Sep 122017
 

Members of our geoscience staff are busy this week participating in the Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists taking place in Colorado Springs this year. CGS Director and State Geologist, Karen Berry, PG, is the Technical Session Moderator, the organizer of Technical Session #18, and is hosting the annual Women in AEG/AWG Breakfast; Kevin McCoy, PhD, is a Symposium Convener and presenter; Jon Lovekin, PG, is leading the field-trip Fire, Flood, and Landslide Impacts and Mitigation around the area; CGS Deputy Director, Matthew L. Morgan presents Change Detection of the West Salt Creek Landslide, Colorado Using Multi-Temporal Lidar and UAVSAR Datasets; and Senior Engineering Geologist (Emeritus), Jon White, speaks on Landslide Susceptibility in the Colorado Springs Area — Geology and History at Technical Session #18: Landslide Hazard Info for Colorado Springs Residents and Real Estate Professionals which is a special program that is free and open to the public.

[See the AEG Annual Meeting Program/Abstracts catalog for further information.]

Kevin’s presentation, in particular, From Outcrop to Web: CGS Integrates Digital Data and GIS Technologies to Map Geology, Hazards, and Groundwater Resources, introduces some of the ground-breaking (pardon the pun!) work that we do on behalf of the citizens of the state of Colorado:

Abstract: The Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) employs an array of digital data and GIS technologies for mapping geology, natural hazards, and groundwater resources, and disseminating the resulting data to the public. Key technologies include iPads with GIS software for data collection and field verification of GIS models, a growing lidar data set for the state, digital aerial stereo imagery, GIS-based models for natural hazard analysis, GIS tools for mapping and analyzing groundwater resources, and web-based platforms for disseminating digital maps and data to the public. This talk will provide an overview of these technologies, a summary of current lidar data acquisition and statewide goals, and a summary of goals for integrating newly-emerging technologies in future projects. Two detailed case studies illustrating use of the technologies will be provided. In the County-Wide Debris Flow Susceptibility Mapping Program, CGS is mapping areas susceptible to debris flows and/or mudflows on a countywide basis for 43 counties in 13 Priority Areas comprising the mountainous portions of the state. Maps are prepared using GIS-based debris-flow source area and runout models, visual interpretation of high-resolution digital terrain data, and digitized geologic and soil survey data. In the County Geology and Groundwater Resources Program, geologists create three-dimensional layered models of geologic formations on a countywide basis in a GIS environment. This process integrates data from multiple sources starting with surface geologic maps and incorporating other datasets such as subsurface depth information, well distribution data, and water quality data. The compilation is presented in a format that allows users to visualize the spatial distribution of groundwater resources.

And the full presentation:

Apr 122017
 
OF-16-05 Geologic Map of the Longmont Quadrangle, Boulder and Weld Counties, Colorado

We just uploaded the most recent of our STATEMAP mapping products to our online store: the Geologic Map of the Longmont Quadrangle, Boulder and Weld Counties, Colorado. The STATEMAP series in general provides a detailed description of the geology, mineral and ground-water resource potential, and the geologic hazards of an area. This particular 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 quadrangle is located immediately east of the Front Range uplift of Colorado and includes most of the town of Longmont within its borders. The geologic map plates were created via traditional field mapping, structural measurements, photographs, and field notes acquired by the investigators. Richard F. Madole, Scientist Emeritus at the USGS was the lead geologist for the project. This free release from the CGS includes two plates (with a geologic map, cross-section with correlation, oblique 3D view, legend, and description) along with the corresponding GIS data package that allows for digital viewing, all in a single zip file.

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From the map history: Continue reading »

Feb 062017
 

With all the precipitation in the Rockies this year (we’re at +153% normal snowpack at the moment), we thought we would re-release a publication that highlights at least one important aspect of Colorado snowfall — that is, the significant danger of avalanches. The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the United States 1980-86, compiled and written by Nick Logan and Dale Atkins and illustrated with Larry Scott’s fine pencil drawings, was first published in 1996. We still have a few hard-copies available and, because of that, yes, we do charge for the PDF download. However, Larry went back and re-made the PDF from the original publication file, producing a file that is far better than the rather poor digital scan we had offered previously.

