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Dear FGS Friends and Customers,

In this Winter 2014 issue, I am pleased to share with you updates on FGS happenings related to continuing research, staff activities, awards and the GEOFACT series, a new addition to our newsletter.  Given the broad spectrum of recipients of this newsletter, GEOFACT – a series of Florida geology articles, will strike a good balance for technical and non-technical readers as we provide information on geoscience topics of interest.

Since the inception of our institution in 1907, the FGS has published annual or biennial reports to provide a periodic record of activities, that include research, assessments, budget, accomplishments, and related information. I welcome you to read our latest Biennial Report, which provides an in-depth look at the FGS during that period.

Thanks for your interest in the FGS. If you have any questions about the Biennial Report, or the articles below, please contact us. I would also welcome your feedback regarding suggestions for future GEOFACT topics.

Best regards,

Jonathan D. Arthur, Ph.D., P.G.
Director and State Geologist
Office of the Florida Geological Survey
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

In This issue Bar

•GEOFACT - Why these fossils?   More…

•FGS Goes to China   More…

•Sinkhole Vulnerability Project Continues to Gain Attention More…

•FGS Director Selected to National Research Council    More…

•FGS Professional Display at GIS Day   More…

•FGS Staff Receive SHRUG Poster Awards More…

•Distinguished FGS Researcher Retires More…

•Ed and Outreach Continue as a Priority at FGS More…

•FGS Employees Recognized with DEP Star Award    More…

•See Previous Editions of FGS News And Research More…

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Why These Fossils?

Benthic foraminifera from Florida. Fossils are valuable for number of reasons. They are used for geologic formation identification, interpretation of previous environments, and determining the age of rock strata.

Geologists use fossils for biostratigraphic correlation, which allows researchers to match layers of rock in different locations by age based on the similarity of the fossils in each rock layer. This information can be used to help understand when different layers of rock were formed.

A good example of this are Foraminifera, which are generally small, single-celled, shelled marine organisms that are well-represented in the geologic record.  Due to their size, many survive destruction during drilling and, consequently, are useful stratigraphic indicators in well cuttings.  Foraminifera are broadly divided in two types: benthic, or bottom dwelling forms, and planktic, or free-floating forms. 

Benthic foraminifera largely reflect their paleoenvironment and are commonly long-ranging in time.  Planktic species were typically rapidly evolving forms, and were widely distributed by ocean currents.  As such, planktic foraminifera are more paleoenvironment-independent and, when present, can provide better sediment age resolution. 

Florida’s mostly warm, shallow and sometimes restricted Tertiary paleoenvironments resulted in a preponderance of benthic species in the Florida fossil record.  However, in some strata representing more open marine paleoenvironments, planktic species may be present in appreciable numbers.  Florida geologists routinely utilize fossil foraminifera in conjunction with other lithologic features to assist in identifying geologic formations statewide.

Contact person/info: Frank Rupert 

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,


~Dr. Jon Arthur invited to speak to Chinese geologists and students~

Tower karst seen along a river near Yongzhou, China

Tower karst seen along a river near Yongzhou, China

TALLAHASSEE –Dr. Jon Arthur, Director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Geological Survey returned stateside this weekend after giving three lectures in two cities in Southern China on karst geology, sinkholes and aquifer vulnerability.

Arthur was invited to speak at the International Training Course on Karst Hydrogeological Investigation, Dynamic Monitoring and Application in River Basins. Additionally, he lectured to the Department of Geographical Sciences at Southwest University in Chongqing. Arthur has 30 years of knowledge and research with the Department, starting at the Florida Geological Survey in 1984 as a research assistant. In June, Arthur was named President-Elect of the Association of American State Geologists.

“We are very proud of Dr. Arthur and the accomplishments of the Florida Geological Survey,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard. ”This is a clear acknowledgement of the world-class scientists we are fortunate to have at the Department and the important work this program does.”

At the International Research Center on Karst sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Guilin, China, Arthur gave two presentations Nov. 25. The first presentation explained sinkhole types and occurrences in Florida and the other covered karst aquifer vulnerability. Additionally, Arthur lectured on Aquifer Vulnerability Modelling in Karst at the Department of Geographical Sciences in Southwest University in Chongqing.

Karst aquifers yield 25 percent of water to the Earth’s population. These aquifers are highly complex and vulnerable to contamination. More than 90 percent of Florida's drinking water comes from Florida's aquifers, most of which are karst-related. 

