30 October 2015

Ten Year Milestone @ In-Situ, Inc.

Fort Collins in October is a great place to be.  Not only because of the peak fall colors and the freedom to drive around without traffic, but also because October marks the time of year when Midwest GeoSciences Group and In-Situ, Inc collide universes to conduct a 2-day aquifer testing course that has become the Go-To educational experience for aquifer testing.

2015 is the 10-year milestone for conducting the 2-day aquifer testing course at In-Situ, Inc and on behalf of the instructors and our In-Situ hosts, THANK YOU TO THE PARTICIPANTS to attend. Thank you to all of those who have attended during the past 10 years, and especially those who have attended several times.  Your professionalism, enthusiasm, and positive energy make the course an enriching experience for learning and technical mastery.

In-Situ, Inc is the center of the universe in terms of transducers and dataloggers for aquifer testing, so the course location is the perfect fit. Course participants get an inside look at the inner sanctum of manufacturing, production and distribution at the exact place where our equipment is made and shipped.   Thank you to all In-Situ staff for making the tours a fun and fruitful event.  -Dan

02 October 2015

Full-Day Course at the 2015 AEG Annual Meeting: Getting to the Core!!

Thanks to all of the 2015 AEG Annual Meeting attendees in Pittsburgh!  It was a fun and fruitful meeting with a grand finale ending from teaching a full-day day short course dedicated to Characterization of Rock Core and Borehole Conditions!

Organized by Gary Rogers from Schnabel Engineering with support from myself and John Stowell at Mt. Sopris Instruments and Mike Need at Ruen Drilling, the course gave insights to a spectrum of applications in rock coring and borehole tools.

The course was indeed unique because it was like a merging of two universes: geotechnical and hydrogeologic.  Project objectives differ between the two disciplines which may be over-generalized as "bulk strength and rock mass stability" for geotechnical projects and "ground water movement" for hydrogeologic projects.  Each application share similar approaches, terminology and tools, but there is an obvious separation of background, tradition, and application.  I enjoyed learning new attributes about how RQD applies to rock strength that will soon be incorporated in the FIELD GUIDE FOR ROCK CORE LOGGING AND FRACTURE ANALYSIS.

Box of rock core used for course exercises.  Thank you to Gary Rogers and others at Schnabel Engineering for preparing the cores and answer sheets as teaching tools for a truly meaningful learning experience. 
Thank you to the course participants.  You made the course fun and memorable for the instructors...and equally important, your input during discussion enriched the entire course experience.   It is always amazing to me whenever we teach a MidwestGeo course (and AEG course in this case) to learn about the powerful experience that is present in the classroom and the wonderful personal pride people have in their work.  I tip my hat to you.  -Dan

23 September 2015

Association of Engineering Geologists 2015 Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

Engineering geology is among my favorite geoscience subjects.  The applied nature of designing structures based on the subsurface require a true mastery of multidimensional disciplines.  Engineering geologists truly inspire me because of the process where lessons are learned from project to project based on the critical nature of constant improvement for engineering success.

The annual meeting in Pittsburgh this week is chock full of great examples of how engineering geologists prioritize protection of human life ranging from mechanical factors of safety to simple love for people.  For example, today a keynote speaker shared a research project about identifying a high probability for a potential landslide will likely save many lives. 

Midwest GeoSciences Group is honored to contribute to the 2015 AEG Annual Meeting through our exhibitor booth, technical presentations and teaching a short course about rock core logging.  It's our priveledge to contribute to such a thoughtful and meaningful organization.

Dan Kelleher and Matt Benson, both Northern Illinois University Dept of Geology Alumni.

22 September 2015

Pennsylvania Professional Geologists Rock!

Thank you to those professionals who participated during the 2-day course Improving Hydrogeologic Analysis of Fractured Bedrock Systems.  It was a fun experience for the instructors - and based on the course evaluation forms the participants had a fun and fruitful experience too!

Course Participants with Professionalism and Pride in their Work
Thanks to the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists (PCPG) who co-sponsored this course and helped organize key elements.  The classroom venue at Penn State Great Valley was a convenient location with experienced on-site hosts.  Anyone who has attended other MidwestGeo Courses can attest to our love of good food...and thanks to Cornicopia Catering for timely lunch!

The course instructors, Ken Bradbury and Maureen Muldoon, and I enjoyed meeting everyone at the class.  Your professionalism abounds and the pride you have in your work is easy to see.  It is a blessing for us to meet you and serve you in order to become responsible stewards of this precious planet.

