override can be lessened if the steam is alternated with hot LS water.

In this study, a series of reservoir sandstone cores were obtained from Bartlesville Sandstone (in Eastern Kansas). The cores were cleaned by Soxhlet extraction using toluene and methanol. After the core preparations and petrophysical parameters were measured, the cores were then aged with heavy crude oil (from the same reservoir) at 95°C for 45 days. Five reservoir cores were used in this study, and five treatments were performed. They were flooded with (a) steam; (b) formation hot water (FHW); (c) low salinity hot water (LSHW); (d) steam + FHW; and (e) steam + LSHW (so-called LSASF).

The laboratory experiments showed that basic water flooding using FW recovered approximately 50% of original oil-in-place (OOIP). After that initial flood, upon switching to the various steam, FHW, LSHW, steam + FHW, and steam + LSHW treatments, the incremental oil recoveries were 5, 3.1, 6.3, 7.5, and 12% OOIP, respectively. The contact angle measurements showed that injecting steam + LSHW alters the wettability considerably more than using steam + FHW. The results of this work show that water flooding using LSHW in reservoir cores could improve oil recovery significantly because it both reduces oil viscosity and alters the rock wettability towards more water-wet. The results also showed using LSHW alternated with steam is more beneficial than using steam only or alternated with regular water due to the combined benefits of reducing gravity override and altering the wettability. Using LSHW water is more economical than using steam and gives significantly improved oil recovery, and using LSHW is more beneficial than ambient temperature LS water. Results are reported from both coreflooding experiments and through simulation with CrunchFlow Multicomponent Reactive Flow and Transport Software.

Chemical analyses showed that using this novel LS water plus steam method improves recovery by enhancing the permeability of the rock, reducing precipitation caused by LS water flooding, and increasing dissolution of minerals which increased oil recovery. We also developed the LS water alternating steam flood in order to gather the benefits of LS water itself and to reduce oil viscosity by steam and prevent the aforementioned steam problems by using LS water.


Stephen Baker,
MEM, Operation Unite, Nevada City, CA,

Young professionals are entering a work environment where aging geologists and other related geoscience professionals are retiring. This creates a unique and difficult environment for young professionals coming into the market. The problem developing is: industries that are losing their more senior professionals won't have enough trained and experienced recruits to choose from when seeking to fill staff openings. Young professionals will need to accelerate their immersion into the industry.

Compounding this employment gap is an anticipated increase in geosciences needs created by the consequences of a changing environment. We need, in the geosciences, leaders to bridge the gap between well-trained (academic) young professionals and the world where generic classroom textbook situations seldom occur. Economic considerations, technical advancements, time schedules, demands from our communities, and the limitations of our tools and science each, cumulatively, make it difficult to find and execute sound problem-solving.

I will be sharing advice on:
  • Finding a job,
  • Keeping your job,
  • Continuing education,
  • The importance of a registered/certified professional,
  • Ethical choices,
  • Finding a mentor and
The Meet Your Mentor program.

The audience will walk away with practical steps that will help them navigate their first years as young professionals.


Brandy Barnes,
YP, Draper Aden Associates, Raleigh, NC, 

As a significant number of geologists near retirement, geoscience industries are in demand for rising young professionals. For an individual entering or growing in the geoscience workforce, having a professional career path with a solid foundation of mentorship from senior geoscientists is the perfect recipe for success. The bond between mentor and mentee cannot be underestimated as it provides for a more successful career for the protégé while at the same time giving their senior advisor gratification and renewed energy. This bond can be formed within a company or professional organization and through these mentorships, our geoscience community can support and educate students and young professionals in topics of licensing, ethics, professional development, industry topics, networking, and geoscience policy.

Through mentorship, mentors and mentees actively participate in uniting the geoscience community. The bonds created ensure continued growth of new ideas, protection of geoscience education and professional licensure, communication across generations, and the strengthening of geoscience traditions.


Andy Boeckeler,
Nobis Group, Concord, NH,; Ed Hathaway, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Boston, MA

The Vermont Copper Belt (VCB) is a collection of stratiform sulfide ore deposits (i.e. Besshi-type) believed to have formed during Silurian-Devonian sea floor syngenetic-exhalative processes. The VCB supplied the largest metal production in New England from the late 1700s to 1958, derived primarily from three copper mines, the Elizabeth Mine, the Ely Mine, and the Pike Hill Mines (all three now abandoned). Due in large part to environmental impacts from acid-rock and acid-mine drainage (ARD/AMD), these three abandoned VCB mines were added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) and are now being cleaned up under the Superfund program. All three sites are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places due to the presence of mine-related features that reflect the unique cultural and industrial history of the mines. All three sites are also important habitat for endangered or threatened species of bats and have been severely impacted by the White-nose syndrome.

The Elizabeth Mine, located in South Strafford and Thetford, lies within the Devonian Gile Mountain Formation and is the oldest and largest VCB mine. It was discovered in 1793 and mined between 1809 and 1958. The Ely Mine, located in Vershire, also lies within the Gile Mountain. It was discovered in 1813 and mined primarily between 1853 and 1905. The Pike Hill Mines are a collection of three smaller mines (Union, Eureka, and Smith Mines) located on Pike Hill in the Town of Corinth, Vermont. They were discovered in 1845 within the Silurian Waits River Formation and operated intermittently between 1846 and 1919.

EPA and the State of Vermont have performed multiple investigations, feasibility studies, remedial designs, and clean-up actions to address the environmental issues at the VCB mines. Completed or pending clean-up actions at the Elizabeth Mine include: stabilization and buttressing of over four million cubic yards of tailings/waste rock piles; construction of a 45-acre waste rock and tailings repository; passive and active water treatment; stream channel and wetlands re-construction; and flooded adit closures. Work performed at Ely to date includes investigations and remedial designs to address surface impacts from tailings/waste rock and closure of flooded adits. EPA has yet to initiate a significant investigation or clean-up activities at Pike Hill.

This presentation will discuss the overall investigation and clean-up approach for the VCB mines. It will highlight challenges that are somewhat unique to New England hard-rock mines (versus western mines). Lastly, it will describe how the technical approach has evolved over more than 17 years of environmental work (i.e., the lessons learned).


Jessica Davey,
YP, MHA Petroleum Consultants, LLC, Denver, CO,

Ethics in geoscience is becoming increasingly essential as the global economy is connected digitally. Reports of unethical practices can make the rounds on social media within hours of occurring, creating a lasting impact for the entities involved. Extractive industries in many countries are facing increasingly restrictive regulations due to climate change policy and human rights movements; however, not all countries are jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to these tighter regulations. This discontinuity results in a polarizing effect on industry and the general public, essentially creating a “good versus evil” or ethical versus unethical dilemma. There are distinct differences between professional and personal ethics, and reconciling the two may prove a difficult feat when faced with challenging scenarios involving the geoscience industry. The manner in which industry professionals choose to communicate with the general public may also raise ethical concerns. Two case studies will be discussed and compared to aspects of the current American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Code of Ethics as well as potential personal ethics concerns related to the issues discussed.

Case Study 1: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and cobalt mining. Ethical question: If a company has social license to operate, does that give them permission to do so even if it is at the detriment of those living in the area-or the environment-in regions of the globe where there are insufficient environmental and human rights policies?

Case Study 2: Regulatory climate in Colorado affecting oil and gas development. Ethical question: When the future of an industry is at stake due to the current political environment, how far should someone go to protect their livelihood?

Increased ethical awareness and consistent ethical practices support all stakeholders involved in geoscience industry transactions and will aid in reconciling personal ethical issues that may arise. Examining the ethical issues in these two case studies, and drawing attention to the potential grey areas and/or violations to the AIPG Code of Ethics, will hopefully create awareness in AIPG professionals to act according to the agreed upon Code of Ethics as well as reexamine their own internal ethics in the process.


Frank Ettensohn,
CPG, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY,

Professional geologists often depend on continuous rock coring for resource characterization or process development. Hence, careful logging of cores is critical, because incomplete or inconsistent logging can lead to the loss of potentially valuable information. About 40 years ago in the coal industry, this situation suggested the value of photographic core-logging manuals with descriptive codes to facilitate consistency in core description and ease of use in the transfer and computerization of the information. Although used in parts of the coal and shale-gas industries, such logging manuals are still not widely used in many other geologic fields where they might prove useful. Such manuals are especially useful where geologists are frequently examining a given series of rocks (e.g., coal measures) or the rocks in a given area.

