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Next Meeting

Please join us for the Michigan Basin Geological Society’s membership meetings for the 2023-2024 

MBGS Membership Meeting: Rescheduled Wednesday, January 17th, 2024, 7PM

Dinner Meeting-MGRRE, Kalamazoo, Michigan 

Speaker: Dr. Robb Gillespie, Senior Research Associate with the Western Michigan University Geological and
Environmental Sciences Department

Topic: Interactions of the Saginaw and Lake Michigan Glacial Lobes - The Kalamazoo County
Mapping Project

A picnic meal (brats with the fixings and side salads) will be available free for attendees.  Come early for a social hour at 5:00 PM. Dinner will be available at 6:00 PM and the presentation will start at 7:00PM.


When: January 10th, 2024, Social hour - 5:00 PM , dinner – 6:00 PM, presentation - 7:00PM. 

Reservations are requested. Please RSVP to Jennifer Trout at

Where: Western Michigan University in the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education Building, 5272 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49009


Tunnel valleys have played a significant role in the development of the Kalamazoo County, Michigan glacial landscape. Northeast-southwest trending tunnel valleys associated with the Saginaw Lobe cut across Kalamazoo County, as well as less developed, northwest-southeast trending tunnel valleys associated with the Lake Michigan Lobe. These two tunnel valley systems influenced the direction of subsequent ice movements and dictated development of associated depositional patterns and post-glacial fluvial networks.


Northeast-southwest trending drumlins are observed in the southeast portion of the county. They were formed by Saginaw ice that originally extended farther southwest than currently observed. Computer-generated topographic flooding-surfaces indicate that mass movements associated with the remaining drumlins all occur at approximately the same water level. Thereby, a closely linked origin for all these mass failures is suggested.


Glacial channels, kettle lakes, and pitted/hummocky terrain features are observed in north-east Kalamazoo County. They formed as Saginaw ice retreated to the northeast, creating the large outwash fan that now buries: (1) the north central portion of the county, and (2) two major northeast-southwest trending Saginaw Lobe tunnel valleys. Landforms covering central and western Kalamazoo County are the result of Lake Michigan ice forming the Kalamazoo moraine and its eastward-extending outwash apron.


Andrew Kozlowski, proposed that the early Kalamazoo River cut through the Kalamazoo Moraine by flowing to the east, not to the west, as it currently flows. This temporary eastward flow was interpreted to be the result of catastrophic drainage of a proglacial lake to the west. This was followed by a second high-volume flooding event; this time from the northeast (Barry and Eaton Counties). Much of south-central Kalamazoo County, originally deposited as part of the Saginaw Lobe drumlin field, and the overlying Lake Michigan Lobe-Kalamazoo moraine outwash fan from the west, has been highly reworked, or even removed, as a result of these catastrophic events. These insightful interpretations of Kozlowski, Kehew, and others is supported by this recent, LiDAR-enhanced,
mapping project.


Dr. Robb Gillespie is currently a Senior Research Associate with the Western Michigan University Geological and Environmental Sciences Department. He has retired from teaching with the Department but is now “head wrangler” for the department’s Dino-Park. He is also associated with the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education (MGRRE) and the Michigan Geological Survey (MGS). Currently, he is completing the latest edition of the Kalamazoo County Surficial Map. Dr. Gillespie also has over 24 years of experience in the oil
and gas industry having worked for ARCO Oil and Gas in their domestic, international, and research groups, and for COHO Resources redeveloping old oil fields. He has operated his own oil and gas consulting business since 1992, and co-founded Tres Rios Resources, Inc. (TRR), a small oil and gas company in 1993. Dr. Gillespie’s geological specialties range from glacial mapping and interpretation to subsurface reservoir delineation, characterization and
modeling based on detailed stratigraphic analysis.

Go to Presentations page for recent MBGS presentations as PDF file

Below are links to recordings of the past (3) MBGS meetings

A 3-D Bedrock Geologic and Hydrostratigraphic Model of Southern Ontario

Date: April 13th, 2022

Meeting Recording:

Below are the 2 original presentations that Terry presented:


A Revised 3-D Geologic Model of the Bedrock of Southern Ontario and Progress on Development of a 3-D Hydrostratigraphic Model

A 3-D Bedrock Hydrostratigraphic Model of Southern Ontario

Articles referenced in the presentation:

A Hydrostratigraphic Framework for the Paleozoic Bedrock of Southern Ontario

A Three-Dimensional Geological Model of the Paleozoic Bedrock of Southern Ontario,  Groundwater Resources Study 19 Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8618

Lake Michigan Shorelines, Catastrophic Failure or Stable, That is the Question, Date: Jan 12, 2022
Meeting Recording:

Grand Canyon MBGS Field Excursions, Date: Feb 9, 2022 
Meeting Recording:


Madeleline Tan, Undergrad Student, University of Michigan, Advisor: Jeroen Ritsema Title: Seismic Receiver function analysis of the Michigan Basin

