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Making a map underneath Whitley Co.

August 25, 2010

Mike Prentice, right, and Matt Curren of the Indiana Geological Survey saw a PVC pipe Tuesday, which will be used to store a core sample of the earth beneath Whitley County. Post & Mail photo/Chris Meyers

   What’s underneath the ground in Whitley County?
   The Indiana Geological Survey is working on finding out just what makes up the depths of the county by taking several core samples of the area.
   On Tuesday, the crew was at M.C. Wheeler and Sons Inc., in northwest Whitley County, where the deepest cores yet, about 200 feet, were taken.
   Five samples 200 feet deep will be taken from the northwest area of the county.
   A drill team from the Illinois Geological Survey is also a part of the operation.
   A few months ago, the IGS team worked along the eastern boundary of the county and took core samples about 30 feet deep.
   Mike Prentice, glacial geologist with the Indiana Geological Survey who works in the environmental geology section, said the core samples will hopefully result in a 3-D map of everything from the surface to the  bedrock.
   A cross-section, in addition to the map, will also be made.
   Once all the data is compiled during the three-year project, a broad scale map of the aquifers in the county can be made, in addition to detailed information about the soil and sediment types.
   “It can be far, far more advanced than what has been available so far on aquifer zones and how they relate,” Prentice said.
   Data from the results will be made available to the county’s geographic information system website, and more details from the report will be at the geological survey office in Bloomington.
   Indiana University students will also work with the samples for class work.
   The information not only offers insight into the composition of sediments in the area, but also tells the tale of past glaciers and how they affected the landscape.

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