Manual development requires access to typical cores from the given sequence of rocks or from the rocks of a given area. Representative core segments showing characteristic lithologies, structures, or colors from the sequence or area are chosen and photographed on a neutral-gray background with English and metric scales. These lithologies and features are then coded in a code string via alpha-numeric characters and character placement in the string. Such a code must be developed around four criteria: 1.) simplicity; 2.) consistency so that each placement position always represents the same lithologic character and each alpha-numeric descriptor always means the same thing in that position; 3.) flexibility so that new descriptors can be added; and 4.) ability to be digitized. An example of such a code would be the four-place code string (XXXX; X’s are merely place holders) developed by Ettensohn and Hendricks (2015)* for shale-gas cores in Kentucky, wherein a digit or letter, and its position in the four-place string, identify a specific rock type or feature. The first position represents the predominant rock type; the second position, a subordinate rock type if present; the third position, the color of the predominant lithology; and the fourth position, special features like sedimentary structures, fossils, accessory minerals, cements, stains, etc. A decimal term can be added in a fifth position to further define the special feature. For example, the string 6031 codes for light-gray limestone with fossils (6=limestone; 0=no secondary lithology; 3=light gray; and 1=fossils), whereas the string 6231.9 codes for light-gray shaly limestone with bryozoan fossils (6=limestone; 2=interbedded subordinate shale; 3=light gray; 1=fossils; .9=bryozoans).

The system is easily learned, and for professionals who describe large numbers of cores or quarry sections, especially from specific sequences of rocks or from the rocks of a given area, the manual system accelerates description and ensures consistency. Finally, any manual must be sturdy, compact and capable of use in the field as well as the core library.

*Ettensohn, F.R., and Hendricks, R.T., 2015, Photographic core-logging manual for rocks within and adjacent to the Devonian–Mississippian black-shale sequence in Kentucky and nearby areas: Morehead, Rubicon Geologic Consulting, 54 p.


Robert Font,
CPG, Parker, TX,

The Cretaceous outcrops of Texas rank among the best in the world. These strata have mesmerized the author for the past 50 years. A good portion of the Cretaceous stratigraphic section crops out in the North-Central Texas region. Thus, our study area concentrates on an eight-county region in the heart of the Lone Star State. 

Of specific interest to writer are the depositional history and stratigraphic characteristics of the basal Trinity Group, as well as the geotechnical problems related to clay-shales which form part of the younger Washita, Woodbine and Eagle Ford groups. 

The initial Cretaceous sediments were deposited on an erosional surface known as the “Wichita Paleoplain.” The lowermost Cretaceous lithic units are fluvio-lacustrine and estuarine in origin, rather than marine. A red mudstone earlier thought as being of Carboniferous age was found to contain the fresh-water charophyte “Atopochara trivolvis,” an index fossil for the Cretaceous. The basal Trinity sands (Hosston and Hensel formations, in ascending order) were laid down in lakes, streams, estuaries, bays and lagoons. The overlying fossiliferous Glen Rose Limestone represents a near-shore to open marine section with three distinct members. The Lower Glen Rose is globally known for its well-preserved theropod, sauropod and ornithopod dinosaur tracks.The Thorp Springs middle member is characterized by a very high calcium carbonate content and marks the furthest extent of a marine transgression. The alternating limestone and marl beds of the Upper Glen Rose are sandier than the lower units, depicting a regressive episode when the supply of clastics increased.

The Del Rio Clay of the Washita Group, the Pepper Shale of the Woodbine group and the plastic clays of the Eagle Ford Group are amongst the most problematic earth materials found in the territory. These over-consolidated strata are made up of smectite-rich and illite-rich clays of low shear strength which are well-known for giving rise to various types of foundation problems, as well as for their slope instability. High values of Atterberg limits and indices are recorded in the laboratory. Unconfined compression tests and direct shear strength tests simulating a variety of field conditions (UU, CU, CD and residual strength) have typically yielded low values of both cohesive strength and coefficients of friction. Slope failure types include ductile flows, rotational slumps and falls as documented in selected case histories. Determining the strength parameters applicable to existing field conditions is of paramount importance. Cooperation and integration of both geological and engineering expertise is crucial to mitigate potential failures. 


Mayor Tony Giunta, PG, CPG, The Nobis Group, Concord, NH,

To borrow from Dickens, I consider these to be "the best of times, and the worst of times..." During most of human civilization's use of fossil fuels, we have done so with complete impunity. However, in the 1970s we began to realize our fossil resources were limited and the impacts of combusting these energy sources were real, measurable, and harmful to both our environment and life on planet earth.

At the turn of the 21st century, there was an international movement to reduce the use of fossil fuels and transition to renewable sustainable energy sources. This presentation attempts to give attendees a better understanding of the amount energy consumed in the United States (US), a breakdown of both sources and quantities from which that energy is derived (i.e. 30% crude oil, 40% coal, 20% nuclear, etc.), how that mix of sources is changing, and finally real-world examples of how to reduce energy consumption by simply rethinking antiquated pre-existing unchallenged historic ways we currently use energy.

The presentation borrows from published US Energy Information Agency (EIA) graphics along with visuals from the presenter’s experience having founded his own renewable energy company. Participants will leave the presentation with a better understanding of the enormous amount of energy our country consumes, barriers to moving from one source of energy to another, and intrinsic difficulties associated with “moving the dial” when it comes to changing our energy consumption patterns.


David Heidlauf,
CPG, Ramboll, Geneva, IL,

A new hybrid Potentially Responsibility Party (PRP) type emerged with the late 1990s revision of the US Bankruptcy Code, which provided bankrupt companies seeking to emerge from bankruptcy with a mechanism to address contingent liabilities posed by environmentally impaired properties through the establishment of remediation trusts. Through the bankruptcy process administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ), bankrupt companies have transferred environmentally-impaired properties with negotiated funding into court-approved remediation trusts to sever their contingent liabilities associated with these properties. The charge of the remediation trusts is to remediate the properties and to sell, if possible. The logic behind this provision in the revised bankruptcy code is that it is better for society to receive some funding versus no funding from bankrupt companies to help address their legacy environmentally-impaired properties.

Since 2002, Ramboll US Corporation (Ramboll) has worked with seven LePetomane Inc. entities as trustees of seven remediation trusts, which have been responsible for 50 plus environmentally-impaired sites located in 25 states and nine USEPA Regions. These sites have been managed under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act National Priorities List (CERLCA NPL), CERLCA removal action, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and various state voluntary, agricultural chemical, and petroleum regulatory programs and include former chemical manufacturing, waste recycling, waste disposal, waste treatment, smelting, mining, and rail siding affiliated uses.

Most remediation trusts are funded based on historic investigation data, remediation liability estimates and available assets and, therefore, may not be adequately funded to address the liabilities associated with their sites. The beneficiaries of remediation trusts are federal or state entities. When the remediation trust’s funding has been fully utilized, the trust will work with its beneficiaries to determine the ultimate disposition of the property. This dynamic has facilitated in many, but not all remediation trust projects, a partnership atmosphere between the trust, the trust’s environmental contractor, USEPA, and state environmental representatives to maximize the net environmental benefit of response actions funded and/or performed by the trust. In some cases, the primary trust beneficiary (i.e., USEPA) has opted the trust to pay for its contractor to perform response actions while in other cases the trust’s environmental contractor performs response actions under agency supervision.

With the portfolio of remediation trust sites where Ramboll has served as the trusts’ environmental consultant, work is continuing for those sites that still have funding, some sites have been fully remediated and sold, work has stopped at those sites where funding has been exhausted and the remediation trusts are working with their respective beneficiaries as to the final disposition of both the fully remediated sites, as well as the partially remediated sites. Remediation trusts, when partnering with their federal and state beneficiaries, have the capacity to develop pragmatic approaches to environmental response actions to maximize the benefit of the trust’s available assets.


Jonathan Higgins, CPG, Higgins Environmental Associates, Inc., Amesbury, MA,

What happened to a once abundant iron mineral resource in New England prior to the 1800sthe lake and bog iron nodules? Before the 1800s, bog and lake iron nodules were widespread in freshwater lakes and ponds of New England. Numerous bloomeries and blast furnaces were set up to process this iron mineral resource. Historical mineral resource surveys of New England and business ledgers from the larger colonial-era furnaces helped to document the pre-1800s occurrence and spatial extent of iron nodules. I completed a review of published literature to establish the biogeochemical conditions associated with the occurrence and formation of lake and bog iron nodules.

