News from the Indiana Geological and Water Survey
September 2023

Major Records Center project under way

About a year from now, if all goes according to plan, researchers, students, and other geology enthusiasts will be able to access thousands of IGWS records that haven’t been previously available for in-person inspection unless you worked at the Survey and knew where to look.

A team of IGWS geologists and archivists, supported by two recent federal grants, have been pulling open more than 400 file drawers and dozens of cardboard boxes and cataloging the many types of documents found within. Published maps, early map drafts, sketches, field notebooks, borehole records, gamma logs, driller’s logs, publication drafts, orphaned data, lunch receipts—they never know what they’ll find in any given drawer. Some are merely labeled, “Projects.”

“It is not unlike dealing with an estate,” said Jenna Lanman, IGWS archivist and collections manager and director of the grant-funded projects.

Archivist and Collections Manager Jenna Lanman goes through file drawers in the old Marching Hundred building. Archivist and Collections Manager Jenna Lanman goes through file drawers in the old Marching Hundred building. | Sara Clifford, IGWS

Over the years, when researchers left the Survey, or when their families went through their belongings after they passed, things that looked important to keep made their way into various storage places across six floors of the IGWS/Geology Building and parts of three other buildings. When two of those buildings became permanently unavailable to the IGWS, and the main building underwent major renovations from 2019-2021, all those boxes, plus dozens of full filing cabinets and map cases, were moved into the IGWS basement and into the Old Marching Hundred Hall across campus.

Late last year, a collapsible shelving system and lockable cabinets were installed in Room 1005 of the IGWS/Geology Building. (See photo at right.) This will become the Records Center, where petroleum well (PDMS) records, environmental and industrial minerals reports, aerial photographs, institutional history documents, a publications archive, and more will be stored and can be viewed by appointment. Locked cabinets in that climate-controlled room will house the Indiana Limestone Company’s photograph collection. The IGWS basement, or Records Center Annex, will house maps and other oversized materials in archival-quality cases.

For now, the IGWS basement is the staging area, where Collections Assistant Madeline Griem is taking records out of drawers to be inventoried, scanned, and inspected for damage, then rehousing them in more publicly accessible places. As the basement empties out and the new map cases are moved in, more materials will be brought over from Marching Hundred for sorting.

Currently, a team of IGWS geologists is working out of Marching Hundred to help Lanman and Griem find and describe records related to the areas they’ll be mapping next year. In addition to discovering useful research they might not have known existed, the geologist team is supplying descriptions and keywords that will make these records findable and reusable by others in the future.

In the meantime, Lanman has been building and populating an online catalog to keep track of every paper document, specimen, or sample in the IGWS’s collections, which include hundreds of thousands of items. That system, CollectiveAccess, will allow users to search all the collections online for specific items before making a trip into the building. CollectiveAccess will connect to ResourceSpace, the current hub of IGWS Digital Collections, to link physical objects to their digital surrogates and other related photos and research reports.

Lanman believes that the opening of the Records Center will be the first time this much of the Survey’s physical data will be available for public viewing. “Our goal is broad access, browsable anything. Apart from PDMS records that were open to the public, I think that the bulk of this … was buried in wherever there was room to stash it,” she said.

Shop our new store

The former "publication sales” or “bookstore” on the IGWS’s website has been replaced with an online store built on a modern web framework. The store can be accessed from the top right corner of the IGWS homepage or directly at https://store.igws.indiana.edu.

The new store contains a unique selection of geology-themed gifts like stickers, notebooks, tote bags, T-shirts, candles, and glassware, many of which are crafted by small makers or local artists. It also offers printed copies of IGWS-produced books, topographic trail maps, and posters; and geology-related supplies such as hand lenses, scale bars, and rock hammers.

Users of PDMS (the Petroleum Database Management System) and LPG (licensed professional geologist) services also can visit the store to complete their transactions.

Publications can be downloaded for free through IGWS Digital Collections and our open-access journal.

The IHAPI (Indiana Historical Aerial Photo Index) interactive map is currently being updated so that digital copies of available photos can be purchased through the online store.

Visit the store in person at the Learning Lab or browse items online here.

That’s Pretty Neat: Tidalites

Pretty much every field trip that Dr. Todd Thompson leads involves dashing across four lanes of traffic on State Road 37 south of Bloomington. That’s how interesting and unusual a particular part of the Salem Limestone is where it outcrops along the highway just south of Zikes Road.

