At the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education we share news about upcoming workshops, rock cores recently received, education and research activities, and student and faculty achievements. Please let us know if you would like further information about any of these announcements.
MARCH 2022 | our Potash research supports national food security
Russia’s war against Ukraine has limited the world’s supply of potash—a fertilizer ingredient, for which there is no substitute. Potash helps plants take up and retain moisture, and it must be applied each year to crops like soy beans and corn. Russia and Belarus had supplied 40% of all the world’s potash, and that’s unavailable now. The US imports more than 95% of its potash, which has tripled in cost in the past year. Midwest farmers are hard pressed to pay for their fertilizer, and it’s becoming harder to come by.
That’s why our research about Michigan’s potash deposit is even more important than ever. In 2008, WMU was very instrumental in re-discovering a rare potash deposit when Dr. Harrison rescued cores from several counties that contain this critical mineral. Bill Harrison sampled the cores from 2 counties, providing raw data for an independent lab whose analyses showed the deposit’s rare qualities.
Theodore Pagano, founder and CEO of Michigan Potash and Salt Company (MPSC) worked with Dr. Harrison to further unearth data about this deposit. MPSC is now nearing completion of the development phase to produce potash from this deposit for American farmers. Providing a domestic source of this critical fertilizer component will support national food security.
Dr. William Harrison now leads a team to examine potash well records and cores from 9 Michigan counties that are preserved by the Michigan Repository for Research and Education, at the Michigan Geological Survey. Through funding from the U. S. Geological Survey, they are creating a map that will show, for the first time, the detailed grade and thickness of this rare deposit.
|Photos: Top Left: Bill Harrison and students examine potash cores; Top Right: Interested business people discuss potash cores with Bill Harrison; Bottom: Michigan Potash and Salt Company discusses potash deposit.|
March 2022 | new drill cores from mdot
MDOT delivers drill hole cores to MGRRE from their statewide road and bridge construction work. They drill cores in the bedrock to make sure the rocks will provide a stable foundation. We use those cores in our education and research. And we use them to make bedrock maps for use by members of industry and government.
|Photos (left to right): MDOT delivers cores to MGRRE; Cores from the Upper Peninsula; Bill Harrison and Jen Trout inventory the new cores.|
NOV. 2021 | PTTC/MOGA WORKSHOP AT MGRRE was Sold out
With almost 80 people in attendance and 9 presentations, the workshop focused on insights gained by examining Michigan cores from the Antrim, Dundee, Niagaran reef, and Trenton/Black River formations. Speakers talked about recent field experience, current research, and new data sources at MGRRE. Our display tables were covered with cores to illustrate each presentation. We all enjoyed being with one another and having the opportunity to network. We are grateful to our generous sponsors and speakers for your continued support during challenging times.
|Photos from left to right - Nov. 2021 PTTC Speakers: Autumn Haagsma, Peter Voice, Bill Van Sickel, Collin Gray, John Fowler, William Harrison, Kevin Jensen, Dennis Schmude, Matt Rine, and Natalia Zakharova (photo courtesy of Scott Bellinger), Lunch in the warehouse at MGRRE, and John Fowler examining core.|
SEPT. 2021 | DR. HARRISON DISCUSSES CCUS ON ACCUWEATHER
AccuWeather’s Emmy Victor interviewed Dr. William B. Harrison at MGRRE. They discussed MGRRE’s research to foster carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in Michigan. CCUS may be the best technology to significantly reduce carbon emissions from large-scale industrial production. That interview was broadcast on AccuWeather television on several occasions in September.
MGRRE Director William Harrison spoke to AccuWeather's Emmy Victor about a process to extract carbon dioxide from industrial sources for secure storage thousands of feet beneath the surface in porous rock.
Nov. 2019 | Dark data brought into the light by MGRRE team
Working in the snow, a team of MGRRE workers and a dedicated industry professional brought some very dark data into the light. They removed 67 whole cores from a crawlspace under a building, where they had been stored for several decades. They are now safely at MGRRE where they will be used in education and research. Read more.
|Cores stored away in a crawlspace awaiting recovery (left). Cores now archived at MGRRE (right).|
Oct. 9, 2019 | senator Gary Peters toured MGRRE
Sen. Gary Peters toured MGRRE, met with Western’s President Montgomery, and attended a PFAS roundtable organized by Terri Goss Kinzy, Vice President for Research and Innovation and Jeffrey Breneman, Vice President for Government Relations.
|(Left to right) Terri Goss Kinzy, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Senator Gary Peters, Jeffrey Breneman, Vice President for Government Relations, William Harrison, MGRRE Director, Edward Montgomery, WMU President.|
Aug. 2019 | MGRRE/MGS research team at work in the Upper Peninsula
MGRRE/MGS researchers conducted field work in the Upper Peninsula in August. They collected rock samples and scanned paper well data. They will use these materials in critical mineral research, student education, and K-12 Outreach in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.