Fieldwork completed since 2010 has documented the current, but more limited, occurrence and spatial extent of lake iron nodules in parts of New England and in the Canadian Maritimes. Findings indicate that the current more limited extent of lake iron nodules is spatially related to pre-1995 acid rain (sulfate and nitrate) wet and dry deposition areas of New England. Based on research and field assessment findings, sulfate impacts to New England’s fresh water and sediments would have a stronger negative impact on the natural biogeochemical cycling of iron and formation of lake iron nodules. Sulfate in fresh water and sediment can increase the rate and depth of organic detritus/sediment oxidation, ferric oxide reduction, enhance the release of nutrients such as phosphorus, and lead to anoxic conditions at depth in water and in sediment. In addition, sulfides readily form iron sulfide minerals with available ferrous iron which reduces iron binding capacity with phosphorus. While sulfate impacts to surface waters have decreased since the mid-1990s and dissolved organic carbon content continues to increase, historical sulfate impacts to sediments remain. In conclusion, through historical research, field assessment and published literature reviews, lake iron nodules in New England serve as an “index mineral” relative to surface water and sediment quality changes over time (pre-1800s to today) due primarily to sulfate impacts.


Jonathan Higgins, CPG, Higgins Environmental Associates, Inc., Amesbury, MA,

This presentation introduces three recently patented, new and innovative mining tools to permanently and sustainably remove targeted areas of excess nutrients, contaminants and soft sediments from surface water and sediment. The first tool, the “A-Pod,” is used to rapidly capture then permanently remove solids such as harmful algae blooms and their often ore-grade concentrations of phosphorus directly from water. The second tool, the “P-Pod,” is deployed onto the sediment surface where it then induces dissolution of nutrients/contaminants into the contained area of the P-Pod for permanent removal. The third tool, the “S-Pod” is a small-footprint apparatus used to remove targeted areas of soft sediment with minimal disturbance to water bodies or surrounding land areas. Field and laboratory testing results will be presented for proof of concept runs documenting the efficiency and application of each of these innovative mining tools.


Hans Hoffman, CPG, ASRC Energy Services, Anchorage, AK,; Trent Hubbard, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division, Fairbanks, AK,; Susan Wilson, CPG, 3rd Rock Consulting, Wasilla, AK,

The Arctic Strategic Transportation and Resources (ASTAR) project is an initiative of the State of Alaska to identify, evaluate, and advance opportunities to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities in North Slope communities through responsible infrastructure development. In partnership with the North Slope Borough, the State seeks to collaborate with area communities and other stakeholders in an effort to identify community infrastructure and regional connectivity projects that offer the greatest cumulative benefits for the region.

This geologic terrain unit and hazards mapping effort supports a construction material resource assessment to help inform planning and land use decision-making for the communities of Wainwright, Utqiagvik, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut, as well as other public and private entities in the region. The project area lies within the Arctic Coastal Plain and Lower Foothills physiographic provinces and includes 21,740 square miles of Alaska’s North Slope, an area nearly the size of West Virginia, that extends from the Dalton Highway, across the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), to the Chukchi Sea coast.

Geologic terrain and hazard analyses aid in potential project siting, evaluation of engineering consideration, and identification of potential construction materials sources. These analyses include defining geologic units and completing associated mapping of the identified terrain units, potential geologic hazards, and potential materials sources. Terrain units are developed based on the landforms and geologic units characteristic of a generalized soil profile. Understanding the general physical characteristics of the soils provides an indication of geotechnical characteristics of these materials, including suspected permafrost distribution, erosion potential, frost heave potential, thaw settlement potential, thawed bearing strength, and overall slope stability. Many potential geologic hazards can be avoided, or their effects on planned projects minimized, if identified early in the planning process. 

The project area is underlain by continuous permafrost, and unconsolidated surficial deposits include sand, silt, clay, and organic material deposited by a combination of eolian, marine, and alluvial processes during multiple transgressive-regressive cycles. The upper part of the soil has been reworked and redeposited in thaw lake basins, modern dunes, and alluvium. Bedrock includes a Cretaceous through Tertiary sequence of continental margin deposits consisting of shale, sandstone, and coal, with lesser amounts of siltstone, ironstone, and conglomerate. Known bedrock exposures occur along river valleys and coastal bluffs. 

Mapped geologic hazards primarily relate to slope instability and permafrost, including thaw slumps along riverbanks and lakes where ice-rich soils have or are currently experiencing thermal degradation, and pingos, conical ice-cored mounds that form in response to hydrostatic pressure of permafrost in former lake basins.


William Hoisington,
MEM, Danbury, NH,

The Herkimer diamond mining district in Herkimer County, New York produces beautiful doubly-terminated quartz crystals so sparkling they have been nicknamed “Herkimer diamonds.” Just a few hours southwest of Burlington, Vermont, the location is world famous and many young geology enthusiasts find digging for these crystals to be both challenging and exciting. In 2006 this author began a research project to understand how Herkimer diamonds were formed. Research began with interviewing miners and collectors familiar with the area. This led to looking for a new theory that would more adequately address the wide range of features seen across the Herkimer mining district. After 13 years of collaborative research, The Oil and Seed Crystal Theory provides a better explanation, a better story, of how Herkimer diamonds were formed.

The Herkimer mining district is not only large (60 km by 40 km), but access to active mines is often restricted. In order to acquire rock and crystal samples from across the entire district, this author created an online, open-source web page that invited miners and collectors to participate in the research. Specimens are analyzed using an industrial microscope with the ability to produce sharp images of three-dimensional objects 1 mm in size. This collaboration between miner and research investigator has resulted in hundreds of samples and thousands of photos covering a wide range of features connected to the Herkimer diamond quartz mineralization. Field examination of mineralization behavior, photographic geologic evidence, and photomicrographic analysis provided evidence in support of the Oil and Seed Crystal Theory.

The Oil and Seed Crystal Theory suggests that the formation of Herkimer diamond quartz is linked to the accumulation of oil within the Upper Cambrian host rocks, and that seed crystals were made, in connection with the oil, to provide nucleation points for the growth of the Herkimer diamond quartz. The Herkimer diamonds most often form within cavities containing dolomite crystals coated black with pyrobitumen left from the degassing of oil and other hydrocarbons. The oil, and its associated fluid components, moved from the adjacent dewatering Ordovician marine basin, up major fault structures created during the Taconic orogeny, and into porous stratigraphy within the Little Falls formation. The Little Falls formation pinches out between Precambrian basement rock and an unconformity with overlying Ordovician marine sedimentary rocks, acting as a trap for oil-bearing fluids. Later quartz-bearing fluids followed the same fluid conduits introducing silica-bearing solutions into fractures, layers and cavities containing hydrocarbons. Photo evidence supports layer and fracture filling by silica-bearing fluids (see: growth behavior of the quartz in the cavities was affected by the hydrocarbons, producing initially a hopper “frost” (see: and occasionally, this crystal frost is curved. Curved objects and spherical quartz (see:, including hopper spheres, are also formed at the quartz-hydrocarbon interface. Photographic evidence shows that the crystal frost formed at the quartz-hydrocarbon interface served as nucleation sites for many, but not all, Herkimer diamond quartz crystals. 


Charles Hubbard,
CPG, Braun Intertec Corporation, Big Horn, WY,

Braun Intertec Corporation has supported oil and gas production nationally by helping establish, maintain and/or restore stability to production pads, pipelines, and associated infrastructure including roads, transmission lines, and utilities. This has been accomplished through site reconnaissance, subsurface exploration and material testing, geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring, analytical modeling, and unique/innovative geotechnical and structural solutions. This presentation highlights projects primarily in western North Dakota that Braun Intertec completed to help qualify and establish sites slated for production, and repair sites impacted by geologic hazards (mainly landslides). The featured sites lie within badlands-type terrain, host to numerous and large landslide masses, which have been stabilized with techniques ranging from traditional mass grading to ground improvement, retention, buttressing and drainage relief. Lessons learned, and observations on developing effective, phased scoping for site evaluation services, are also covered. The investigative tools and projects described are supported with drawings and photos, and the presentation has been prepared with education and understanding of the audience in mind. The primary goals of this presentation are to help attendees better understand the purpose and impact of geotechnical and structural consulting services on resource procurement and operational efficiency, and provide tools to help attendees (1) identify and qualify geologic hazards for mitigation in advance of site development, and (2) more effectively coordinate efforts to qualify and mitigate hazards that do impact such sites and/or associated infrastructure.