The volume details 146 oft-times harrowing stories surrounding avalanches, the lives they claim, survivors and witnesses, along with assessments as to what happened, why it happened, and what could have been done to prevent loss of life and/or property. The authors are never judgmental, and their clear-eyed accounts contain a wealth of wisdom that will add to the knowledge-base of any winter backcountry enthusiast.

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Citation: Logan, Nick, and Dale Atkins. SP-39 The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the United States, 1980–86. Special Publications 39. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, 1996.
Jan 122017
 

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century, some of the first settlers of the plateau region of western Colorado along the Colorado River, and the Uncompahgre and Paonia river basins, looked to fruit crops for their livelihood. The semi-arid but moderate climate was well suited for fruit orchards once irrigation canal systems could be constructed.

But serious problems occurred when certain lands were first broken out for agriculture and wetted by irrigation. They sank, so much in places (up to four feet!) that irrigation-canal flow directions were reversed, ponding occurred, and whole orchards, newly planted with fruit trees imported by rail and wagon at considerable expense, were lost. While not understood, fruit growers and agriculturists began to recognize the hazards of sinking ground. Horticulturists with the Colorado Agricultural College and Experimental Station (the predecessor of Colorado State University) made one of the first references to collapsible soil in their 1910 publication, Fruit-Growing in Arid Regions: An Account of Approved Fruit-Growing Practices in the Inter-Mountain Country of Western United States (pdf download). They warned about sinking ground and in their chapter, Preparation of Land for Planting, made one of the first recommendations for mitigation of the hazard. They stated that when breaking out new land for fruit orchards, the fields should be flood irrigated for a suitable time to induce soil collapse, before final grading of the orchard field, irrigation channels excavation, and planting the fruit tree seedlings. Continue reading »

Jan 112017
 

Regarding the Colorado Geological Survey (an article appearing in the Mining Reporter, March 1907):

We note that one of our contemporaries, in recently commenting on the University bill creating a State Geological Survey of Colorado — the bill reported favorably on by the joint Senate and House mining committee — voices in no uncertain language its regret at the “truly pitiable outcome of the effort to establish a Geological Survey of Colorado.” In a lengthy and well-written editorial, criticism is made of the proposed advisory board, particularly of the placing thereon of the presidents of the State University and the State Agricultural College; also, having the survey located at Boulder instead of Denver; of the naming as state geologist, the professor of geology of the State University, who may be a good teacher, but who, like the majority, may or may not be an effective executive; and lastly, of the paltry appropriation of $5,000 annually for this important work in a state productive of $50,000,000 and more yearly.

Exception is also taken to the naming of state institution teachers as assistants to the State Geologist, who ought to have the assistance of men less academic and having a knowledge of the exploitation of ore deposits and of the search for them.

This editorial expression, coming from a former Coloradoan, is worthy of consideration. It is in accord, in large part, with our own views, as our readers know. In addition to the criticisms made by our contemporary, we would like to emphasize another objectionable feature in this favorably reported bill, viz., the naming of any one as state geologist who is not to devote his entire time to the survey work. — from the Mining Reporter, vol. LV, March 28, 1907, no. 13, Denver, Colorado.

We’re happy to say that our current efforts to provide professional geologic information to the residents of Colorado far exceed the original scope of responsibilities and possibilities of the Territorial Geologist. But like those old-time miners, walking the mountains of this beautiful state, we also share a real passion for what we are doing.

You can find an in-depth history of the Survey and its 1872-legislated precursor, the office of Territorial Geologist, in IS-27 History of The Colorado Geological Survey (1872-1988), a free PDF download at our bookstore.


Citation: Rold, J. W., and S. D. Schwochow. IS-27 History of The Colorado Geological Survey (1872-1988). Information Series, IS-27. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, 1989.