03 August 2015

Rock Weathering: Core Description Challenges

Rock core logging is conceptually simple but realistically difficult.  

One of the most challenging attributes of rock core descriptions is rock weathering.  Cores give a glimpse into the rock mass and we are tasked with making standardized, reproducible, and accurate descriptions that apply to our project goals. 

It's not easy and I suspect most of us who have described rock core can relate to these challenges.

Rock weathering rarely produces a uniform weathered rock mass where all rock is weathered to the same degree. 

Complex variation of weathering throughout the rock mass is common due to variable factors such as orientation and spacing of discontinuities in the rock, groundwater flow paths and the removal of overlying weathered material by erosion. 

The term "weathered" has introduced difficulty due to the subjective nature of observation and field interpretation. Instead, the degree of weathering can usually be qualified using three indicator parameters: 1) discoloration, 2) decomposition, and 3) disintegration. 

We no longer advocate rock core descriptions that include the following terms:
  • Slighty Weathered
  • Moderately Weathered
  • Highly Weathered

Instead, we suggesting using:
  • Decomposition
  • Disintegrated
  • Discoloration
Decomposition is described in various grades or degrees of decomposition ranging from fresh (unweathered) rock to a true in-situ "Residual Soil". Some general parameters used for assigning a decomposition grade for a particular rock type include typical sequences of color changes, decomposition of certain minerals, and the results of other simple strength index tests.

Each are included on the 

Disintegration is described according to the degree of mineralization or dissolution to either the rock core (matrix) or the cementation material. It should be noted that small-scale cracking and fracturing of rock could be caused by factors other than disintegration (i.e. mechanical decomposition). Once clay minerals start to form in the weathering process, cracks can be closed or "healed" as the original rock fabric begins to be destroyed, sometimes altering the hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass over time.

Discoloration is described using Munsell Colors, starting with the primary color first and adding up to two additional colors, when necessary.   Similar to soil samples, rock cores should be described as soon as possible following coring.

Continual advances from field technologies to computer modeling make our work more challenging than ever, not to mention the effects of persistent contamination, the spectrum of remedial alternatives and site closure strategies.

Down hole viewers, flow meters, temperature sensors, and geophysical tools can lend priceless information for building the geologic framework.

If you are interested in learning more about the recent leaps in conceptual thinking about hydrogeologic analysis of fractured bedrock, we encourage you to register now for:

Register now to learn about these advances in characterizing the geologic nature of fractures, ground water monitoring and modeling updates, and the recent leaps in conceptual thinking about hydrogeologic analysis of fractured bedrock.  

15 July 2015

In response to those who requested access to bundles of On-Demand Webinars, you can now subscribe to webinars according to your specific needs.  

We are honored to serve you and help you become a technical master of hydrogeology, environmental science and engineering.

Subscribe Now

02 June 2015

NOVCARE 2015 is an bi-annual international conference dedicated to NOVel site ChARactEriation technologies and approaches.   This year the conference was held at Kansas University for the first time and it was spectacular.

Evening Banquet topped off the day of Field Demonstrations
Multiple key note speakers anchored each thematic segment.  The power of this conference is it's thoughtful design to select applied researchers who are essentially visionaries within their area of expertise.  I once described how NOVCARE presents a glimpse into the future about subsurface characterization tools in the same way the AutoShow presents both new and futuristic cars.  I wasn't far off.

Thank you to the small army of organizers, facilitators, and hosts.  You made it fun and fruitful for the attendees.  See you again in 2017!

09 February 2015

"Read the Story of a Sedimentary Sequence"

Sedimentary sequences tell a story about not only deposition, but also secondary alterations that impact the physical nature of the sediments.  A critical attribute for reading the story is SOIL COLOR. 

Both primary and secondary colors give powerful clues about important attributes:  (1) Permeability, (2) Drainage, (3) Strength, (4) Compaction, etc.

For environmental investigations, soil color are critical indicators of (1) Water Table (2) Jointing and Fracturing (and it's vertical limits) within Clayey Sediments (3) Contamination.

This 2-part webinar series is long overdue because our industry continues to struggle reading the sedimentary story.  Thankfully Art Bettis from the University of Iowa is available to teach us about these important concepts.

Thank You to Forestry Suppliers, Inc. for allowing registrants to add a Munsell Soil Color Book with their webinar registration at a "below cost" price.   Thank You!

Starting on April 22, this two-part webinar series will help hydrogeologists, environmental scientists, geotech engineers, and soil scientists unravel the complexities of soil and sediment color.  

Registration is open now.