Samuel Humphries, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY,; Matthew Fauerbach, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; John Lee, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; William Nevils, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; Bryce Wilkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Theodore Hromadka II, AS, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Computational modeling of the advancement or retreat of an algid-soil freezing front is a difficult problem that appears to be more amenable to computational solutions by use of meshless methods such as the Method of Fundamental Solutions (MFS). In this discussion, we examine the advances in using the MFS to model 2D and 3D freezing front evolution. The approach sidesteps the usual requirement of intense discretization of the spatial domain by use of mathematical basis functions that solve the fundamental partial differential equation of the heat transport problem. A case study is examined of phase change of a contemplated roadway embankment previously computationally modeled by using the more standard finite element modeling approach. Some advantages in using the MFS over the finite element procedure are highlighted along with an examination of opportunities for further advancement.


Brent Huntsman,
CPG, Terran Corporation, Beavercreek, OH,; Christopher Athmer, Terran Corporation, Beavercreek, OH

Brine-contaminated soils associated with oil and gas production remains a significant remediation challenge. Environmental regulatory changes require proper removal of the sodium and chloride contamination, especially in sensitive land areas or where aquifers might be impacted. Recent application of a remediation system using electrokinetics (EK) to extract contaminating ions from shallow soils has demonstrated the efficacy of this process. EK is simply the application of direct current (DC) electric fields in the soil mass to induce electromigration of the soluble ions. Desalinization occurs as the chloride ions migrate toward anode wells and sodium ions migrate toward cathode wells where they are removed. In order to make the process cost effective though, the equipment must be inexpensive, simple to install and require minimal maintenance.

In May 2016, a full-scale EK desalinization system was installed in a brine spill affected wetland of the Prairie Pothole area in North Dakota. The system contains a hexagonal grid of 93 electrode wells, a DC rectifier and simple peristaltic fluid management method. Due to harsh winter weather conditions, the remediation system operations were limited to 15 months during three summer seasons. This limited period of active ion mass removal was sufficient to obtain regulatory acceptance and site closure.  

This presentation describes the remediation system installation at the North Dakota site, operations and maintenance, as well as intermediate and final contaminant removal results. Current research and pilot tests of a more autonomous solar-based EK remediation system is previewed.


Paul Jensen,
CPG, Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company, Juneau, AK,

The Greens Creek volcanic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit located on Admiralty Island, Alaska has been mined for over 28 years for silver, zinc, lead and gold. To date, more than 300Moz of silver, 1,800ktons of zinc, 700ktons of lead and 2.5Moz of gold have been mined. With current reserves extending the mine life another 10 years and with significant additional resources identified, the mine continues to be one of the premier mines of Alaska. 

The deposit is located within the Alexander Triassic metallogenic belt which extends through Southeast Alaska. While similar to other Besshi-type VMS deposits of the belt, Greens Creek is unique with exceptionally silver-rich mineralization (15.9oz/ton silver average mined grade) and lower copper/higher lead concentrations than typical for a Besshi system which has caused some to propose a hybrid VMS-Sedimentary exhalative system with an epithermal overprint. Recent work has removed the need for a hybrid model of origin and indicates the orebody formed over an older rift through the Late Proterozoic to Paleozoic Alexander terrane. The anomalous metal signatures at Greens Creek are explained through a combination of basement makeup, feeder zone zonation and erosional factors.

The deposit is predominantly located on a 100My unconformity with Visean Age metabasalts in the footwall and Carnian Age argillites and basalts in the hangingwall. Multiple deformations culminating in the Mid-Cretaceous docking of the Alexander terrane have overturned, isoclinally folded and refolded the deposit with local precious metal enrichment surrounding the hinge zones of major anticlines. Recent mapping and detrital zircon U/Pb work indicate that a copper-rich core to the orebody was mostly eroded away and that ductile transform faults were active into the early Eocene at the structural level of the orebody.

Mapping and geochemistry within the footwall metabasalts indicate that a Mississippian rift may have occurred within the Alexander terrane. Ultramafics (now serpentinites) appear to have been injected into the rift structures marked by Mid-Ocean Ridge Basalts (MORB) within the arc-style basalts of the Admiralty subterrane. It is hypothesized that these early rift structures were later activated during the Triassic rifting event and used as mineralizing conduits for the ore-bearing fluids of the Greens Creek deposit. Two serpentinite-plumbed rift structures have been identified; one corresponding to the main feeder zone stratigraphically below and structurally west of the Greens Creek orebody, and the other at deeper structural levels.

Uwe Kackstaetter, Ph.D., MEM, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Denver, CO,        
The European Alps exhibit a complex geology and were the first mountain system to be extensively studied by geologists. This massive mountain range exhibits 61 peaks that are over 4000m (>14,000ft) with world famous peaks such as Eiger and Matterhorn. The complexity of the Alps yields new scientific discoveries at an ongoing rate, often challenging the current views of geologic explanations. Many of these discoveries are linked to the modern extreme mega engineering of train tunnels below these massive mountains.
This presentation highlights the spectacular geology of these mountains as experienced while guiding various field courses over the last 8 years through the German, Austrian, Italian and Swiss Alps. In addition, unusual geologic discoveries ascertained during the geologic assessment of the Austrian Brenner and the Swiss Gotthard train tunnels will be addressed, such as the orogeny of the Tauern window in central Austria, which exposes units and rocks of European provenance, metamorphosed and deformed during Tertiary collision. The Austroalpine units investigated bear substantial information related to the Cretaceous evolution and orogeny and shed light on the polyphase tectonic and metamorphic evolution of the Alps. Furthermore, an existing undergraduate research project between Germany’s Environmental Protection Agency (LfU) and Metropolitan State University of Denver dealing with the recently discovered occurrence of chemically induced natural Alpine hydrothermal waters will be presented.


John Kastrinos, Haley & Aldrich, Inc., Boston, MA,; Christopher Jones, Haley & Aldrich, Inc., Manchester, NH; Tracey Ogden, Tracey A. Ogden, Consultant, Lowell, MA

Ground-source heat pump systems frequently use open standing-column wells (SCWs) installed in bedrock to depths of 1,000 to 1,500 ft.  SCWs use submersible pumps that draw water from an inner PVC “shroud,” and return water to the borehole annulus. Circulation in SCWs in some geologic settings often is compromised by mineral scaling, bio-fouling, and corrosion. Polyethylene-based closed loops require less maintenance than SCWs, but have generally been limited to 500 ft depths, requiring much larger wellfields. Ground-source systems to date in urban areas of the Northeast have accordingly been constrained by the limited space available to accommodate the substantial heating and cooling loads of tall buildings. Material science advancements have enabled new composite-based loops that can be deployed to depths of 1,000 to 1,500 ft. Drilling to these depths poses challenges, however, when inflows of 200 gallons per minute (gpm) or more are encountered. A case study is presented in which drilling rates, water management, and borehole verticality were compared for three methods - air-rotary, casing hammer and water-rotary methods – drilling to 1,500 ft in the Cambridge Argillite, a formation with transmissive fractures, typically at depths of 200 to 500 ft. The work included downhole geophysical logging to assess geologic influences on inflows and verticality. Based on results from this case study and other projects recently completed in the Boston area, deeper closed loops are possible with the stronger and more thermally-efficient composite-based ground source heat exchange systems, which should expand opportunities for ground-source heating and cooling in urban areas, particularly in the Northeast. 


Marko Komac,
European Federation of Geologists, Brussels,

ROBOMINERS will develop a bio-inspired, modular, and reconfigurable robot-miner for small and difficult to access deposits. The aim is to create a prototype robot that is capable of mining underground, underwater or above water, and can be delivered in modules to the deposit via a large diameter borehole. In the envisioned ROBOMINERS technology line, mining will take place underground, underwater in a flooded environment. A large diameter borehole is drilled from the surface to the mineral deposit. A modular mining machine is delivered in modules via the borehole. This will then self-assemble and begin its operation. Powered by a water hydraulic drivetrain and artificial muscles, the robot will have high-power density and environmentally safe operation. Situational awareness and sensing is provided by novel body sensors, including artificial whiskers that will merge data in realtime with production sensors, optimizing the rate of production and selection between different production methods. The produced high-grade mineral slurry is pumped to the surface, where it will be processed. The waste slurry could then be returned to the mine where it will backfill mined-out areas. ROBOMINERS will deliver proof of concept Technology Readiness Level-4 (TRL-4) of the feasibility of this technology line that can enable the European Union to have access to mineral raw materials from otherwise inaccessible or uneconomic domestic sources. This proof of concept will be delivered in the format of a new amphibious robot Miner Prototype that will be designed and constructed as a result of merging technologies from advanced robotics, mechatronics and mining engineering. Laboratory experiments will confirm the Miner’s key functions, such as modularity, configurability, selective mining ability and resilience under a range of operating scenarios. The Prototype Miner will then be used to study and advance future research challenges concerning scalability, swarming behavior and operation in harsh environments.


