News from the Indiana Geological and Water Survey
October 2021

E-Geo News returns

After a 10-month hiatus precipitated by staff changes, two moves to different buildings, and COVID-19 disruptions, the E-Geo News newsletter has returned. This email, sent at least quarterly, serves to educate the public about the activities, services and research in which Indiana Geological and Water Survey staff engage statewide.

Back to base

The Indiana Geological and Water Survey has moved back home to East 10th Street in the Geology Building on the Indiana University Bloomington campus. From January 2019 to mid-2021, the building was undergoing renovations to offices, hallways, bathrooms, labs, and the heating system; and received new windows, lighting, and paint. The IGWS was moved from the east wing of the Geology Building, where it had resided since 1964, to office space in downtown Bloomington and two other buildings.

Additionally, due to COVID, the IGWS closed to the public from the spring of 2020 through June 2021. Staff members worked from home or in temporary buildings as they were able.

Another move in March 2021 returned the IGWS to campus once renovations were mostly complete. Approximately 100 offices, laboratories, and storage spaces were packed and vacated twice within a 14-month period. Some rooms—such as the IGWS resource and records libraries, and the Learning Lab—are still being unpacked and assembled so that they can be put into full use.

All IGWS staff are now back to working in person with COVID safety precautions. Visitors are welcome, but masks remain required.

The IGWS has moved back to its home at 1001 E. 10th St. on the IU Bloomington campus.

Coming soon

Did you know that 2021 is the International Year of Caves and Karst?

The IGWS is marking the designation in October with the re-release of Richard L. Powell’s popular circular, Caves of Indiana. Published in October 1961, the original version contained detailed descriptions of and maps to nearly 400 caves all over southern Indiana; and photos, drawings, and scientific information about how caves, karst systems, and cave features form.

So many novice cavers used this guide resulting in rescues and trespassing on private land that the state told the IGWS to stop selling it, remembered recent IGWS retiree Barb Hill.

“Every time they would find and do a cave rescue, that book was in their backpack or right there,” she said. “And so finally, the state put it together—we were still a part of the DNR at that point so they could tell us to pull it—and they said, ‘Don’t sell it anymore.’ So, then it became a wanted commodity.” It’s been an often-disappearing book from libraries, Hill has been told, and has been offered on eBay for $100 or more.

For the 2021 version, IGWS Assistant Director for Research Lee J. Florea, an avid caver, redacted detailed maps and other identifiers to caves that are on non-public land or otherwise protected with gates and management plans. In addition, the new version contains references to cave and karst studies the IGWS has produced since Powell’s book was published. Among those is a 2012 book by IGWS research affiliate Sam Frushour, A Guide to Caves and Karst of Indiana.

Powell’s revised book will be released, along with commemorative anniversary material, through the IGWS’s Indiana Journal of Earth Sciences.

Richard L. Powell's Caves of Indiana circular will be rereleased with some changes from the original, published 60 years ago this month.

Why caves and karst?

Caves and karst are of interest to the IGWS because they intersect with part of the agency’s mission: to gather data to contribute to the wise stewardship of mineral and water resources.

“The Mitchell Plateau of south-central Indiana, spanning from Bloomington in the north to Corydon in the south, is one of the iconic landscapes of the United States,” Florea said. “The sinkhole-dimpled forests, fields, and farms, the extensive cave systems, and the deep windows into the groundwater system have fostered curiosity, exploration, and scientific study since the middle 1800s.”

Karst landscapes are often vital aquifer systems for municipal water, and karst aquifers are very sensitive to changes to land use and climate, he explained.

“For example, contaminants introduced into a sinkhole may travel long distances (miles) in hours to impact the quality of water for distant citizens and aquatic species,” he said. “In some instances, karst springs are sole-source water supplies for landowners or communities. In other cases, some animal species in cave streams are endangered because of their restricted habitat.”

While IU was an early leader in North American karst research in the 1940s through 1970s, only sporadic and limited studies have occurred since the 1980s, primarily driven by specific development or regulatory concerns such as the building of I-69 or expansion of State Road 37.

Since 2018, the IGWS has maintained a monitoring station at Bluespring Caverns and Orangeville Rise as part of a project funded by the IU Center for Rural Engagement. Read an overview of the project here and read more about it in a master’s thesis by IGWS research scientist Sarah Asha Burgess here.

IGWS Assistant Director for Research Lee Florea explores a cave.

Resource reminder

The Indiana Historical Aerial Photo Index (IHAPI) is hosted on the IGWS website. Here, anyone can view historical aerial photos taken throughout the state between approximately the 1930s and 1970s. Copies of many of these black-and-white photos exist in archives of the IGWS, the Indiana State Archives, and various libraries and governmental agencies. The IHAPI allows users to see those photos online instead of having to go to a physical location and find a photo in an archive.