Geoscience professionals worldwide met at the training course, including Dr. George Veni, the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (USA) Director and Dr. Mikhail Bogdanov, the General Director of Russia’s Geologic Research Institute of Construction. The exchange of information during this trip provided opportunity to learn more about the scientific challenges regarding karst worldwide.

“It was an honor to be chosen as a lecturer for this international course and to speak at Southwest University in Chongqing,” Dr. Arthur said. “This was a wonderful opportunity to share the Department’s knowledge of karst geology in Florida and also gain a wealth of knowledge to bring back to Florida from international experts in karst.”

Arthur also met with Professor Jiang Yuchi, Director of the International Research Center for Karst, to discuss cooperative opportunities between the Center and the Department’s Florida Geological Survey.

This trip followed Dr. Arthur's presentation to the National Research Council of National Academies Board of Earth Sciences and Resources’ Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering on Nov. 13, in Washington, D.C. Dr. Arthur presented information on the state's sinkhole vulnerability study that the Florida Geological Survey just started, as well as the general topic of sinkholes, including the impacts on the economy, environment and human health. 

For more information on Florida Geological Survey click here.

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FGS geologist studying a north Florida sinkhole. The Florida Geological Survey’s Sinkhole Vulnerability Study, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Florida Division of Emergency Management, was recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Secretary, Herschel Vinyard in his end-of-year message for 2013. Secretary Vinyard stated: “The impact of the Florida Geological Survey’s study on sinkhole vulnerability will be vital for generations of Floridians, our nation and to countries around the world that have karst geology.” Support from the highest levels of FDEP and state government underscore how important geology is to the citizens of Florida.

The FGS study was also recognized in the prestigious magazine Nature in a December 10, 2013 article by Alexandra Witze entitled “Florida forecasts sinkhole burden.” The article includes quotes from both of the study’s principal investigators, Clint Kromhout and Alan Baker. The article can be found at the link below.

Contact person/info: Clint Kromhout 

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Poster showing geology and geomorphology in northern Florida national park sites

On November 21, 2013, the Florida Geological Survey (FGS) participated in the second annual GIS Day Open House celebration at the Bob Martinez Center on behalf of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff. The FGS’s GIS data and spatial analysis work are critical to many of FDEP’s programs. FGS employees Jim Cichon and Lee Hartman set up a professional display and met with many FDEP staff members, demonstrated their laptop applications, and shared information about what the FGS has to offer. “The FGS Wells database was a big hit,” said Cichon. “FDEP staff was impressed with the number of geophysical logs, formation picks and sample information that are now tied to a wells location.” In addition, GIS data covering detailed geologic mapping and subsidence incident reports were shared with Department staff. Feedback and information was received about work from other FDEP employees. Events like this provide an opportunity for people to meet, problem-solve, showcase FGS data resources, and provided needed information to those around the Department. The FGS appreciates FDEP, especially OTIS/GIS, for hosting this event.

Contact person/info: Alan Baker 

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FGS poster award winners

Lee Hartman and Michelle Ladle, two staff members from the FGS, recently participated in the 2013 Annual Seven Hills Regional
User Group for GIS (SHRUG) Workshop at the FSU Convention Center in Tallahassee. The event provides a forum for the latest
in GIS technology, research and activities in the southeastern United States. The workshop is a showcase for GIS-related efforts within governmental agencies and private businesses and covers all levels of experience.  

Hartman and Ladle received second and third place awards for a combined total of three posters displaying results from GIS projects.  For more information see:

Contact person/info: Michelle Ladle  

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FGS logo.

Rodney DeHan was born and raised in Scotland but attended college in the United States and earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University. Shortly after receiving his degree he became interested in microbiology and came to Florida State University to pursue additional education. He earned a second doctorate in microbiology from FSU in 1971 and served on the university faculty. In the mid-1970s he moved to the microbiology lab at the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER), the predecessor to today’s Department of Environmental Protection.

While working in the FDER labs, Rodney became interested in groundwater pollution and was instrumental in raising awareness of the need for regulation of potential sources of contamination of groundwater. In 1978 he helped establish and administer the agency’s Groundwater Program. During this part of Rodney’s career he was involved in developing numerous groundwater protection rules and initiating FDER programs including groundwater classes and contaminant concentration standards, wellhead protection, groundwater permitting and monitoring, underground injection, water well construction, agricultural wastewater treatment, phosphate mining waste management, hazardous waste and underground storage tanks. Working to protect Florida’s precious groundwater resources is one of his proudest accomplishments.