Marko Komac,
European Federation of Geologists, Brussels,; Jure Žalohar PhD, Quantectum d.o.o., Ljubljana; Uroš Herlec, Quantectum d.o.o., Ljubljana

The Omega-Theory (Elsevier; ISBN: 9780128145807) is an all-new theory of the fundamental underlying physics of earthquakes and faulting processes in the Earth's crust. There are three main concepts of this theory that are used in the earthquake forecasting/predictions: (1) synchronizations (2) tectonic waves and (3) seismic states.

The best every-day life analogy to synchronizations in earthquakes is a group of soldiers marching over the bridge. When all soldiers synchronize their rhythm, they can make the bridge collapse because of the resonance. The same is happening in the Earth’s crust, where “soldiers” are tectonic faults and blocks of rocks. When smaller tectonic faults and blocks of rocks synchronize their rhythms, a major earthquake can happen in the region.

The result is that earthquakes can be predicted based on the careful study of synchronizations. A special, highly sophisticated software (T-TECTO; that calculates the timing of the impending earthquake has been developed.

When a calculation of the probability for the earthquake occurrence over a longer time period (for example several years) results in many synchronization occurrences during that period, the process is called earthquake forecasting. However, when the probability for an earthquake occurrence for one specific synchronization is calculated, it is called an earthquake prediction.

The input data for the calculations are the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), United States Geological Survey (USGS) or Central Moment Tensor (CMT) seismic catalogues (freely available on the internet), which contain information on timing, magnitudes, and the epicenters of past earthquakes in the region. To predict the next earthquake(s) the T-TECTO system needs a maximum of 50 past earthquakes in the chosen region.

Dominoes are the best every-day analogy with tectonic waves. When one domino falls, all subsequent dominoes will also fall, leading to a “wave” of collapsing dominoes. In the Earth’s crust the “dominoes” are tectonic faults and blocks of rock, and the domino effect in the crust leads to the so-called tectonic waves or also strain waves. These waves have all possible velocities between 0 and 6000 m/s. There exist very slow tectonic waves that are related to large earthquakes, and ultra-fast tectonic waves on a daily basis.

Based on a careful analysis of the distribution of past earthquakes on Earth the calculation of the current and future position of tectonic waves is possible. When these waves pass through active tectonic lines and plate-tectonic boundaries, they can cause strong earthquakes. Therefore, tectonic waves define endangered regions, where the probabilities for the earthquake occurrences have to be checked. Tectonic waves all over the Earth define the so-called seismic states. These can be illustrated as clouds, which is a very similar approach to that used in meteorology.

Complete Omega-Theory is implemented into the T-TECTO software that can be used to explain occurrences of past and current earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It also enables the calculations of long-term, intermediate-term, short-term and immediate earthquake predictions/forecasts or predictions/forecasts of volcanic eruptions.


Joseph Kraycik, MEM, Environmental Standards, Inc., Valley Forge, PA,; Stephen Brower, MEM, Environmental Standards, Inc., Valley Forge, PA

The 53-acre site in Wyomissing (Reading), Pennsylvania has a long history of industrial and commercial use dating to 1899 when the Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company was first opened. Historical uses of the site have included textile mills, manufacturing operations, automobile repair, a foundry, a power plant, a polytechnic institute, and a church. In 1970, the Vanity Fair (VF) Outlet was opened as one of the world’s first outlet malls and became an area icon. Visitors from throughout the mid-Atlantic region flocked to the VF Outlet during its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s to experience a one-of-a-kind shopping and dining experience.   

By the 2010s, however, the VF Outlet facility was in a state of decline and was largely vacant. Recently, a local developer purchased the facility and undertook an extensive revitalization effort. Environmental Standards, Inc. was retained by the developer to conduct environmental due diligence as part of the property acquisition. Due diligence was conducted on a parcel-by-parcel basis and the site was systematically assessed and remediated under Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act. Certain portions of the site presented unique environmental challenges due to historical uses and impacts. In addition, the bedrock geology beneath the site is quite complex and includes facies changes which complicated environmental assessment activities.    

Remediation of the site is now complete and redevelopment is underway. The final result of the redevelopment will be a thriving 34-acre retail and office complex known as The Knitting Mills. The VF Outlet was relocated in 2018 to a smaller, renovated building and will continue to operate at the property. A separate 19-acre parcel, where the foundry once operated, is being developed as a business center that will include health care and research and development tenants. Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created along with significant tax revenue generation for both Wyomissing and West Reading. A Wyomissing Borough Council member was recently quoted as saying “this is the most exciting business news in the borough in the past 50 years."   

This presentation will provide a historical summary of site operations, including the industrial activities that led to environmental legacy issues. Environmental assessment and remediation details will also be discussed including the complex geological setting in which the site is located. Lastly, details of the overall redevelopment project and finished product will be presented.


Jennifer Lambert, Nobis Group, Concord, NH,; Andy Boeckeler, Nobis Group, Concord, NH; Jeff Kadegis, Nobis Group, Concord, NH; Ed Hathaway, EPA Region 1, Boston, MA; Brett Kay, Nobis Group, Concord, NH

The Ely Copper Mine in Vershire, Vermont was a major copper producer in the late 1800s, with underground mining activity until 1905. It was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund list in 2002 because of surface water impacts from acid-rock drainage (ARD) and acid-mine drainage (AMD). The mine includes a network of underground workings that extend as shafts and adits to depths as great as 1,500 feet below ground. Several of the adit openings discharge mine-impacted water (MIW) with acidity and metals (e.g., copper, aluminum, and iron) higher than allowable surface water quality criteria. One of the major sources of AMD is a partially collapsed and inaccessible adit; limited historical information is available regarding its history, configuration, and/or condition. 

Given the lack of information available on the workings, a pre-design investigation (PDI) was performed to develop a better understanding of the geometry and conditions of the workings. The PDI employed a combination of surface and borehole geophysics, a geotechnical vibration study, low-impact bedrock drilling to intercept the workings, and groundwater pumping tests and packer sampling. These results were used to evaluate the hydrostatic and geotechnical condition of the workings and to identify discrete sources of groundwater contributing to the workings as well as their relative volumes and geochemistry. The investigation found that the workings are acting as a sink to local fractured bedrock. AMD discharging from the adits was determined to originate from surface waste rock piles as precipitation percolates downward from the surface through the piles and into the fractured bedrock. The hydrostatic and geotechnical evaluations were used to screen adit closure approaches, ultimately providing the critical design parameters needed to select and design appropriate adit plugs. These plugs will be installed in combination with adit pressure-relief boreholes to mitigate the risk of adit failure.


Donald K. Lumm, Ph.D., CPG., D.K. Lumm Geological Consulting, Lexington, KY,

Crushed stone in Kentucky is produced from approximately 50 active surface and underground mines, operating in 40 Kentucky counties, that are developed in Ordovician, Silurian, and Mississippian age limestone (CaCO3) and dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) bedrock in a variety of structural settings. Surface and underground mines in Eastern Kentucky produce from the Mississippian “Big Lime” (Newman Limestone or Greenbrier Limestone equivalent) along the eastward dipping outcrop belt of the Central Appalachian Basin and along the narrow Pine Mountain Thrust Fault. Central and south-central Kentucky operations produce from the Ordovician High Bridge Group, Lexington Limestone, Grant Lake Limestone, Silurian Laurel Dolomite and Louisville Limestone, and the Mississippian Bangor and Monteagle Limestone Formations within and along the flanks of the Cincinnati Arch. Western Kentucky quarries produce from the Mississippian Fort Payne, Warsaw, Salem, Harrodsburg, Ste. Genevieve, and various Chesterian (upper Mississippian) Formations along the southern and southeastern outcrop belt of the Eastern Interior (Illinois) Basin.
In 2015 Kentucky produced approximately 54 million tons of crushed stone (2015 USGS Minerals Yearbook, Table 5). The Reed Quarry, operated by Vulcan Materials Company in Livingston County, western Kentucky, is one of the largest in the U.S. at approximately 4,500 feet wide and more than 450 feet deep. The quarry produces more than 10 million short tons of crushed stone annually. Most Kentucky operations, however, produce between 500,000 tons to two million short tons per year.

