Utah Geological Survey

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

Utah Geological Survey

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

The Utah Geological Survey is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It also has an office in Cedar City, Utah.It is a division of the Utah Department of Natural Resources and is an applied scientific agency, which creates, interprets, and provides information about Utah's geological environment, resources and hazards, in order to promote safe, beneficial, and wise land usage.Its departments and programs are: Editorial Services, Geologic Hazards Program, Energy & Minerals Program, Geologic Information and Outreach Program, Geologic Mapping Program, Ground Water and Paleontology Program, and the State Energy Program.The UGS has worked on countless projects in the state, including statewide Geologic hazards maps, oil shale assessment, Great Salt Lake studies, fault trenching, and the Snake Valley/West Desert Groundwater Monitoring Well Project. In addition, recent research and general geologic information is given in teacher-friendly formats for anyone to use. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

There is a 43% probability that the Wasatch Front region in Utah will experience at least one magnitude 6.75 or greater earthquake, and a 57 % probability of at least one magnitude 6.0 earthquake, in the next 50 years, say researchers speaking at the 2017 Seismological Society of America's (SSA) Annual Meeting. In their report released in 2016, the Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities, established by the Utah Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey, presented their first forecast for large earthquakes along faults in the Wasatch region, running roughly from Nephi, Utah north to the Utah-Idaho border. (A map of the region is available from the USGS.) The Working Group's project is the first comprehensive study of large earthquake risk in the U.S. West outside of California. At the SSA Annual Meeting, Ivan Wong of Lettis Consultants International and colleagues will discuss the detailed forecast from the 2016 report, including their findings that at least 22 large earthquakes have ruptured parts of the Wasatch fault zone between Nephi and Brigham City, Utah in the past 6000 years. The data also suggest that some segments of the fault may be more likely to rupture than others, based on the average time between earthquakes. For instance, the segment of the fault around Brigham City ruptures on average every 1100 years, but has not experienced an earthquake in 2500 years.

McDonald A.T.,University of Pennsylvania | Kirkland J.I.,Utah Geological Survey | Dodson P.,University of Pennsylvania
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Eolambia caroljonesa is known from copious remains from the lower Cenomanian Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation in eastern Utah; however, the taxon has been only briefly described. Thus, we present herein a complete osteological description of Eolambia. Methodology/Principal Findings: The description of Eolambia presented here is based upon the holotype partial skeleton (CEUM 9758), paratype partial skull (CEUM 5212), and abundant disarticulated elements from two bonebeds that contain juvenile individuals. These remains allow the skeletal anatomy of Eolambia to be documented almost fully and a revised diagnosis to be proposed. Conclusions/Significance: The description provided here facilitates comparisons between Eolambia and other iguanodontians and allows Eolambia to be coded for additional characters in phylogenetic analyses. The close affinity between Eolambia and Probactrosaurus gobiensis from the Early Cretaceous of China supports previous hypotheses of faunal interchange between Asia and North America in the early Late Cretaceous. © 2012 McDonald et al.

Gilmore T.E.,North Carolina State University | Genereux D.P.,Earth and Atmospheric SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh | Solder J.E.,Utah Geological Survey
Water Resources Research | Year: 2016

We measured groundwater apparent age (τ) and seepage rate (v) in a sandy streambed using point-scale sampling and seepage blankets (a novel seepage meter). We found very similar MTT estimates from streambed point sampling in a 58 m reach (29 years) and a 2.5 km reach (31 years). The TTD for groundwater discharging to the stream was best fit by a gamma distribution model and was very similar for streambed point sampling in both reaches. Between adjacent point-scale and seepage blanket samples, water from the seepage blankets was generally younger, largely because blanket samples contained a fraction of "young" stream water. Correcting blanket data for the stream water fraction brought τ estimates for most blanket samples closer to those for adjacent point samples. The MTT estimates from corrected blanket data were in good agreement with those from sampling streambed points adjacent to the blankets. Collectively, agreement among age-dating tracers, general accord between tracer data and piston-flow model curves, and large groundwater age gradients in the streambed, suggested that the piston flow apparent ages were reasonable estimates of the groundwater transit times for most samples. Overall, our results from two field campaigns suggest that groundwater collected in the streambed can provide reasonable estimates of apparent age of groundwater discharge, and that MTT can be determined from different age-dating tracers and by sampling with different groundwater collection devices. Coupled streambed point measurements of groundwater age and groundwater seepage rate represent a novel, reproducible, and effective approach to estimating aquifer TTD and MTT. © 2016. American Geophysical Union.