Users can search for available photos by address, zip code, city/town, county, quadrangle, latitude/longitude or township/range. Various layers can be enabled to help navigate the map.

GIS Developer Ben Romlein suggested several ways that this collection could be useful:

Engage with the past. “You can watch cities expand, highways get built, rivers dammed and reservoirs created, and communities develop around resources like coal, gas, or recreation.”

Research land use patterns and their impacts. “Researchers can use image analysis techniques to study precisely how and where land use has changed—looking at green space loss in one city vs. another, or looking at how development around a lake affects the surrounding environment.”

Study the changing landscape. “Around Lake Michigan for example, the shoreline is constantly changing regardless of human intervention. The photos provide a record of that change over time that could be studied for patterns, or answer questions about past conditions.”

Investigate geological hazards. “In the southern part of the state, because of karst, sinkholes are more of a problem. Contemporary sinkholes can often be seen in historical images before being ‘filled in.’ You may be able to find old sinkholes that have since been filled in that are at risk of reopening.”

Learn more: https://igws.indiana.edu/IHAPI.

Visit the IHAPI to find historical aerial photos taken around Indiana.

Staff notes

Nancy Hasenmueller became one of IU’s longest-serving employees when she hit her 50-year milestone on June 7.

Hasenmueller, a research geologist, joined the IGWS in 1970 as an hourly employee, then moved to full-time in 1971. Like many IGWS employees, her job changed as research interests did over the years. Her specialties have included environmental geology, karst, Devonian shales, radon, subsurface mapping, and stratigraphy. She led the environmental geology section of the IGWS from 2003 to 2010, and in 2011, became the head of the geologic mapping section.

She and her husband, Walter Hasenmueller, both graduates of The Ohio State University, spent their careers at the IGWS; he retired in 2017. Together, they started the Indiana Geologic Names Information System, a project she continues to work on.


Six new hires have joined the IGWS full-time staff since December 2020.

Isaac Allred is a research geologist specializing in source-to-sink sedimentology and detrital zircon provenance analysis. His research interests include Pennsylvanian sediment routing across the Illinois basin and within the greater Appalachian foreland basin system to Ouachita basin deep-sea fans. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas (KU) and holds a graduate certificate in East Asian Cultures from KU, a master’s degree in geology from Brigham Young University, and bachelor’s degrees in physics and Asian Studies from Utah State University.

Sarah Asha Burgess is a research geologist specializing in hydrogeochemistry. She had worked with the IGWS and the IU Center for Rural Engagement as a graduate student before joining the IGWS staff full-time in February. Her recent projects include StateMap, the Critical Zone Karst Observatory, and a project to locate springs in the Indiana Uplands region and analyze their water quality. She holds a master’s degree in geology from IU and bachelor’s degrees in geology and biology from the University of Akron.

Sara Clifford is managing editor of the Indiana Journal of Earth Sciences, reporter/editor for the E-Geo News, and editor of other survey documents to be shared with external audiences. A graduate of DePauw University, she is a 20-year community journalist who led the Brown County Democrat newspaper to multiple state-level honors over the past 12 years. In 2021, she won the Nina Mason Pulliam Environmental Reporting award from the Hoosier State Press Association for stories on pharmaceutical and E.coli contamination in Brown County streams and their effect on the Lake Monroe watershed.

Ginger Davis is a research geologist specializing in hydrogeology, hydrology, geomorphology and water resource engineering. Ginger joins the IGWS from an extensive background in conservation. While assessing the interaction of water resources with geologic processes, she has worked with water resource professionals around the state to improve water resources, share information, and build knowledge. Since joining the staff in March, she’s been working on the StateMap project, the Indiana Water Balance Network, and the National Groundwater Monitoring Network to improve water monitoring and reporting. She holds a master’s degree in geological sciences from IU, a master's degree in civil engineering from Norwich University, and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Indiana State University.

Will Knauth is the digital collections manager charged with configuring and administrating the survey’s digital asset management system (DAMS). His professional background has centered on digital technology in the archival and cultural heritage fields. He holds a master’s degree in library sciences from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill focusing on archives, 3D imaging, and digital humanities, as well as a bachelor’s degree in history from UNC.

Garrett Marietta is the collections technician in charge of the Geological Materials Testing Facility. He graduated from IU in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in earth science and a concentration in economic geology.


Since December 2020, eight staff either have retired from the survey or have moved on to other opportunities.