Crushed stone is used for construction, agriculture, chemical and industrial processing and filler material, as well as other uses such as coal mine dust. Many operators produce three or more types of saleable products based upon the physical and chemical characteristics of local deposits. High calcium limestone (>95.0 CaCO3) is used as “scrubber stone” for sulfur dioxide removal at coal fired power plants and for chemical lime applications. Skid resistant limestone is produced for roads and bridges.
In 2018, Kentucky non-fuel minerals had a value of $513 million and ranked 32nd in the value of non-fuel mineral production in the U.S. (2018 USGS Mineral Commodity Summary, Table 3). Kentucky’s strategic location and transportation network enables the 18 commercial crushed stone operators a competitive market for parts of the Midwest and Southeastern U.S. Most of the crushed stone is shipped to local destinations by truck, but operations along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers ship stone by barge to in-state and out-of-state markets, including the Gulf Coast region.


Alana Miller,
Regenesis, Brooklyn, NY,; Kristen Thoreson

With the increasing awareness to the widespread contamination associated with Perfluorooctanoic adic (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and other Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) compounds, there is a need for new and lower cost treatment options. At the present time, the accepted remediation method is to use pump and treat systems equipped with activated carbon. The costs associated with running these systems and replacing the carbon can be quite high. For that reason, the ability to implement an in situ barrier of activated carbon that can cut off and contain these plumes for many years with a single application affords a beneficial means to decrease or avoid the operating and maintenance costs in the existing aboveground systems. This presentation examines the use of a colloidal activated carbon that readily distributes within the subsurface, providing a method for injecting an in situ barrier of activated carbon for PFAS treatment.

Laboratory batch studies were conducted to measure the relative adsorption of PFOS, PFOA, Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) and Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) with a distributable form of colloidal activated carbon. Results of these studies demonstrated that a field relevant dose of the colloidal activated carbon could reduce 100 mg/L of each PFAS compound tested by at least 99.9% and the relative adsorption followed in the order: PFOS > PFOA > PFHpA > PFBS, as has been observed with other activated carbons. In these experiments, PFOS and PFOA were reduced to below the 2016 revised EPA health advisory limits of 70 ng/L. The full-scale site applications include a CERCLA site in Connecticut where colloidal-activated carbon and colloidal zero-valent iron (ZVI) were used to address both PFAS and chlorinated solvent contamination, a former fire training site in Canada where colloidal activated carbon was used to remediate PFAS and petroleum hydrocarbons, and a military training center in Michigan where colloidal-activated carbon was used to address PFAS and chlorinated solvent contamination.


Don Mullis, CPG, Tetra Tech, Annapolis, MD,; Ed Dolan, Tetra Tech, Westford, MA

The development of a Conceptual Site Model (CSM) (ASTM E1689 - 95(2014), ASTM E2531 - 06e1, EPA 542-F-11-011) is an interpretation or working description of the characteristics and dynamics of a physical system which include key elements in geology, hydrogeology, chemistry, and other risk-based areas. Accurate CSMs are critical for successful projects in property redevelopment, environmental site characterization, remediation, and remedial system optimization. A CSM is a “living representation” that helps project teams and clients understand site data and can be very beneficial in supporting decisions related to key project elements such as cumulative risk, site completion, and site reuse. Development of an accurate CSM requires interdependent relationship analyses between the nature and extent of the source zone, the geologic and hydrogeologic environment, the composition and release of the chemical contaminants, and the sites transport and transformational processes. Specific core principles of technical evaluation include (a) identification of the depositional environment and its site-specific permeabilities, heterogeneities and porosities; (b) characterization of the contaminate(s) type, phase, and affected media; and (c) developing relationships between gradients, transport mechanisms, and biological, chemical, or physical attenuation processes. Key learnings to improve CSM accuracy include: ensuring data density is proportional to site complexity; interpreted site-specific depositional environments must agree with local and regional geology and hydrogeology; permeabilities and hydraulic properties within stratigraphic units are critical in identification of contaminant preferential migration pathways and exposure routes; and the appropriate use of both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional analysis. 


Mehmet Pehlivan, MEM, Bays Environmental Remediation Management, Ladera Ranch, CA,

This paper presents methods and procedures to assess and improve sustainability, by reducing emissions in conventional remediation methods, such as soil vapor extraction, two-phase or dual phase extraction, groundwater pump and treat and air sparging. Improving sustainability will also improve project cost-effectiveness and efficiency, creating overall a positive outlook for the client, consultant, and the regulators.

It should be noted that everything we do, the vehicle we drive, the food we eat all adds to the carbon footprint. Eliminating unnecessary driving, using fuel-efficient vehicles, and consuming healthy food will help us to live better, save more and protect the environment. Sustainability assessment can be used to demonstrate to a regulator that in some cases the effort to remove one pound of hydrocarbon from the ground may be costing to environment over 50-lbs of carbon emission. It will be much better to leave that one pound of hydrocarbon in the ground.


Matthew Rhoades,
CPG, St. George Tanaq Environmental Corporation, Overland Park, KS,

Vanadium in and of itself is not a particularly noteworthy metal, situated in the periodic table between titanium and chromium. However, some curious attributes of the metal in strengthening steel and in high-powered batteries make it especially attractive as the economy evolves away from fossil fuels toward motive, low-emission electric energy. The price of vanadium pentoxide has enjoyed a considerable run-up over the past two years and in doing so has gained quite a bit of interest from the investing community. Several high-profile investment advisors have come forward and opined that vanadium appeared to have a promising future and long-term price support due to strong projected demands and the lack of production to meet those demands.  Increased vanadium content in Chinese rebar and a projected demand for the metal in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) is exerting upward pressure on the price of vanadium.

Vanadium has long been produced in the American West, primarily in the Uravan Mineral Belt (in southwestern Colorado) where it was produced as a by-product of uranium mining during the Cold War. In many instances, the vanadium was sub-economic or marginally economic to produce. In many parts of the Uravan Mineral Belt, including the La Sal Creek Mining District, the ratios of vanadium to uranium were very high; ranging from 4:1 to 16:1. More recent stated values have run much higher. Wray Mesa, a vanadium deposit located in the La Sal Creek Mining District, is discussed in this presentation, along with several others.

Another area with exceptional promise for vanadium production is central and central-northern Nevada where vanadium has long been known to occur in marine shales and is not associated with uranium. These deposits occur along a north-south strike situated near Eureka, Nevada. In the southern Fish Creek Range south of Eureka, the Gibellini and Bisoni-McKay deposits have been closely characterized and are moving forward toward production. North of Eureka, along the western flank of the Pinyon Range, First Vanadium (formerly Cornerstone) has the Carlin vanadium deposit which is both shallow and shallowly-dipping. Located just six miles south of the town of Carlin, along Interstate 80, these vanadium deposits are garnering quite a bit of continuing interest.

Touted as the “green metal,” vanadium is moving toward a position to serve our future economy well. It will serve at that critical nexus of connecting wind and solar to the conventional grid and provide for much greater mobility in our electrically-propelled future.


Brianna Rupkalvis, SA, University of Arizona, Tucson Water, Tucson, AZ,; Dick Thompson, Tucson Water, Tucson, AZ

Since July 1997, the Sweetwater Wetlands have been treating secondary effluent and/or filter backwash from the Sweetwater Reclaim Plant. A filter system was used as a final treatment step between the Roger Road Wastewater Treatment Facility (WTF), and the Tucson Water Reclaimed system. In the late 2000s, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) required a new proposal for the deteriorating Roger Road WTF. By 2014, Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility came online and now manages up to 32 million gallons per day of reclaimed water. The reduced need for effluent filtering has resulted in less backwash water available for the Sweetwater Wetlands, but the wetlands continue as a conservation zone for riparian species within Tucson. The wetlands also provide a unique opportunity for wildlife education, water conservation and ecotourism for the abundant bird species residing within or migrating through Tucson. A water budget for the wetlands is needed to ensure its viability in the future. By understanding the current water budget, Tucson Water can predict future water demand and any water limitations which might arise.




Hasan Al-Saedi, SA, Rolla, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO,; Ralph Flori, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO

To decrease anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions, carbon dioxide (CO2) geological storage has been proposed. Many applications for CO2 geological storage exist, such as injecting CO2 into depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs, enhanced coalbed methane recovery, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. CO2 injection has been extensively studied by many researchers and has resulted in large oil recoveries. Injecting CO2 alone experienced an early breakthrough problem, which is unfavorable in CO2 sequestration projects. CO2 must be kept inside the oil reservoir. This pushes researchers to combine water with CO2 flooding to improve the CO2 sweep efficiency.