News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Oct. 26, 2016 -- As U.S. coal production declines due to the rise of natural gas and alternative energies, the question remains: What will happen to those communities of coal workers? The answer may lie in a derivative of coal called "pitch," which can be used to produce a carbon-fiber material utilized in items from skis to automobile and aircraft parts. Engineers from the University of Utah are launching a $1.6 million project to research cost-effective, carbon-friendly methods of turning coal-derived pitch into carbon-fiber composite material, as well as analyze its market potential and whether it can help revitalize coal communities threatened by a decline in production. At a press conference Wednesday at the University of Utah's Industrial Combustion and Gasification Research Facility in downtown Salt Lake City, Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, announced the project would receive a $790,000 EDA POWER grant. It is one of a new slate of POWER grants announced by Williams that will finance projects to help struggling coal communities around the country. Matching funds for the Utah project also will come from industry-related agencies and companies. "There's an abundance of coal and we would like to find an alternative use for it. It is a huge natural resource in the U.S., and we have a whole coal-mining community that is desperate for a new direction," said University of Utah chemical engineering professor Eric Eddings, who leads the research team. "If we can find an economical way to use coal to produce carbon fibers and have enough useful products so there can be a market for it, then they have that new direction. And it's more carbon-friendly than just burning coal in a power plant." Typically, when coal is heated it produces hydrocarbon materials that are burned as fuel in the presence of oxygen. But if it is heated in the absence of oxygen--as in the cooking process smelters use to produce iron--those hydrocarbons can be captured, modified and turned into an asphalt-like material known as pitch. The pitch can then be spun into carbon fibers used to produce a composite material that is strong and light. Most carbon-fiber composite material is made from a derivative of petroleum known as polyacrylonitrile, but that process is expensive. While burning coal for power generation produces carbon dioxide (CO2) that is released into the atmosphere, processing coal for carbon fiber produces "substantially" less CO2, Eddings says. "We're taking the carbon and turning it into carbon fiber, so that's effectively isolating it from going into the environment," he says. With the new Utah grant, Eddings and his team will analyze the makeup of Utah coal--which has its own unique properties from coal in other regions--to determine how well it can be used for pitch-based carbon-fiber material. Researchers will produce different variants of pitch and then deliver them to Matthew Weisenberger and his team at the University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research, who are subcontractors in the project and experts at spinning pitch into carbon fibers. Engineers will research the best ways of producing pitch with as little CO2 as possible. The research team is also working with the Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI), a consortium of materials companies, research institutions and state agencies, to examine the market potential for producing this composite material from Utah coal, and if other coal communities can benefit from this technology. "I'm confident the research team can take Utah coal and produce carbon fiber," Greg Jones, founding director of UAMMI says. "The question is can Utah coal have some innate benefit that lends itself to carbon fiber that is somehow better than other coals? Can we find a way to produce carbon fibers more economically so it can be competitive and the market can grow?" The Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative is an EDA program that puts federal economic and workforce development resources into communities and regions negatively impacted by changes in the coal economy. This newest round of grants announced Wednesday by Williams totals $8.4 million and funds 15 research projects across America. (See accompanying media release). The EDA is a bureau in the U.S. Department of Commerce. "I commend the University of Utah for its forward-thinking approach and determination to create and retain jobs in Utah's coal affected counties and on earning the state's first POWER grant award," said Assistant Secretary Williams. In Utah, six coal operators produced 17.9 million tons of coal valued at $600 million from one surface and seven underground mines in 2014, according to the latest statistics from the Utah Geological Survey. Today, there are six active Utah mines--not counting sites that produce coal from old waste piles--operating in Carbon, Emery, Sevier and Kane counties, according to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining. If researchers prove successful in their work turning Utah coal into carbon fiber, the result could have a tremendous impact on the state's declining coal production as well as feed new material into the local hub of advanced materials manufacturers. Utah is a hotspot for advanced materials manufacturing, with more than 30 companies that manufacture or use carbon-fiber composites in their products, including for aerospace and defense applications, outdoor recreational equipment such as skis and bicycle rims, and lower-limb prosthetics. The advanced materials manufacturing industry in Utah employs more than 12,000 workers, according to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. Part of the Utah team's research will be to determine if these same products can use carbon fiber composites made from coal-derived pitch. This news release and photos may be downloaded from: http://unews.

