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Welcome to the January 2008 edition of e-GeoNews. In this issue we focus our attention on coal research and related recent activities at the IGS.

In 2007, about 35.7 million short tons of coal valued at an estimated $980 million were produced in the state, ranking Indiana eighth among the 26 coal-producing states. And Indiana is a major consumer of coal, ranking second nationally behind Texas. The Indiana Geological Survey, recognizing the importance of this natural resource, has long been involved in coal research investigations as well as in investigations to mitigate environmental problems caused by mining and coal combustion. In this edition of e-GeoNews we highlight two of these projects.

Earth Science Week Toolkit. Click to link to the IGS Bookstore.
Clean Coal Technology and Carbon Sequestration

One of the clean coal technologies developed to utilize coal's energy potential more efficiently than traditional combustion is the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant. Coal geologists at the IGS have been evaluating the properties of Indiana coals for the purpose of their application in IGCC through a project funded by the Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research. Our efforts are directed towards mapping coal properties that are most important in coal gasification (for example, coal rank, volatile matter, ash composition, ash fusion temperature) and combining this information with coal availability data. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2008, the final report of this project will outline the most favorable coal zones and point out opportunities for selective mining and coal blending to produce the optimum fuel for IGCC. Contact Maria Mastalerz for more information.

In December, the site of the much discussed FutureGen plant was revealed; the $1.5 billion electricity-generating plant will be built in Mattoon, Illinois, utilizing IGCC technology. Carbon dioxide emissions from the plant will be captured and stored (sequestered) in sandstone formations deep underground, which may result in near-zero emissions. The Indiana Geological Survey, in collaboration with the Illinois and Kentucky Geological Surveys, is assessing the carbon sequestration potential of the region as well as for this specific site as part of the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium. The U.S. Department of Energy is investing $700 million in the plant, which will be completed by 2012. Contact John Rupp for more information.
Learn more about carbon sequestration.

New Study of Coal-Slurry Deposits

Indiana has a long history of coal mining and, since the late 1920s, many coal-mine operators have processed their raw coal at the mine site to produce more marketable products. The fine-grained residue from processing, known as "tailings" or "slurry," often contains significant quantities of coal. Deposits of such materials are called coal-slurry deposits. The IGS has released a new report about the locations and sizes of coal-slurry deposits scattered throughout southwestern Indiana. As energy prices climb and coal-processing technologies improve, there is increased interest in recovering marketable coal from such deposits. To learn more about the results of this study, view the full report.

Visit the IGS Web site for more Indiana coal information.

The Indiana Geological Survey played a major role in planning and executing two recent conferences in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation. The National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs Conference was held in Bloomington, October 7-10. IGS staff members led pre-conference field trips, presented papers, and participated in a panel discussion.

Approximately 200 persons attended the 20th annual meeting of the Indiana Society of Mining and Reclamation held December 3-4 in Jasper. Workshops were conducted on water sampling, stream and wetland management, and blasting issues, as well as presentations on the use of GPS in mining, acid mine drainage, integrated gasification combined cycle technology, and carbon sequestration. Awards were presented for outstanding land reclamation and advances made in mining and land reclamation.
Hoosier Science Teachers Meet in Indianapolis - February 6-8

Join thousands of Indiana science educators in Indianapolis for the 2008 Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc. (HASTI) conference. Visit the IGS booth in the exhibit hall, or attend one of our hands-on workshops to learn more about Indiana geology. Booth visitors will receive a free calendar and poster (while supplies last).
Map Showing Indiana Railroads. Click to link to the IGS Bookstore.
Map Showing Indiana's Railroad System, 2007, Indiana Geological Survey Open-File Study 07-04, by A. Drobniak, C. Pfitzer, and M. Mastalerz

This color map (36" x 50") shows the Indiana railroad system at a scale of 1:400,000. Map includes active routes, ownership, and traffic density.

Directory of Coal Mines and Producers in Indiana, 2002, Indiana Geological Survey Directory 12, by L. A. Weber, J. A. Carpenter, K. R. Shaffer, and P. N. Irwin

This publication includes contact information for active mines, coal production data, and maps showing active and mined-out areas. Download a free Adobe PDF of this 2002 edition and watch for the publication of a new coal directory in 2008.

On November 20, the IGS hosted a reception for John Hill, who retired after 37 years of service. John began his employment as a glacial geologist in 1970 and over the span of his career mapped the entire state of Indiana producing numerous maps of the bedrock and surficial geology. His research interests grew to include environmental geology, the geology of the state parks, and the geology and physical properties of Indiana's premier building stone, Indiana limestone. He was a skilled author, writing for both scientific and lay audiences. He served the IGS as head of the Educational Services Section providing outreach to school children and the public from 1984 until 1998, and as assistant and then associate director of the Survey from 1991 until October 2005. John completed his service to the Survey as head of the Geological Hazards and Mitigation Section, wherein he adeptly managed a research and public information program dealing with faults, earthquakes, and ground failure.

Dariusz Strapoc, who has been working under the direction of IGS coal geologist Maria Mastalerz for 4 years, defended his doctoral dissertation at the IU Department of Geological Sciences. He began a new position with Conoco Phillips on December 1.

Shawn Naylor began work as a research hydrogeologist in the IGS Center for Geospatial Data Analysis in October. His initial contributions are focused towards creating a three-dimensional geologic model for the heterogeneous glacial deposits in Allen County, in preparation for ground- water modeling of the Huntertown Aquifer.

Hillary Person joined the Indiana Geological Survey as a contract and grant compliance monitor, serving the IGS Environmental Section and the Center for Geospatial Data Analysis staff and research affiliates.

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