KGS Home General Info Index Page News Releases

News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, April 26, 1996

Geologists Receive NSF Grant

LAWRENCE--Researchers from the Kansas Geological Survey and the University of Kansas have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the factors that influence the ways rocks are deposited in shallow seas.

Geologists Evan Franseen, at the Kansas Geological Survey and Robert Goldstein at the KU geology department are recipients of the $137,000 grant.

"By developing a better understanding of how certain rock layers are deposited, we hope to develop models that will ultimately aid in the production of oil and gas," said Franseen.

The geologists are focusing on rocks composed of limestone or dolomite, collectively known as carbonates. Carbonate rocks are the reservoirs for much of the oil and natural gas production in Kansas. Researchers are interested in the factors that determine how these rocks are deposited in shallow seas.

"Deposition of these rocks is influenced by many factors--the slope of the sea floor, wind and waves, climate, movements of the earth's crustal plates, global sea-level fluctuations," said Franseen. "Once we understand the importance of each of these variables, we will have a better understanding of the geologic record."

The researchers plan to focus their field work in the area around the Mediterranean Sea on rocks deposited during the Miocene Period of geologic history, which began about 20 million years ago and ended about 5 million years ago.

"Miocene rocks in the Mediterranean area are some of the most exceptional exposures of carbonates in the world," said Franseen. "The area is a natural outdoor laboratory ideally suited to the study of these types of rocks. By understanding the different factors that control the deposition of these rocks, we should be able to better isolate the factors that influenced deposition of carbonate rocks in other places. This gives us valuable information about the importance different factors, such as ancient climates and variations in sea-level positions, had in forming carbonate rocks."

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-3965

Kansas Geological Survey, Publications and Public Affairs