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Last update: 6/24/08

[University of Wisconsin-Green Bay News Release]

For Immediate Release:

June 24, 2008

Professor, project win support for bedrock research below Brown County

Photo: John Luczaj.

GREEN BAY - A University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty member is principal investigator for a project expected to yield better maps of the bedrock beneath Brown County along with valuable data on groundwater and other resources.

Prof. John Luczaj, an earth scientist with the Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit, leads the team that is receiving a total of $109,000 in first-year support to extend statewide mapping being done as part of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey. The initial grant is funded by $58,000 from UW-Extension, which administers the state survey, and $51,000 from the U.S. Geological Survey.

A team of geologists and GIS/database specialists, with UW-Green Bay student assistance, will participate in the research. The grant also provides money for core-sample drilling, testing and travel to inspect rock outcrops and quarries. Municipal records and well-construction reports from private drillers, nearly 10,000 in all, will be incorporated into the database.

The project begins in the eastern half of Brown County, where relatively less is known about the stratigraphy of sedimentary rocks that are up to nearly 1,500 feet thick in places, and where few wells are deep enough to approach the pre-Cambrian "basement."

Luczaj says a comprehensive bedrock map would necessarily be accompanied by a more thorough mapping of countywide soil and clay deposits that vary greatly in depth.

The overall results could be of value to citizens concerned about bacterial contamination in shallow wells; to those who mine ornamental or crushed stone; and to land-use planners considering aquifer and "barrier" issues, groundwater recharge, and the potential for water and pollutants to travel comparatively quickly through fractured bedrock.

Luczaj joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2005. He was previously a senior scientist and data manager with American Hydrogeology Corp. He holds a Ph.D. and master's in geology from Johns Hopkins University in addition to a master's from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's from UW-Oshkosh.

The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey is intended to advance scientific understanding of the state's geology while also addressing societal issues, particularly in rapidly urbanizing areas.

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08-158 | Contact: Christopher Sampson, (920) 465-2527

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