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In this issue, we focus on the big geologic news of the past week. Where were you when the "quake of '08" hit?

Photo of the seismograph in the Geology Building at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Friday, April 18, was a busy day in the Geology Building on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, home of the Indiana Geological Survey. IU and IGS geologists rushed to the seismograph located in IU's Department of Geological Sciences after being shaken awake by a 5.2-magnitude earthquake at 5:37 AM EST. The earthquake originated 38 miles northwest of Evansville, Ind., from a depth of 7.2 miles in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. The temblor, the strongest to strike the area in 40 years, was followed that same day by a 4.6-magnitude aftershock at 11:14 AM and by another aftershock of 4.0-magnitude at around 1:30 AM, Monday, April 21. The number and strength of these aftershocks is uncommon in midwestern earthquakes.

Crews of geologists and graduate students took to the field with portable seismographs and GPS units to record aftershocks, while regional TV and radio news stations flocked to the Geology Building to record interviews with geologists. IGS Director John Steinmetz noted that by Friday afternoon he'd given 14 or 15 phone interviews and had been in conference calls with FEMA and other involved federal and state agencies for most of the day.

This quake is a vivid reminder that Indiana sits in a seismically active zone; someday "the big one" may hit the Midwest with a force similar to the 1811–12 earthquakes centered in New Madrid, Missouri. That series of quakes was so strong that buildings collapsed and trees toppled in the then sparsely populated Midwest and rang church bells as far away as in Washington, D.C. Although seismic researchers cannot foretell when such devastating earthquakes might occur, we can and should take precautions to mitigate their effects. The IGS, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, produced a brochure—Earthquakes in Indiana—that outlines what to do before, during, and after an earthquake; it also covers the history and geology of Indiana earthquakes.

Thumbnail image of the bedrock geology map of Allen County, Indiana. Click to visit the Allen County Geologic Atlas Web site.
Allen County–A Geologic Atlas

This new IGS interactive map site allows anyone with an Internet connection to produce and print a custom map of all or part of Allen County. The site also includes Illustrations and educational summaries of geologic maps, images of the area's landforms, and databases of geologic information.

Allen County sits astride the eastern continental drainage divide, encompassing some of the most complex and interesting geology and ground-water issues found anywhere in the eastern United States. The rocks and sediments beneath the surface span more than 400 million years of geologic time and reveal a fascinating history of environmental change that ranges from reefs formed in ancient tropical seas to catastrophic floods of frigid water pouring from ice sheets thousands of feet thick.

Allen County–A Geologic Atlas provides a virtual tour of the physical underworld—what it is, how it got there, and why it is important. The U.S. Geological Survey supported the project by providing funds to the Central Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition, of which the Indiana Geological Survey is a member.

Thumbnail images from the Indiana Historical Aerial Photo Index. Click to link to the IHAPI Web site.
IHAPI Web site makes finding
aerial photos easier

Another new interactive map—the Indiana Historical Aerial Photo Index (IHAPI)—is now available to help identify and retrieve historical aerial photographs. More than 950 large-format photomosaic index maps in the IGS archive were scanned and georeferenced, and then mosaicked to produce 466 county-based images dating from the 1930s to the 1980s. From these images, a point index was created showing the upper-right corners of 113,035 individual historical aerial photographs.

IHAPI allows users to easily locate a site of interest and determine unique identification numbers for individual photos. Copies of the photos can then be ordered from the various archival collections where they are housed, including the IGS archive. (The actual historical aerial photos cannot be downloaded using IHAPI.) A narrated video tutorial is also available on the Web site.

Teachers participating in hands-on activities during a recent workshop.
Workshop for K–12 Teachers
"Rocks and Minerals in Modern Society"

Every year, the Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association and the Indiana Geological Survey cosponsor "Rocks and Minerals in Modern Society," a three-day workshop for K–12 teachers. Held at the Conner Prairie Museum in Fishers from June 17–19, the workshop will focus on earth materials—how they are extracted, used, and their economic importance in our society. Hands-on sessions will show teachers different ways to present these aspects of earth science in their classrooms. This workshop includes a field trip to an active aggregate mining operation.

The registration fee is $55.00, and participants may earn one graduate credit hour from Indiana University School of Education and/or nine continuing renewal units. Call 317-580-9100 for information or visit the IMAA Web site for a registration form. Link to Registration form

2008 Summer Science Institute
"Science Standards in a Snap"

A free workshop for 4th- through 6th-grade teachers will be held at the Wonderlab children's science museum in Bloomington from June 2–6. This institute provides guidance in planning physical, earth, and life sciences units related to Indiana state science standards. Emphasis will be on developing hands-on science activities that support the curriculum and on coordinated implementation and assessment between grade levels. The IGS will present classroom activities in geology; the other general topics are biology, chemistry, and physics.

There is no registration fee, and a $500 stipend is available for teachers attending the institute. Participants may earn fifteen continuing renewal units for qualified teachers, or an optional three hours graduate credit from the IU School of Education with partial tuition reimbursement (paperwork required). Register by May 23 by calling Celeste Wolfinger, Museum Visitor Coordinator, 812-337-1337 ext. 11. Link to more information
Map Showing Indiana Railroads. Click to link to the IGS Bookstore.
The IGS is producing a series of shaded relief county maps showing the surface topography at a scale of 1:48,000. Because visualizing the three-dimensional Earth (topography) on a flat piece of paper is often difficult for beginning map readers, we have used digital versions of USGS topo-map contours to create shaded relief maps that give an immediate impression of the land's surface topography.

So far, 14 county maps are available, and more are being added continually. These large-size maps are useful for educators, outdoor enthusiasts, and the science-minded, and they are printed in full color on poster paper for wall display. Particularly useful for visualizing subtle topographic features such as rolling hills and stream valleys, these maps will bring a new understanding of the topography of each Indiana county .

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