Quick J.C.,Utah Geological Survey
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2010

This paper describes a method that uses published data to calculate locally robust CO2 emission factors for U.S. coal. The method is demonstrated by calculating CO2 emission factors by coal origin (223 counties, in 1999) and destination (479 power plants, in 2005). Locally robust CO2 emission factors should improve the accuracy and verification of greenhouse gas emission measurements from individual coal-fired power plants. Based largely on the county origin, average emission factors for U.S. lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite coal produced during 1999 were 92.97,91.97,88.20, and 98.91 kg CO2/GJgross, respectively. However, greater variation is observed within these rank classes than between them, which limits the reliability of CO2 emission factors specified by coal rank. Emission factors calculated by destination (power plant) showed greater variation than those listed in the Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID), which exhibit an unlikely uniformity that is inconsistent with the natural variation of CO2 emission factors for U.S. coal. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Duross C.B.,Utah Geological Survey | Duross C.B.,U.S. Geological Survey | Hylland M.D.,Utah Geological Survey
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America | Year: 2015

The Salt Lake City segment (SLCS) of the Wasatch fault zone and the antithetic West Valley fault zone (WVFZ) form a large, Holocene-active, intrabasin graben in northern Salt Lake Valley, Utah. We integrate previous paleoseismic data with new data from recent trench investigations and compare earthquake timing and displacement for both the master and antithetic faults of this major graben-forming system to address whether the WVFZ ruptures simultaneously with the SLCS or is a separate, independent source of earthquakes. Nine SLCS surface-faulting earthquakes postdate the Lake Bonneville highstand (∼18 ka); however, the record is most complete since ∼14 ka, yielding latest Pleistocene and Holocene mean recurrence estimates of ∼1:5 ky and ∼1:3-1:6 ky, respectively. Six post-Bonneville-highstand WVFZ earthquakes yield a mean recurrence of ∼2:0-3:6 ky; however, we consider the WVFZ earthquake record incomplete because of distributed faulting and limited paleoseismic data. Five of six WVFZ earthquakes have mean and 2σ times that are very similar to those of SLCS earthquakes. WVFZ earthquake W5 lacks an apparent temporal correlation with an SLCS earthquake but occurred during a period for which the SLCS chronology may be incomplete. Mean WVFZ per-event vertical displacement (∼0:5 m) is 26%-42% of that for the SLCS (∼1:2-1:9 m), consistent with that predicted by previous mechanical modeling of antithetic faulting triggered by slip on a listricmaster fault.We conclude that large WVFZ earthquakes are likely synchronous with, or triggered shortly after, SLCS surface-faulting earthquakes. Although earthquake-timing uncertainties preclude determining an unequivocal coseismic link between the WVFZ and SLCS, structural models suggest a high likelihood for synchronous rupture. These results have important implications for forecasting earthquake probabilities in complex normal-faulting environments. © 2015, Seismological Society of America. All rights reserved.

Allis R.,Utah Geological Survey | Moore J.,University of Utah
Transactions - Geothermal Resources Council | Year: 2014

Petroleum exploration wells confirm that the high permeability and high flow rates needed from geothermal production supporting large-scale power development can be found in deep stratigraphic reservoirs (> 3 km depth). Data from drilling in the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin of western U.S. show carbonate reservoirs at depths of 3 - 5 km have slightly better average permeability than siliciclastic reservoirs (75 versus 30 mDarcies). These values are sufficient for high-flow-rate geothermal production wells. Deep wells in two Rocky Mountain basins also show that carbonate reservoirs, possibly dolomitic, can preserve high permeability when the temperatures are 220 - 240°C at more than 5 km depth. There may be a relationship between widespread, good stratigraphic permeability, and reservoirs being at hydrostatic pressure. If true, this may imply that over-pressure is a negative indicator for a large geothermal reservoir. Conventional oil well production flow rates are usually significantly lower than that required for geothermal power production, but this is due to oil viscosity being at least ten times higher than hot water, rather than low permeability reservoirs. The target conditions for stratigraphic geothermal reservoirs are temperatures of 175 - 200°C and depths of 3 - 4 km. These conditions can be found within basins where the heat flow is about 90 mW/m2, the average heat flow for the Great Basin. The eastern Great Basin is underlain by a lower Paleozoic carbonate section that ranges up to 3 km in thickness and is known to have good permeability. Numerous reservoir targets where temperatures are 175 - 200°C at depths of 3 - 4 km, and good stratigraphic permeability is known or inferred have been identified in the Great Basin. The large areas of these reservoirs 102 to 103 km2) can each support power plants of more than 100 MWe. Copyright © (2014) by the Geothermal Resources Council.

