2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


MIKULIC, Donald G., Illinois State Geol Survey, 615 E Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL 61820-6964 and KLUESSENDORF, Joanne, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, Weis Earth Science Museum, 1478 Midway Rd, Menasha, WI 54952, mikulic@isgs.uiuc.edu

Applied geologic studies undertaken for public works, private development, and other projects, generate a large volume of samples and data annually in the U.S. Developed as part of investigations that may include a variety of environmental, engineering, or economic topics, these materials collectively represent one of the most extensive sources of primary geologic information for large parts of the country, especially for many urban areas. Whereas some of these projects are privately funded, many of the largest are paid for by government agencies or are mandated by government regulations.

Unfortunately, most of these samples and data are discarded routinely, and the documentation for these projects rarely reaches accessible public repositories or the geologic community. Although concerns about the loss of similar materials developed by academic research or the energy industries have been expressed, surprisingly little attention has been directed towards the larger loss of data and samples from these applied projects, despite the volume of this material, their typical "public ownership,” and their potential long-term societal importance.

Varying in scope from limited site-specific studies to comprehensive large-scale projects of a regional nature, the utility of applied geologic studies may range from single data points to the most comprehensive geologic study ever undertaken for a large area. In many cases, these studies provide geologic information on locations that would be otherwise difficult to obtain because of the sampling costs or difficulties with site access. Moreover, the recent increase in geologic mapping as well as new interests in deep, three-dimensional surficial and bedrock studies have produced a greater need for new subsurface information. Few agencies, let alone individual scientists, possess the funding to generate these large-scale samples and data that are necessary to much research and to applied studies. It is, therefore, essential to make an effort to preserve at least some of the materials already available through other applied geologic studies.