Glacial Geology and Mapping

  • Preserved glacial cores in a box

    MGRRE preserved these glacial cores that show where valuable construction materials, like sand and gravel, are located.

  • Dr. Kehew discussed mapping with class

    Dr. Alan Kehew discusses mapping while leading students on a field experience.

  • A glacial map made by Dr. Alan Kehew

    After taking hundreds of samples, Dr. Alan Kehew constructs glacial maps of Michigan.

The Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education at Western Michigan University archives rotosonic core samples obtained by faculty members of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences who are mapping the glacial geology of southwestern Michigan. This work, part of the Michigan Geological Survey's mapping program, is carried out through the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. This program has funded geologic mapping through competitive grants for more than two decades.

Dr. Alan E. Kehew has successfully obtained grants from the NCGMP’s STATEMAP, Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition and EDMAP programs for several years to provide detailed geological maps. They show geologic materials and structures that can be used to:

  • Locate construction materials such as sand and gravel.
  • Identify groundwater aquifers.
  • Provide data about subsurface stability and risks.
  • Evaluate sites for waste disposal facilities.
  • Locate natural resources essential to economic development.
  • Help decision makers in land-use planning and government.

Together with a team of researchers and students, Kehew incorporates a variety of methods into his research, including: clay mineralogy analysis; gamma ray logging of test holes and newly drilled water wells; test drilling by rotosonic and other techniques; and landform and sediment analysis using LiDAR and other methods. Progress of this mapping work can be seen on this map.