Welhan J.,Idaho State University | Gwynn M.,Utah Geological Survey
Transactions - Geothermal Resources Council | Year: 2014

A synthesis of bottom-hole temperature (BHT) and drill stem test (DST) data compiled for the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) in the vicinity of southeast Idaho's Blackfoot volcanic field (B VF) was used to calculate heat flow for 31 oil and gas exploration wells drilled in the Idaho thrust belt (ITB). The temperature data and heat flow estimates define a previously unrecognized high- Temperature geothermal prospect in Jurassic and Triassic sedimentary rocks adjacent to the BVF at depths of 3-4 km, approximately 25-50 km north of the late Quaternary (58 ka) China Hat rhyolite domes of the BVF. The rhyolite magma, at a depth of 12-14 km, and/or its associated parent mafic magma is believed to be the heat source responsible for driving hydrothermal fluids and heat into the ITB. Several BHT correction methods were tested against DST data and an aggregate average of the best methods was computed and applied to all BHT data. Formation thermal conductivities were also evaluated to calculate more accurate heat flow. An area greater than 150 km2 has heat flow greater than 120 mW/m2 and temperatures in excess of 150°C at 3 km. Another localized area defined by a single well also exhibits anomalously high heat flow and subsurface temperatures (116 mW/m2 and 170°C at 3.5 km, respectively). The major ion chemistry of hot brines and saline formation fluids indicates they are the product of dissolution of evaporite beds in the Jurassic Preuss Sandstone in response to circulating hydrothermal fluids. Their spatial occurrence relative to salt-bearing strata suggests they may play a role in redistributing and storing heat, which could have implications for how these hot sedimentary reservoirs are developed. Copyright © (2014) by the Geothermal Resources Council.

Gwynn M.,Utah Geological Survey
Transactions - Geothermal Resources Council | Year: 2015

Previous work has shown that several basins in northeastern Nevada have high heat flow and geothermal potential. This study evaluates the deep thermal regime for the remainder of eastern Nevada using publicly available corrected bottom-hole temperature (BHT) and drill stem test (DST) data from past oil exploration efforts. Over 260 wells yield a dataset of nearly 500 BHTs and DSTs in a region characterized by numerous basins that typically hold about 2-4 km of low-thermal-conductivity sediments and volcanics. The basins are underlain by Paleozoic bedrock units consisting primarily of carbonates and lesser amounts of siliciclastics, some of which are known to have high permeability. Many of these units are exposed in the adjacent ranges. Such units may act as geothermal reservoirs, and due to the combination of high regional heat flow and the insulating properties of the basin fill, may host temperatures greater than 150°C beneath many basins. Results show that heat flow ranges from about 50 mW/m2 in basins within the area widely known as the Eureka Low to nearly 140 mW/m2 in Steptoe Valley at the northern end of the study area. Railroad Valley also hosts a localized area of high subsurface temperatures and heat flow, but this is the result of geothermal upflow. In the high-heat-flow basins with primarily conductive regimes, temperatures of 180°C to more than 210°C at 3-4 km depth may be expected, placing them well within the economic target of 150-200°C at 2-4 km depth for stratigraphic geothermal reservoirs. Inter- and intra-basin variations in temperature gradient and heat flow related to the effects of deep groundwater circulation appear to be present in many basins, although at least some of the variation may be the result of the notoriously low quality of BHT data.

Quick J.C.,Utah Geological Survey
Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association | Year: 2014

Annual CO2 emission tallies for 210 coal-fired power plants during 2009 were more accurately calculated from fuel consumption records reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) than measurements from Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Results from these accounting methods for individual plants vary by ± 10.8%. Although the differences systematically vary with the method used to certify flue-gas flow instruments in CEMS, additional sources of CEMS measurement error remain to be identified. Limitations of the EIA fuel consumption data are also discussed. Consideration of weighing, sample collection, laboratory analysis, emission factor, and stock adjustment errors showed that the minimum error for CO2 emissions calculated from the fuel consumption data ranged from ± 1.3% to ± 7.2% with a plant average of ± 1.6%. This error might be reduced by 50% if the carbon content of coal delivered to U.S. power plants were reported. Potentially, this study might inform efforts to regulate CO2 emissions (such as CO2 performance standards or taxes) and more immediately, the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule where large coal-fired power plants currently use CEMS to measure CO2 emissions. Moreover, if, as suggested here, the flue-gas flow measurement limits the accuracy of CO2 emission tallies from CEMS, then the accuracy of other emission tallies from CEMS (such as SO2, NOx, and Hg) would be similarly affected. Consequently, improved flue gas flow measurements are needed to increase the reliability of emission measurements from CEMS. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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