Rodney was appointed to multiple groundwater commissions and councils over his long career. Of particular importance was his appointment by the U.S. Geological Survey to become the first representative from Florida to sit on the National Water Quality Monitoring Council. The work of the Council includes promotion of collaborative, comparable and cost-effective approaches for monitoring both water quality and quantity.

In September, 1997, Rodney left his management position within the Groundwater Program and came to work at the Florida Geological Survey (FGS)where he soon joined the hydrogeology program. His role within the FGS began as a Senior Research Scientist specializing in groundwater in karst regions. Over the next 16 years Rodney managed numerous groundwater research projects funded by various state and federal grants. Of particular importance were multiple projects that investigated the interconnection between surface water and groundwater in the western portion of the Woodville Karst Plain. As a result of this research, connections between surface water inputs and various springs, including world-famous Wakulla Spring, were made through dye tracing. This research led to increased protection of both surface water and groundwater which ultimately benefits citizens that rely on groundwater as a drinking water source. It also benefits Wakulla and other springs in the region that have experienced degraded water quality for several decades.

Dr. Rodney DeHan retired from his long career on November 1, 2013. His interest in protecting water resources and his dedication to utilizing a scientific approach to resource protection are a legacy that will continue to benefit Floridians for many years to come. We cannot thank him enough for his many years of dedicated service to the State of Florida.

Contact person/info: Frank Rupert 

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Glenridge students were excited to learn about sinkholes, limestone, and Florida’s aquifer

Over the past quarter (October-December), the Florida Geological Survey (FGS) continued its efforts to provide geologic education and outreach to the public and other areas of the Department. Director and State Geologist Jon Arthur visited Orlando on October 10 for three presentations. Arthur visited DEP’s Central District to discuss the geology of Florida over the past several million years in a presentation called “Geologic History of Central Florida.” Following the Central District presentation, Arthur traveled to nearby Glenridge Middle School to educate students on Florida geology and sinkholes. Students were excited to learn about sinkholes, limestone and Florida’s aquifer and had lots of questions (see photo). That evening, a presentation on sinkholes was given at the Orange County Public Library entitled “Sinkholes: Are They in Your Future?”  

The following are additional Education and Outreach-related activities run by FGS staff in the past few months:
• October 3: Director Arthur traveled to Jacksonville to speak to Associated General Contractors. The goal was to educate Florida builders on sinkhole
hazards and applications of sinkhole probability mapping towards improving safety.
• October 9: Assistant State Geologist Harley Means was a guest speaker for Professor Nadine Hadley-Brown’s Environmental Systems class (BSC 1050) at
Tallahassee Community College (TCC). Florida Geology and geology careers were discussed.
• October 19-20: Assistant State Geologist Jackie Lloyd provided assistance to Dr. Mabry Gaboardi’s TCC Physical Geology class in a field trip to St. George
Island State Park. Study was focused on coastal processes , and the trip was developed with input from FSU’s Professor Dr. William Parker.
• October 31: Dan Phelps presented the rock cycle to 40 first grade students at Kate Sullivan Elementary School.
• November 23: David Paul led a field trip to Alum Bluff on the Apalachicola River for the Florida Paleontological Society.
• December 6: Harley Means led several geology students from Northwest Florida State College on a field trip to Alum Bluff.  He also provided the use of an
FGS boat to carry students to the bluff.
• December 10: Harley Means led a field trip to Leon Sinks for a local home-school group.
• December 19: Once again, Harley Means displayed dedication to geological education by speaking to three 5th grade classes at Maclay School about Florida’s

Contact person/info: Sarah Allen

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DEP logo

Two outstanding FGS staff, Cindy Fischler, Professional Geologist II and Sarah Allen, Administrative Assistant, were among the DEP employees honored at the Second Annual DEP Stars Award ceremony held in Tallahassee on January 21, 2014.  The recipients were selected from around the state by their peers and managers as our most stellar environmental stewards. We are proud of our star award recipients! For more information see: http://depnet/deptop/desk_of/2014/0123_01.htm

Contact person/info: Dr. Jonathan Arthur 

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