From the northbound shoulder, Thompson points at the outcrop spanning the southbound shoulder. Follow the undulating rock patterns horizontally, and “what you’re seeing is the left limb of an intershoal tidal channel. … It was all under meters of water, but it’s a channel, and the tide was funneled in and out twice daily, day after day,” he said.

Up close, the rock’s past life as sediment and incorporated sea creatures becomes clearer. It’s easy to imagine it as sand forever frozen in time.

Tidalites can be seen in an outcrop along State Road 37 south of Bloomington. Tidalites can be seen in an outcrop along State Road 37 south of Bloomington. | Sara Clifford, IGWS

The ribbed, lithified patterns of the current’s ebb and flow are called tidalites. Two centimeters of these ridges—about the height of a fingertip—were deposited during one month of geologic time during the Mississippian Era, about 330 million years ago. Then, that depositional record was protected from storms and other erosional activity by a narrow channel and a drifted sandbar. Along this stretch of Indiana highway, today nowhere near an ocean, you can literally trace time recorded by daily tides.

“Most of the time in geology you don’t have discrete time markers,” Thompson said. “We have this.”

A paper on tidal laminae in Salem Limestone, published in 1990, pointed out this significant exposure along State Road 37. Since then, large sections of the outcrop have been removed to live in laboratories or in private rock collections. Busloads of geologists have vehemently debated whether it should be preserved in place, Thompson said.

“It’s kind of a neat thing. … Every field trip I run on the Salem Limestone ends up here as the last stop.”

Staff notes

Kilauren Driscoll began working at the IGWS Aug. 15 as a research geologist. Driscoll was a Potter Intern during the summer of 2022, then returned for about a month more to aid geologists with geophysical logging and preparing core samples for describing. She holds a bachelor's degree in geology from Indiana State University and earned a master’s degree in geology and geophysics from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in May. Since joining the full-time staff, she’s been working on STATEMAP projects and has begun combing through research on the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Unconformity in order to map it throughout the state.

Caroline Klare and Lucas Porter began working in May as hourly employees in the IGWS Learning Lab, assisting with programming and other visitor services. Klare graduated from IU-Bloomington in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in earth and atmospheric sciences and a minor in geography. She’s currently enrolled in a transition-to-teaching program to become certified to teach earth science to Grades 5-12. Porter earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in May. He discovered the Learning Lab while taking a Master Naturalist class, and his dual interests in art and science mesh well with the GeoCreate programs he is now facilitating.

Outreach efforts

• Education and Outreach Coordinator Polly Sturgeon and IGWS Director Dr. Todd Thompson attended the National Conference of State Legislators Legislative Summit in Indianapolis. With representatives from the American Geosciences Institute, the Geological Society of America, and the American Institute of Professional Geologists, they engaged legislators and their representatives on geological issues in Indiana and across the nation.

• Research Scientist Ginger Davis was quoted in a Lafayette Journal and Courier story about the transfer of water from Tippecanoe County to Boone County and the need for a better understanding of Indiana’s subsurface geology and water resources.

• Davis, Sturgeon, Hydrogeology Assistant Connor Miller and Editor Sara Clifford represented the IGWS at the Indiana State Fair and the concurrent Indiana Climate Services Summit on Aug. 11. Davis explained the work of the Indiana Water Balance Network to summit participants; Sturgeon, Miller, and Clifford spoke to fair visitors about the role of geology in water resource studies.

• Research Scientist Ashley Douds attended the Department of Energy’s FECM/NETL 2023 Carbon Management Research Project Review Meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn., Aug. 28 to Sept. 1. Every year, all projects funded by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy Carbon Management (FECM) share status updates and significant accomplishments that were an outcome of the work; next year, the IGWS will present on its DOE grant at this conference.

• An August E-Geo News story about the IGWS and two other IU agencies getting a $1 million grant to study carbon sequestration (linked above) also was picked up and distributed via the IU Center for Rural Engagement’s September newsletter.

• About 15 visitors from multiple agencies attended a workshop at the IGWS on Aug. 25, organized by Research Scientist Tracy Branam. (See photo at right.) Participants attended a seminar and discussion about titration and ion chromatography and how it is used for environmental testing, and visited the IGWS Water Lab, where such instruments are in use.

• GeoCreate workshops in the Learning Lab have started for the fall/winter semester; the first featured weavings that resemble speleothems, which are mineral deposits in caves. Mark your calendar for other drop-in events shown on the flyer below.

Geocreate event flyer

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 monthly 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.