In this study, four low-permeable sandstone cores were originally saturated with formation water (FW) and a heavy reservoir crude oil. These four cores were all flooded with three PVs of formation water, simulating a standard waterflooding operation. Next, these cores were flooded with two PVs of various “Smart Waters” (SMW, after Strand, 2016) where the amount of Ca2+ is varied. Finally, the cores were flooded with six PVs of CO2 near miscibility pressure. In each case, oil recovery, contact angle and spontaneous imbibition tests results are reported. Surface reactivity tests and the resulting data were used to match multicomponent reactive transport simulation using CrunchFlow (a simulator developed in-house) and were conducted to better understand the chemistry of the Smart Water flooding.

For all four cores, three PVs of secondary water flooding with FW at 50°C resulted in oil recovery of ~ 50%. Subsequent flooding of the cores with two PV’s of diluted Ca2+ brines resulted in additional oil recovery of 2, 4.4, 5.75, and 11.42% of the original oil-in-place (OOIP) for waters FW/2, SMW1, SMW2, and SMW3 (with concentrations of Ca2+ of 90, 45, 30 15, and 0 millimole (mM), respectively). In each water, the salinity was kept constant by adding more Na+ as Ca2+ was reduced. After the Smart Water flooding, the cores were then flooded with six PVs of CO2 near miscibility pressure. CO2 flooding produced markedly more oil (17.3%, 20.4%, 22.2% and 25.4% of incremental oil for the four Smart Water Cases FW/2, SMW1, SMW2, and SMW3). Note that as the Ca2+ concentrations were reduced in the injected Smart Waters while keeping the salinity constant, the incremental oil recovery using CO2 increased. The solubility of CO2 in Smart Water decreased as the concentration of the Ca2+ decreased in the injected Smart Water, which explains the higher oil recovery. Contact angle measurements showed that as the concentration of the divalent cation (Ca2+) decreased in the brines, the contact angle for carbonated and non-carbonated waters decreased too.

The published studies showed that as the salinity decreased, the potential of the CO2 became more viable. We reported in this study that as the concentration of divalent cations decreased with keeping the salinity constant, the oil recovery increased with Smart Water and with CO2.


Monike Distefano, SA, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO,; Uwe Kackstaetter, Ph.D., Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO

Volcanic systems have been identified as sources for ore deposits depending on associated magma systems and hydrothermal activities. Studies of basaltic magmas have shown relative elevated amounts of ore elements1, thus being suspect for ore deposit development.
This study attempts to correlate crystal growth geochemistry of pyroxenes in selected basaltic lava flows with total rock geochemical analysis, including
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) as indicators for probable evolving ore deposits.
Differences in temperature account for the crystallization and chemistry of minerals that compose igneous rocks and are found at or near the Earth’s surface. Porphyry ore deposits are a main source for precious metals. Pyroxenes are usually present in these rocks either as primary components or as intrusions. For the purpose of this research, pyroxene crystals and soil from the crater rim of Mt. Stromboli, Sicily (Italy) and North Table Mountain, Colorado (USA) have been subjected to a wide variety of mineralogical testing and analyses in order to compare differences in Copper, Zinc, Gold and Platinum contents. In this presentation I will discuss what relationship may exist between crystal geochemistry and presentation and ore deposit formation. 
1Barnes, et al. “Formation of Magmatic Nickel-Sulfide Ore Deposits and Processses Affecting Their Copper and Platinum-Group Element Contents.” Formation of Magmatic Nickel-Sulfide Ore Deposits and Processses Affecting Their Copper and Platinum-Group Element Contents, Society of Economic Geologist, 1 Jan. 1970,



Matthew Fauerbach, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY,; Samuel Humphries, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; John Lee, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; William Nevils, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; Bryce Wilkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; Theodore Hromadka II, AS, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Computational Engineering Mathematics is evolving as a study area at several universities, including the United States Military Academy at West Point. The program of study at West Point currently focuses on use of ”meshless methods,” such as boundary element methods and the method of fundamental solutions, as well as various schemes involving mathematical series. The advantages of using ”meshless methods” are several, but perhaps the most significant advantage over the usual domain methods (such as finite element and finite difference) is the reduction in spatial dimension in definition of modeling nodal point and relevant discretization details. In this paper, discussion as to the current advances being investigated at West Point and also at the Army Research Lab (ARL) are presented. Two case studies are examined dealing with evolution of groundwater mounds in a perched water table environment and also the accumulation of soil water leading to a failure of an earthen dam. Particular attention is paid in developing estimates of computational modeling error which is available for examination in the computational methods being investigated.


Juliana Flint, SA, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY,; Mary Alldred, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY; Rich Spindler, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY

Microbial denitrification is a critical ecosystem service in areas that receive high inputs of nitrogen from agricultural activity. Inputs of nitrogen can amplify production of algae in downstream aquatic ecosystems, leading to hypoxia and associated consequences for aquatic wildlife. Wetland ecosystems tend to support high rates of denitrification and provide value to the landscape by removing nitrogen from surface and subsurface agricultural run-off, thereby improving local water quality. However, predicting patterns of denitrification, as well as the value of various wetlands in terms of the amount of nitrogen they can potentially remove, remains a significant problem in the field of ecology.

By establishing associations between rates of microbial denitrification in wetland soils to easily observable/measurable traits of the wetland plant community and quantifiable soil characteristics, we can find the denitrification potential for such agricultural wetland buffers, which receive high inputs of nitrogen via dairy-cow effluent, and thus attempt to predict patterns in denitrification and nitrogen-removal potential. We expect that soils with greater organic carbon content, and wetland plant communities with greater above-ground and below-ground growth, will support higher rates of denitrification.

The multi-species plant community at William H. Miner Agricultural Institute (Chazy, NY) is utilized in this study as a wetland with an adjacent dairy-cow calving field that has a likely gradient of dairy-cow effluent from the calving area extending downslope into the wetland. Measurements were taken from four replicate transects along this gradient, each with five quadrats, from which twp sediment cores were extracted. One core was used to measure root width density of the plant community, and the other to measure soil characteristics, which will also be used to perform incubation to find potential denitrification rates of the soil microbial community. Anaerobic incubation will be done, upon the completion of building the necessary equipment to quantify microbial process rates using gas chromatography. Additionally, further attempts to predict these patterns will be done via mathematical modeling (via differential equations, structural equations, and statistics and probability modeling).


Kevin Hatton, SA, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY,; Troy Rasbury, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY; Katie Wooton, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

There are some regions within the Turkana Basin where petrified (fossilized) wood is found. Petrified wood is formed when a forest becomes rapidly buried, in the case of Turkana, by volcanic ash. Over time permineralization occurs, when groundwater containing dissolved minerals fills in the pore spaces of the wood and replaces the organics, creating petrified wood. In some cases, mineralization forms on the trees. My research project, working with Troy Rasbury in the Facility for Isotope Research and Student Training (FIRST) lab this spring, is to prepare samples of petrified wood and other carbonate samples collected fall of 2018 from Miocene strata in the Turkana Basin for laser ablation inductively coupled plasma U/Pb dating (LA ICPMS). Three out of four samples tested have high uranium (U) and low lead (Pb) content, producing very favorable U/Pb ratios. Isochrons from these samples yield ages ranging from 14Ma to 15Ma with an error less than 1Ma. The only other age constraint comes from a basalt that fills a channel much farther up in the section that is dated at 13.3 Ma. One question that is important to address is how long after a tree dies does the permineralization happen. For dating, it is hoped that this would be very early. The age which is consistent with the more traditionally dated igneous rock, suggests that the permineralization is early. Another way we can tell that permineralization must have occurred rapidly is the well-preserved textures found on all of the samples collected. The textures would have been less distinct had the wood been allowed to decay more. This means that the fossilized wood formed quickly after burial, and so any fossils found within the same area would have a similar age. Thus, my project has shown that U-Pb dating of fossilized wood is possible. There are approximately 30 samples of fossilized wood or other carbonates from the same area from the one sampling expedition.

Dating fossilized wood through U-Pb dating allows for a new way to define the age constraints for fossils found within the Turkana Basin. There are multiple regions where fossilized wood can be found allowing for a larger area of defined ages. Within the areas of fossilized wood there are multiple beds allowing for a better resolution for any fossils within the area. On a macroscopic scale, dating fossilized wood by U-Pb has not been well tested or published. Based off of the work already completed we have shown that it is possible. By processing more of the Turkana samples, we will be able to see exactly how common datable fossilized wood really is. This opens up the question of where else this would be applicable, if not for just Turkana. There are many petrified forests around the world, several of which within the United States that could be dated.