• Research geologist and in-house conodont fossil expert Alyssa Bancroft left in June to take a job with the Iowa Geological Survey.

• Senior editor Deborah DeChurch retired in March after 29 years at the IGWS. Her career spanned 34 years in various roles in scholarly publishing including at Indiana University Press, the journal Library Quarterly, and the AMA medical journal Stroke. She originally came to Bloomington from West Virginia to pursue a master's degree in Central Asian studies, prompted by her work repairing and restoring textiles from that part of the world. She continues to work with textiles and is an accomplished spinner, weaver, dyer, seamstress, and quilter.

Shalom Drummond, administrative and bookstore assistant, accepted a different job on the IU Bloomington campus.

Jayson Eldridge, a research geologist specializing in stratigraphy and energy, left in June to take a job in California.

Kevin Ellett, a research geologist specializing in energy, left at the end of 2020 to start his own company, Carbon Solutions.

Barbara Hill retired at the end of July after 42 years with the IGWS—the “dream job” for a young girl who’d spend hours sifting through gravel for interesting finds. Hill started in January 1979 as an hourly employee in the cartography department—where she met her husband, Rick Hill—then went full-time the following October. With a bachelor’s degree in geology, a master’s in cartography and experience in darkroom processes, she was a natural fit to lead the photography section when her predecessor retired in 1984. Her career spanned the days of Speed Graphic cameras through digital SLRs. She has built and maintained the IGWS’s photographic and digital archives for decades and continues to volunteer as an information services affiliate, annotating the print and digital image collections.

Rebecca Meyer, database administrator and GIS analyst, retired at the end of September after nearly 20 years with the IGWS. A former programmer in the private sector, she came onboard in 2002 under a grant to map coal mines throughout Indiana. She has taken care of all IGWS databases and GIS servers to protect data collected over the past two decades and has acted as backup for the web developer. Meyer grew up in Bloomington and earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Purdue University, then a master’s degree in information systems from IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She continues to be an active volunteer with the Brown County Humane Society.

Gary Motz, assistant director for information services, left full-time employment with the IGWS in September and accepted a job in University Collections. He will continue to work on projects such as CARST, the Collective Access Resource Space Tandem.


Matthew Johnson will begin work as the new assistant director for information services on Oct. 11. Johnson, a cartographer and digital archivist, is a 10-year veteran of the IGWS staff. He previously worked for National Geographic. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography with a concentration in GIS from Appalachian State University.


The IGWS has one open job posting; check our website for additions or updates.

Contracts and grants representative; application deadline Oct. 7.

Outreach activities

• IGWS research geologists Maria Mastalerz and Agnieszka Drobniak gave a presentation to the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology’s annual meeting in Prague on Sept. 23. Their topic was “Quality Testing of Grilling Fuels: An application for reflected light microscopy.” Mastalerz, Drobniak and two other colleagues from Poland published two related manuscripts in Vol. 3 of the Indiana Journal of Earth Sciences: "Atlas of Wood Pellet Components" and "Atlas of Charcoal-Based Grilling Fuel Components." Their recent work has analyzed the content of biomass-based fuels to find and identify impurities that could be harmful to people’s health if they use them for heating or cooking.

Todd Thompson, state geologist and IGWS director; Polly Sturgeon, IGWS education and outreach coordinator; and Todd Schnatzmeyer, executive director of the Indiana Limestone Institute of America, gave presentations to the Indiana Landmarks Preservation Conference on Oct. 1. Their topic was “Indiana Limestone: From Salem Deposit to the Built Environment,” discussing how Salem Limestone became “the Nation’s Building Stone.” Learn more here.

• Sturgeon will lead a virtual event, “Dig Deeper: Earthquake Preparedness,” on Oct. 21 to coincide with the Great ShakeOut, a national earthquake drill. This webinar will be offered from 11 a.m. to noon at https://iu.zoom.us/j/86239927916.

• A new exhibit about the history of Indiana’s earthquakes, “ShakeIN,” will be displayed in the IGWS lobby from October 2021 to January 2022 to celebrate the National Earthquake Drill and educate Hoosiers about the state’s earthquake hazards and risks. Educational materials, such as webinars and new lesson plans, will be available on the IGWS website and social media pages.

Contact us

The Indiana Geological and Water Survey, a longstanding institute of Indiana University, conducts research, surveys the state, collects and preserves geologic specimens and data, and disseminates information to contribute to the mitigation of geologic hazards and the wise stewardship of the energy, mineral, and water resources of Indiana.

• To join the E-Geo News mailing list, please click here.

• To ask a question of IGWS staff or suggest an E-Geo News topic, email scliffo@iu.edu.