Recent News

Michigan Geological Survey and the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University are reputed for geologic research and education, database of historic samples and services to the general public. Researchers, the community, students and regional and national institutions may be interested in the latest news and happenings at the survey from various sources below.

Bluff erosion and failure | WOOD TV | OCT. 22, 2019

What is causing bluffs to fail? Watch the TV8 Wood Grand Rapids television interview on Oct. 22 at MGRRE. MGS reviews Geological Survey research on Lake Michigan bluffs in 3 areas, St. Joseph, Miami Park South and Pentwater.  

Waters Restored | PBS | Oct. 6, 2019

Did you know there is a water quality crisis and shortage in Ottawa county?  The Michigan Geological Survey has been working with Ottawa County to better understand geologically where, why and what can we/they do to conserve and protect our precious water resources as our population grows. Watch the PBS episode — Water's Restored.

Searching for critical minerals in Michigan | June 2019


          Examples of Michigan critical minerals

At the Michigan Geological Survey (MGS) and the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education (MGRRE), we are leaving no stone unturned in our search for minerals you may never have heard of, like sylvite, cesium, and manganese. Why?

Because America depends on resources like these, defined by the Department of the Interior as the 35 “critical minerals and rare earth elements.” But we are not producing enough of them. In fact, we are not producing any of some of the “rare earth elements.”  We import 90% or more of these minerals and elements—mostly from China.

And America’s dependence on foreign sources has increased dramatically. In the 1990’s, America was the world’s top minerals producer and exporter. Now we are the world’s top importer, making us increasingly vulnerable to supply shortages and price volatility.

Our newest research grant, from the U S Geological Survey, focuses on finding these minerals in Michigan. Dr. William Harrison, MGRRE Director, is leading a research team comprised of John A. Yellich, director of the Michigan Geological Survey; Dr. Peter J. Voice, research scientist and geologist; Dr. Joyashish Thakurta, economic geologist; Jennifer L. Trout, data manager; and several graduate and undergraduate students.

In a new NPR interview, Stateside discusses Michigan's role in mining these raw materials with Drs. William Harrison and Peter Voice. The interview begins at 18:40 or scroll down the NPR page for a shorter clip.

Tromino and Water Resource Mapping

Portage Subsurface Mapping

  • Portage Bedrock Valley Survey
    Aug. 2017 | Public Media Network
    The Michigan Geological Survey presents the results of their underground bedrock mapping in the city of Portage.
  • Portage Bedrock Water Presentation
    Aug. 2017 | Public Media Network

    Michigan Geological Survey director John Yellich presents information on bedrock water in the city of Portage.

  • Connect: Portage Subsurface Mapping
    Oct. 2016 Public Media Network
    MGS' efforts mapping underground bedrock valleys in Portage, MI are covered in a short video.

Economic benefits of recent MGS funding

Michigan Geological Survey funding announcement | Sept. 29, 2016

Michigan Geological Survey funded!

The need for a new geological survey of Michigan

Earthquake #2 | June 30, 2015

On June 30, 2015, at 11:42 am EDT, Kalamazoo County had another earthquake, which is the second for the region since May 2, 2015. The United States Geological Survey reported that the magnitude of this earthquake was 3.3 on the Richter Scale. The location of the earthquake was 11 km NE of Union City, MI (Latitude 42.147°N, Longitude 85.048°W) and its depth was 5.0 kilometers or 3.1 miles. More about this from USGS website...

  • NEWSCHANNEL 3 - Geologists say more minor quakes could be expected in Michigan
  • NEWSCHANNEL 3 - Experts say Tuesday's earthquake has nothing to do with fracking
  • NEWSCHANNEL 3 - Structural Geologist Chris Schmidt discusses latest W. Mich. earthquake
  • WOOD TV8 - Expert: 3.3 earthquake ‘separate’ from May quake

Earthquake #2 | May 2, 2015

On May 2, 2015, at 12:23 pm EDT. Kalamazoo County experienced an earthquake. The magnitude of the earthquake as reported by the USGS was 4.2 on the Richter Scale. The location of the earthquake was Section 13, Township 3S and Range 10W in Pavilion Township of Kalamazoo County (Latitude 42.212°N, Longitude 85.429°W). The depth of the earthquake was 5.9 kilometers or 19,314 feet. More about this from USGS website...

General MGS news