Mark Heyer,
SA, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY,; David Franzi, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY

The present understanding of the lower Saranac Valley deglacial history in northeastern New York is derived from interpretations based upon pre-1980 surficial geologic mapping at scales of 1:62,500 or smaller. Newly acquired high-resolution LiDAR elevation and hillshade models facilitate re-evaluation of previously mapped portions of the lower Saranac Valley and refinement of the regional deglacial chronology. The Saranac Valley in the study area cuts through a generally sparsely populated and forested upland region. The reliability of conventional maps tends to be biased toward accessible areas where the deposits and landforms are visually traceable. LiDAR databases enable better delineation of previously mapped surficial deposits and identification of previously unrecognized deposits and landforms, especially in remote areas where landform scale, relief and access make field identification difficult. LiDAR hillshade models are particularly useful in identifying subtle landforms such as streamlined subglacial bedforms and ice-marginal landforms such as channeled and hummocky ice-contact deposits and moraines. Moraines in the Saranac Valley occur as narrow, single-crested, low-relief ridges and as clusters of closely spaced, irregular moraine ridges that resemble grounding-line push moraines or washboard moraines. The extents of former proglacial lakes in the region are associated with deltaic sand plains, curvilinear beach ridges, eolian dunes, stream terraces, and outlet channels.

Our re-examination of glacial deposits and landforms provides new information about deglacial events in the lower Saranac Valley. These events occurred at a time (10-13 kya) when outflow from local proglacial lakes confined to the Saranac Valley transitioned from southward flow to the AuSable Valley to eastward flow through a falling series of outflow channels to regional proglacial lakes and marine water levels in the Champlain Valley.


Theodore Hromadka II, AS, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY,; Kameron Grubaugh, Hromadka & Associates, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

A problem of high interest to practitioners and researchers of groundwater flow problems is the goodness of outcomes produced from computational models. With domain-type computational models in frequent use, such as involving finite element, finite difference, finite volume, or other such techniques, the topic of discretization effects is of high interest in assessing the goodness in model results. In this paper, we investigate use of Taylor Series approximation to demonstrate the anticipated effectiveness of levels of discretization. We show how Taylor Series can be effectively used to evaluate anticipated departure between computational outcomes and the underlying analytic solution to the governing mathematical system of equations.


Randy Kertes, PG, CPG, Nautilus Environmental Group, LLC, Princeton Junction, NJ,

78 Corporate Center is a commercial development situated between State Route 22 and Interstate 78 in central Hunterdon County. The proposed redevelopment property (Site) within 78 Corporate Center, is 14.31 acres composed of wetlands, forest and agricultural land and is situated within an economically-failing office park with three vacant commercial buildings. The Site will include the construction of a residential complex with 196 units (market-rate and affordable rentals), a clubhouse area and a walking trail. More importantly, the Site will allow for the restoration of the riparian corridor along an unnamed tributary to the South Branch Rockaway Creek (Category One Stream) currently utilized for agricultural activities. Category One streams in New Jersey require the establishment of a 300-foot riparian buffer protection area. Historically situated in the agricultural heart of New Jersey, only ~20% of the Site’s 300-foot riparian buffer is vegetated with the remaining ~80% actively farmed. The water quality and benthic community within the unnamed tributary have been impacted by both the total suspended solid (TSS) load from the Site and stormwater runoff from Interstate 78. Consequently, the macroinvertebrate communities in the unnamed tributary have been documented as moderately impaired (dominated by midges and flies, sow bugs, water striders and water treaders). Review of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Landscape Project data (3.3) shows the limited presence of great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and wood turtle (Clemmys insculpta) within the riparian zones on the Site. A previously expired land use approval permitted the construction of two additional office buildings (potentially for a total of five) with the majority of the remaining portions of the Site reserved for paved parking areas. A preliminary non-point source (NPS) loading analysis compared the current land use, and the previously expired land use approval (with the vast majority of the Site developed or paved), to the proposed construction of residential complex on the Site. The NPS loading analysis showed an overall reduction of TSS, nitrogen, phosphorous and total petroleum hydrocarbons post-development for the proposed project which includes a restored riparian buffer. To allow for this NPS reduction and an improvement of water quality, a portion of the “outer 150-foot” of the 300-foot riparian buffer will be utilized for the stormwater quality basins consisting of infiltration/bioretention basins enhancing natural habitats. The remaining portions of the riparian buffer will be revegetated with native herbaceous and woody plants. NJDEP’s Individual Permit process (N.J.A.C. 7:7A et seq.) allows for design flexibility for restoration and protection of the natural environs and development projects. The Site’s proposal restores ~80% of the 300-foot riparian buffer, reduces the NPS load to the watershed and marries natural habitat restoration (especially for the benthic community and wood turtle) with market-rate/affordable rentals, and increases tax ratables to the Borough due to a failing commercial development.


Israel Olaoye, SA, Kent State University, Kent, OH,; Dr. Joseph Ortiz, Kent State University, Kent, OH; Dr. Anne Jefferson, Kent State University, Kent, OH; Dr. Rem Confessor, Heidelberg University, Tiffin, OH

This study integrates machine learning and Markov chain modeling to analyze the land use/land cover change of OWC watershed in Ohio from 2010 to 2018 and to predict the same for 2025 and 2030. Standardized land use/land cover images of the study area from USDA were reclassified to produce five main LULC categories namely; Agriculture, Forest, Urban, Water and Wetland. Different GIS layers needed as input for Markov chain and Machine learning were produced with the same scale and spatial resolution. Data analysis identified urban driving forces within Old Woman Creek (OWC) watershed to be distance to the roads, distance to nearby urban centers, distance to OWC estuary, distance to Lake Erie, distance to buildings and built- up surfaces, elevation and slopes of different places. Change detection analysis was conducted between 2010 and 2017 to study the rate and pattern of urban growth. Urban growth rate was found to be less than 1% of the watershed area per annum. Required based and derived data were supplied into a machine learning program based on multilayer perceptron (MLP) Neural networks with 10000 iterations and 50:50 training and testing data. Training and Testing RMS obtained were less than 0.5. Transition probability matrix was generated to show the rate of conversion of one LULC class to another after a period. Initial simulation was validated with 2018 LULC map with the accuracy ranging from 95% to 99% for all the LULC classes. LULC was simulated for 2025 and 2030 and the projected area and percentage change in each of the LULC classes analyzed with emphasis to loss and growth. Flood and drought risk zones maps were produced for the LULC simulated period using GIS layers and overlay analysis to assess the impact of possible climate conditions on the predicted areas. This study provides a good strategy for LULC monitoring for management practices and assesses the efficacy of the machine learning for geoscience applications.


Jarret Pidgeon,
SA, SUNY Plattsburgh, South Glens Falls, NY,

Spatial variations of texture and composition in large igneous intrusions provide insight into magma dynamics, including relative cooling rates, rheology, and chemical reactions as magma cools to form bedrock. The Marcy massif (Mm) is a ca. 3,000 km2 exhumed anorthosite batholith in the Adirondack Mountains of northeastern New York. Anorthosite is a coarse-grained leucocratic lithology composed of ≥90% plagioclase feldspar. The Mm is traditionally lumped on geologic maps as one homogeneous unit termed “anorthosite” (e.g., McLelland et al., 2004; Seifert et al., 2010). While this is convenient for maps on large scales, the Mm displays lithological heterogeneity (e.g., garnet-bearing anorthosite and gabbro). 

In terms of texture, grain size and shape distributions are considered in this study. Out of five sample locations separated by distances between 5.5 km (shortest) and 39.8 km (longest), two types are present: (1) porphyritic, sub- to euhedral plagioclase megacrysts (3-15 cm) on the central portion of the Mm, and (2) phaneritic, an- to subhedral with fewer plagioclase megacrysts (2-3 cm) near the margin. Through petrographic analysis, composition of Mm lithologies are analyzed. To date, the following minerals have been observed in this study: plagioclase, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, hornblende, quartz, and garnet; most samples show opaque minerals. Plagioclase and pyroxene are observed in all samples, and in higher abundance compared to other minerals. Sub- to euhedral garnet is also prominent in most samples, however, its abundance is relatively low (≤5%).

High textural variation in the Mm yields room for interpretation. With respect to texture, particularly in plagioclase, the smaller and less developed grains along the margin are tentatively explained by rapid cooling against country rocks. The presence of weakly-developed sub-planar gneissic fabric (defined by aligned plagioclase or pyroxene) near the margin of the Mm could be explained by magma flow against country rock (i.e., magmatic foliation). The next stage of this study will focus on compositional changes across the massif, including the presence of garnet and opaque minerals as seen in thin section.