Kansas State University


Department of Geology

Grants and Awards

High-Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy in Mudrock-Dominated Successions: The Chattanooga/Woodford Shale

Dr. Karin Goldberg has received a grant from the American Chemical Society (Petroleum Research Fund) to study the environmental conditions on accumulation of organic matter in mudstones, using the Woodford/Chattanooga Shale in Kansas as a natural laboratory. Such rocks have long been recognized as potential sources for hydrocarbons but only more recently become directly exploitable as actual petroleum reservoirs, leading to renewed interest in the controls on their hydrocarbon potential. The purpose of this research is to better understand the nature of the depositional environments and paleogeographic settings that are most conducive for accumulation of high concentrations of organic matter in mudstones, thus providing a predictive tool for the spatial and temporal distribution of these rocks types. If we understand how the environment controls composition and texture of sediments, we can predict where to look for source rocks, as well as where in these rocks it is easier to fracture in order to extract petroleum.

Tracking water movement in plant stems

Dr. Behzad Ghanbarian from Geology department and his collaborators from Agronomy and Electrical Engineering Departments have received $300,000 from the National Science Foundation for a two-year project to build a tool for measuring sap flow – or the movement of a liquid through plant stems. “The core idea behind this project is that water matters, no matter if you live in Kansas, Texas, New York or anywhere else,” said Behzad Ghanbarian. “Given that the world’s population is getting bigger everywhere, we need to practice in a way that we make sure we will have water in the following decades for our kids and grandkids.” The K-State team hopes to find out how much water moves through plant stems during various growth stages. This uncovers a better picture of how much water requires to be provided through irrigation. What makes this project unique is that the proposed tool based on concepts from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is non-invasive and never touches the plant. It would be capable of measuring sap flow in the plant the entire day.

Geoscience Career Ambassador Training (GeoCAT) Workshop

Dr. Aida Farough, has received a National Science Foundation grant for her project, the GeoCAT workshop, which aims to increase participation of underrepresented populations in geosciences.

One of the main hurdles to geoscience student recruitment is lack of awareness of geoscience career options. To increase awareness of geoscience career opportunities among educators and students, Farough and her co-PIs Pamela Kempton, and Jackie Spears, propose to increase participation in geosciences by hosting the GeoCAT Workshop for educators from minority-serving high schools and community colleges in Kansas as well as Kansas 4-H Youth Development educators and volunteers.

The emphasis on recruiting and supporting underrepresented students is important to building a strong geoscience workforce in the future, particularly in Kansas, with industries that depend heavily on the existence and effective management of water, energy and other natural resources. The long-term economic health of Kansas depends on strengthening the knowledge of STEM careers and successfully integrating minority students into the STEM workforce.

To learn more about the GeoCAT project, visit www.ksu.edu/geocat or follow on Twitter @geoCAT_nsf. Any questions can be emailed togeocat@ksu.edu.

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