Page 2–The GeoRecord Vol 3.2
Spring 1997
From the Director

by Lee C. Gerhard,

Director and State Geologist


The Kansas Geological Survey is the steward of Kansas's resources

Retired State Senator Franklin Gaines once told me that the Kansas Geological Survey is “the steward of Kansas’s natural resources.” In this scenario, a vision for future research is crucial. Periodically, the Survey reviews its programs and identifies the need for research projects in Kansas. Health and safety receive highest priority, but the economic health of Kansas ranks close behind. In our most recent evaluation of research needs, two projects arose that we strongly believe must be addressed.

The first is an overall study of the Hugoton natural gas area in southwestern Kansas. The area produced 639 billion cubic feet of gas and 10 million barrels of oil in 1995, worth $1.3 billion. This generated about $80 million in severance taxes, and probably about twice that in income taxes, ad valorem taxes, sales taxes, and other economic multipliers. Most of the area’s irrigation is fueled by natural gas.

So what’s the problem? Field pressures are dropping, from 425 pounds per square inch (psi) at discovery in 1928 to under 100 psi today. Simple extrapolation of the pressure curve suggests that the field’s natural production will be depleted by about 2008. The Survey has proposed an integrated study that could provide the information to develop the field’s resources, extending its productive life and revenues.

A second issue is water-quality degradation around livestock confinement areas in western Kansas. The Survey has baseline information from a study of irrigation water quality in the 1970’s. Re-testing large numbers of irrigation wells could help determine whether water quality is being adversely affected by present land uses.

Having identified those needs, the Survey is seeking the funding to carry out the research. As stewards of the state’s natural resources, we believe that is our role and our responsibility.

Harrison Joins Survey Staff

William E. Harrison will join the Survey as deputy director beginning in July 1997. Previously the manager of the Geotechnology Department at Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Harrison has also worked with ARCO Exploration and Technology and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. He has a B.S. in geology (Lamar State, 1966), an M.S. in geology (University of Oklahoma, 1968), and a Ph.D. in organic geochemistry and marine science (Louisiana State University, 1976). Harrison will take over for Lawrence Brady, the Survey’s current deputy director, who will return to coal research after six years as deputy director.

New deputy director William E. Harrison

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