June 2019 | Searching for critical minerals in Michigan
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.
APRIL 24, 2019 | EARTH DAY
On April 24, MGRRE celebrated Earth Day with K-6th grade students in Lansing. Dr. Peter Voice brought mastodon and mammoth vertebrae and teeth to show the students. We shared resources from the Michigan Basin Geological Society, Michigan Geological Survey, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy. We all showed examples of rocks and minerals, gave away samples including halite (generously donated by Detroit Salt), feldspar, coal, specular hematite, taconite pellets, native copper flakes, pieces of agate, and Petoskey stones. We demonstrated porosity and permeability with cores and bicycle pumps. Many students said our booth was their favorite. One student exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for this all day!” and another said, “this is the start of my rock collection". We hope we inspired a few to pursue earth science.
PTTC/MOGA WORKSHOP WAS HELD ON APRIL 18, 2019
MGRRE/MGS and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association presented a Petroleum Technology Transfer Council Workshop titled, "Field Redevelopment Opportunities" at the Grand Traverse Resort near Traverse City in partnership with MOGA. Eleven speakers gave presentations and 185 people attended.
Jan. 2019 | An updated bibliography of Michigan geology
Dr. Peter Voice has just published an updated bibliography of Michigan Geology. This compilation of more than 7,700 references documents 200 years of geological research by members of industry, professional associations and universities. The Bibliography is sorted into four general categories—Precambrian, Basin, Quaternary, and Other. This updated version also includes a short section on Michigan stratigraphic nomenclature, as well as a brief discussion of historical trends in frequency of Michigan geological publications.
You can download this free publication at wmich.edu/geologysurvey/research/publications.
We welcome your comments.
Nov. 2018 | USGS Website highlights MGRRE's preservation work
Dr. William Harrison and his team completed a USGS NGGDPP project to preserve and inventory cores and cuttings from our two major freshwater aquifers, aggregate materials, and other natural deposits. The USGS Website now shows our proposal for this project as the sample preservation proposal. Our potash core work is also shown as a preservation success story with an article about our work to preserve this world class source of a critical mineral.
Oct. 2018 | Wayne County bedrock map updated and natural resources and risks assessed
Using new sources of data and cores obtained largely from highway projects and other infrastructure development, Drs. William Harrison and Peter Voice with research colleagues Katharine Rose and Jennifer Trout reassessed the natural resources and geologic risks of Wayne County. They also revised the outdated county bedrock map through funding by the USGS STATEMAP program.
Their open-file report and revised map, showing the regional distribution of formations and resources provides insights into natural resources and structural characteristics of shallow geologic formations that are essential for future economic development and infrastructure improvements.
APRil 25, 2018 | geological Society of America publishes Michigan Basin research
The Geological Society of America requested a compilation of research carried out using MGRRE’s extensive geological collections. Bill Harrison, Dave Barnes, and Mike Grammer soliciting and co-authoring “Paleozoic Stratigraphy and Resources of the Michigan Basin” Special Paper 531. The publication describes the geologic processes and distribution of natural resources in the Basin. Published in April 2018, all but two of the 15 chapters of the Paper document research carried out at MGRRE by Bill, Dave, Mike, Peter Voice and their students.
Sept. 29, 2016 | Michigan Geological Survey funding announcement
Survey director John Yellich, WMU president John Dunn and key decision makers from Michigan's political ranks gathered together to formally announce the funding of the Michigan Geological Survey. This landmark accomplishment was celebrated by many faculty, students and staff members from the WMU Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education, along with members of the Geosciences Advisory Council and community and industry partners.
Related articles, interviews, photos and videos
Michigan Geological Survey at WMU gets grant to survey state's subsurface
Sept. 29, 2016 | MLive
WMU-Michigan Geological Survey Accepts $500K
Sept. 29, 2016 | WIN 98.5
WMU unveils $500K investment in Michigan Geological Survey
Sept. 29, 2016 | WWMT.com
WMU Gets $500,000 Grant To Map State Resources
Sept. 29, 2016 | WMUK 102.1
Aug. 8, 2016 | National Science Foundation award
Drs. Stephen Kaczmarek and Andrew Caruthers have received an award from the National Science Foundation to acquire a handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer which will be used to obtain geochemical data from cores archived at MGRRE. Acquisition of this new handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer is necessary in order to provide insight into the evolution of the Michigan Basin, which, in turn, will foster a better understanding of its geological systems and resources. Newly obtained data from these research endeavors will be used in joint academic-industry research partnerships regarding hydrocarbon reservoirs and other earth resources. Any insights gained into Michigan's geologic history will be shared with the K-12 community through MGRRE's Corekids outreach program.
