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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, June 16, 2014

Kansas Geological Survey Honors Outstanding Students

LAWRENCE--Five University of Kansas students received outstanding achievement awards in early May from the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS), based on KU's West Campus.

Charity Lander, a PhD student in geology from Barberton, Ohio, received the Jack Dangermond/Esri Geospatial Technologies Student Award. A member of the KGS Cartographic Services unit, Lander helped create new geologic databases to complement the KGS county geologic maps produced using geographic information system (GIS) data. A GIS is a combination of computer hardware, software, and data used to collect, interpret, manage, and display all types of geographically referenced information. Lander also converted geologists' hand-drawn data points collected in the field into GIS linework for finished maps, assisted with map layout, and interpreted geologic and well data to create cross-sections illustrating subsurface geology in the mapped counties. In 2013 she was selected for a summer internship with ExxonMobil's Upstream Research Company. The Dangermond award was established by Jack Dangermond, president of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (Esri), to recognize student accomplishments in the application of geospatial technologies.

Jordan Nolan, a master's student in geophysics from Hardin, Texas, received the Lee C. and Darcy Gerhard Field Research Student Award. A member of the KGS Exploration Services section, Nolan is part of a team that developed a unique methodology to acquire seismic data and determine the direction and relative magnitude of a seismic energy source. With more than 400 sensors, he monitored the seismic energy generated by trains converging from three directions at a solution-well field near Hutchinson. The project's success led to a long-term monitoring program funded by the solution-well field owners and endorsed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Nolan also participated in fieldwork in Arizona and California. State of California regulators chose the KGS seismic research team based on the team's expertise in shallow seismic applications. The Gerhard award is named for the KGS's director from 1987 to 1999 and his wife.

Brant Konetchy, a master's student in geology from Cedar Park, Texas, received the Frank C. Foley Groundwater Student Travel Award. A member of the KGS Geohydrology section, Konetchy constructed a large sandbox to simulate groundwater conditions and test a new groundwater velocity tool developed at the KGS. By running successful groundwater-flow experiments in the box and measuring a variety of data, he helped substantiate the function and benefits of the tool so that it could be used more effectively in the field. The Foley award, named after the KGS's director from 1954 to 1970, provided funding for Konetchy to attend the National Ground Water Association Summit in Denver, where he gave a presentation about the project's results in May. Part of the award will also support his travel to a future Midwest Groundwater Conference and other professional meetings.

Brett Judy, a master's student in geology from South Jordan, Utah, received the William W. Hambleton Student Research Award. A member of the KGS Exploration Services section, Judy is researching the natural dissolution of the Hutchinson Salt Member in central Kansas by analyzing high-resolution seismic reflection data. The data were collected by generating and recording energy in the form of seismic waves, which reflect from different subsurface rock layers in different ways. Through his work, Judy has located previously unidentified features associated with the salt layer and provided insight that could be used to develop strategies to mitigate risks associated with salt dissolution. Judy presented a portion of his research findings at the 2013 meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and his paper is being published in the meeting proceedings. He has submitted a paper for the 2014 SEG meeting and co-authored several technical reports. The Hambleton award is named for the KGS's director from 1970 to 1986 and is given for excellence in research as demonstrated by outstanding writing or oral presentation.

Jessica Haberstock, a May graduate in architectural engineering from Chesterfield, Missouri, received the Norman Plummer Outstanding Student Award. A clerical/data entry assistant in the KGS Data Resources Library, Haberstock primarily archived state water well records, scanned and entered data to make it available to the public, and provided quality control. She assisted the public and KGS staff members with research and also helped maintain the oil and gas well database. Haberstock is an active volunteer for numerous organizations and served as president of KU's Engineers Without Borders. Norman Plummer was a KGS staff member from 1936 to 1969.

The Kansas Geological Survey studies and provides information on the state's geologic resources and hazards, particularly ground water, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. It employs approximately 35 students. The recipients were presented cash awards and certificates.

Story by Cathy Evans, (785) 864-2195.
For more information, contact Annette Delaney, (785) 864-2152

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach