News from the Indiana Geological and Water Survey
September 2020

New Trail Map of Brown County State Park (and more)

Trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts have been anxiously waiting for this trail map of Indiana's most popular state park to be published, and we are pleased to say it is now available. This folding two-sided map is printed on waterproof, tear-resistant paper, and it covers the rolling hills of not only Brown County State Park, but Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests, Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Lake, and the Pate Hollow area of the Hoosier National Forest. In addition to these public lands, many smaller nature preserves, county and city parks, and conservation lands are also featured on the map.

Check out the other maps in the IGWS Trail Map Series:
Starve Hollow SRA and Jackson-Washington State Forest

Clark and Jackson-Washington State Forests
Charles C. Deam Wilderness


Indiana's Whetstone Industry: A Forgotten Resource

The discovery of whetstone in 1810 near French Lick eventually led, by the late 1800s, to the development of an important industry and the sale of Indiana sharpening stones throughout the nation. A new story map on the IGWS website traces the growth of this industry, as well as the geological importance of the stone.


In the 19th century, whetstone was a popular choice for grave markers in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Excellence in Cartography Award

Matt Johnson, IGWS Cartographer, won one of only two awards given this year "in recognition of excellence in cartography" by the Esri International Cartographic Association / International Map Industry Association. The award, presented annually since 2016, promotes and recognizes excellence in map design and advancement in cartography.

The judges remarked that this map “is an exceptional example of design excellence that can be achieved for a geological map — one of the most complex map forms — through the subtle use of colors and exaggerated terrain.” They also praised the excellent use of visual hierarchy, which helps to draw attention to “the underlying causes of the geologic patterns, such as the influence of the ice front on Quaternary deposits.”

The map, "Quaternary Geology of the Indiana Portion of the Elkhart 30- x 60-Minute Quadrangle," by José Luis Antinao, Robin F. Rupp, and Thomas Valachovics, is available from the Indiana Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 1.


Reinhardt Thiessen Medal Awarded to IGWS Researcher

Maria Mastalerz, Ph.D., senior scientist with the Indiana Geological and Water Survey and adjunct associate professor with the Indiana University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has been awarded the Reinhardt Thiessen Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology. The award recognizes persons who have made significant achievements and outstanding contributions in the fields of coal and organic petrology.

Maria's area of expertise is coal geology and organic petrology and the geochemistry of hydrocarbon source rocks. Her current projects include characterization of Indiana Basin coals, an investigation of coalbed methane potential and carbon dioxide sorption into organic-matter-rich formations, and oil and gas shale characterization. She has had about 200 papers related to fossil fuels published in peer-reviewed journals and is a recipient of other national and international awards for her contributions to coal geology and organic petrology.

The official award ceremony will take place in 2021 in Prague at the next ICCP meeting.

New Project to Find Regional Sources of Rare Earth Elements

Rare earth elements (REEs) are essential components in high-tech manufacturing that are currently sourced primarily from outside the United States. Their unique properties have created a surge in demand that is largely being met by China, and this, combined with their use in a number of U.S. military defense applications, presents a national security concern.

As part of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey for their Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, the IGWS will coordinate a project across 15 states to evaluate REE-enriched phosphatic sedimentary rocks. The study will provide new science on the concentration and spatial distributions of REEs in Devonian to Mississippian-age phosphatic sedimentary rocks in the eastern U.S, with the potential to map some of the largest heavy REE deposits in the world.

REEs include lanthanum, yttrium, neodymium, and dysprosium.