June 22, 2016 | Michigan Geological Survey receives state funding
The MGS was awarded $500,000 of state funding to conduct geologic mapping to protect and develop Michigan’s natural resources. This award is a testament to the vision and hard work of the staff at the MGS and the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education. Special thanks to MGS Director John Yellich, Department Chair Mohamed Sultan, President John Dunn, Vice President for Government Affairs and University Relations Greg Rosine, Assistant Vice President for Government Affairs Katie John, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy Greene, Interim Dean of CAS Dean Hearit, Vice President for Research Dan Litynski and the Geosciences Advisory Council, without whose support this milestone could not have been achieved. Read more.
May 12, 2016 | New potash facility to open near Evart,MI
Dr. William Harrison III, MGRRE director and professor emeritus of geosciences at Western Michigan University, was recently interviewed by the Cadillac News about plans for a new chemical extraction facility near Evart, MI. Among the benefits, Harrison states, is the activation of a local potash source for Midwest farmers; the biggest current suppliers are Canada and Russia. In addition, the creation of such a facility would present hundreds of direct and indirect employment opportunities which would, in turn, provide a boost to the local businesses in the Evart area.
March 22, 2016 | Bibliography of Michigan geology
Dr. Peter Voice, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences instructor and CoreKids director, has compiled a bibliography of Michigan geology listing more than 6,000 documents from all known Michigan sources, including industry, professional associations and universities. Spanning the last 195 years, this list represents published and unpublished documents about Michigan geology. The Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education and the Michigan Geological Survey assume no publication rights; this is simply a compilation. Please contact your local library or the publication author to determine any copyright issues about duplicating the actual file/document referenced in this summary.
March 16, 2016 | MGRRE and MOGA presented workshop
As the Michigan satellite for the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, MGRRE presented a workshop, co-sponsored by the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, on March 16, 2016, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Approximately 135 members from industry, government and education attended to hear speakers discuss undiscovered oil and gas in Michigan, subsurface geological research by MGRRE faculty and students and the field experiences of industry members. Speakers included: Dr. Christopher Swezey, United Stated Geological Survey; Drs. William Harrison, Peter Voice and Andrew Caruthers, MGRRE; industry members Dean Bohjanen and John Fowler; and a panel of industry veterans, including Tim Baker, David Hall, Dave Maness, Lew Murray, Bill Quinlan, Rick Sandveit and Willian Strickler. Attendees also enjoyed poster presentations by MGRRE graduate students, Bryan Currie, Jonathan Garrett, Cameron Manche, Zaid Nadhim and Matthew Rine. A highlight of the event was the presentation of MGRRE's Lifetime Achievement Award to Core Energy President, Robert G. Mannes.
Jan. 22, 2016 | Additional racking constructed
Thanks to several generous donors from the oil and gas industry, MGRRE was able to add enough new racking in early 2016 to accommodate 150 more pallets of cores. Because we had very little archival space available last fall when we received some huge donations of core, we appealed to our donors to help us put up the new racking. They made it happen! Thank you to our donors and everyone who helped with the construction; now, we can archive and easily access these cores to use them in research and education.
Nov. 11, 2016 | New core collection
In late 2015, MGRRE was offered two large core collections that included about 30,000 feet of core. Most of these were drilled in southeastern Michigan, an area from which few subsurface samples were previously available. The newly drilled cores were donated by an engineering firm that drilled more than 230 boreholes through a seven mile long zone of shallow bedrock, including Antrim shale, the Traverse group and the Dundee limestone. These cores are in very good condition and hold raw data that can yield information for economic development and research when used by land-use planners, governmental agencies, academia, industry and developers.
2014 | Research about Michigan's Oldest Rocks
Research about Michigan's Oldest Rocks by Drs. Voice, Harrison and Thakurta, presented in 2014 to the Eastern Section, American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Sept. 15, 2013 | MGRRE's role in rediscovering a large potash deposit
Western Michigan University’s Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education has been receiving national attention about its work with Michigan Potash Company, the result of which has helped to rediscover a $65 billion dollar deposit here in Michigan. More information
Related articles and interviews
March 16, 2018 | Detroit Free Press
April 17, 2017 | USGS
Sept. 11, 2013 | WKZO
WMU Research Facility Assists in Rediscovery of Rare Mineral Deposit
Sept. 10, 2013 | WMU News
Rediscovery of Rare Mineral Deposit by WMU Geologists and Private Company Could Boost Michigan Economy
Sept. 10, 2013 | MLive