The Michigan basin is an intracratonic basin approximately 400 km wide (Howell and Van der Pluijm, 1999). It is nearly circular, reaching the largest depth to the cratonic basin sequence in present day Saginaw Bay region. Previous receiver function analysis indicates Moho depth beneath the Michigan basin reaches 53 km, thinning out beneath its flanks (Moidaki et al., 2013; Shen et al., 2013). Stein et al., 2015 posit the Moho depth is on average 45 km beneath the Michigan basin, owing to the combined result of crustal thinning, post-rift volcanism, sediment loading, and basin inversion (Watts et al., 2018). My project focuses on new seismological constraints of the crustal structure beneath Michigan and the broader Great Lakes region using P-to-s receiver functions calculated from the recordings of distant (> 4,000 km) earthquakes at seismometers in Michigan. We will use USGS seismometers in the central US and U-M seismometers near Lake Erie (courtesy of Professor Yihe Huang) to measure variations of the thickness of the crust and sediments within and outside the Michigan Basin. New seismic analyses of the structure of the crust beneath Michigan and surrounding states will help place the Michigan Basin in a broader tectonic context and to constrain dynamic scenarios of its origin. 

Mathew Bell, Graduate Student, Western Michigan University, Advisor: Dr. Peter Voice Title: Dam Failure – Hydrogeologic Consequences and Effects on the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers and the groundwater systems in Southern Gladwin County, Michigan

In May 2020, a reservoir dam at the intersection of the Tittabawassee and the Tobacco Rivers collapsed resulting in a cascade of hydrogeologic and hydrologic changes in southern Gladwin County, Michigan. Along the two rivers, replacement water wells drilled since the event have shown that the water table has dropped up to 6 meters. Recent LiDAR imagery shows the water surface along the two rivers and the reservoir lake also exhibit a 6-meter drop compared to records prior to the event. A combination of water well records (Wellogic Database and more recent drillers reports) and integrating validated oil and gas well records were used to construct sections and maps of the bedrock and glacial surface and water table elevations (prior to- and post-event), for bedrock, and glacial geologic units. In order to better define the county bedrock surface, Horizontal-to-Vertical Spectral Ratio (HVSR) passive seismic data was collected across the county study area to develop a regional contact. Well records and HVSR data better defines the bedrock surface in this region and will allow a better understanding of hydrogeologic connections between the glacial sediment cover and the underlying Paleozoic bedrock. Using calibrated passive seismic measurements, the bedrock surface is analyzed to determine the complexity of the bedrock surface and interaction with the glacial drift, which can determine if there are
separate glacial and bedrock aquifer systems. The bedrock surface mapping and cross sections can provide a context for how the groundwater from the glacial material interacts with the bedrock material below.
Geology in the News

New Survey Publication – An Updated Bibliography of Michigan Geology

John Yellich and Peter Voice, Western Michigan University Department of Geological Sciences and Michigan Geological Survey

The Michigan Geological Survey is proud to announce a new publication: Michigan Geology: A Bibliography, the second volume in the Michigan Geological Survey Data Compilation Series. This updated compilation lists over 7,700 references from all known Michigan sources, including industry, professional associations and universities and includes publications from 1818 to present. This report documents 200 years of Geological Research in Michigan. The Bibliography is sorted into four general categories – Precambrian, Basin, Quaternary, and Other.
This updated version of the bibliography also includes a short section on Michigan Stratigraphic Nomenclature, as well as brief discussion of historical trends in publication frequency in Michigan.

The report is free to download at the Michigan Geological Survey’s webpage:


Douglass Houghton, Michigan’s first State Geologist, was honored on September 10, 2016 by
the placement of a State of Michigan Historical Marker commemorating his accomplishments. The
effort was led by Arlene Anderson‐Vincent, members of the Michigan Basin Geological Society,
Keweenaw County Historical Society and faculty at Western Michigan University and Michigan
Technological University. The dedication was incorporated into a MBGS field excursion led by
Professor Ted Bornhorst of Michigan Technological University and Lawrence Molloy, President of the Keweenaw County Historical Society. The two led a field excursion that covered the geology and history of sites from Houghton to Copper Harbor and wove a tale of the rise and fall of mining in the copper range. The field excursion included the dedication of the marker, which is located in Eagle River, Michigan at the Keweenaw County Historical Museum. The dedication had many speakers and a special appearance from Kyle Bagnall, who portrayed Bela Hubbard who told the story of Douglass Houghton’s 1840 expedition along Lake Superior. Douglass Houghton died in 1845 when the boat carrying himself and his crew capsized during a storm on Lake Superior near Eagle River.


  Michigan Basin Geological Society

The Michigan Basin Geological Society (MBGS) was founded in 1936 as an affiliated non-profit organization of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas relating to the field of petroleum geology through field excursions and meetings.

Throughout the years, the role of the society has changed, and both meetings and field excursions now address a wide range of topics pertaining to the study of geology of Michigan and the great lakes area, and is open to anyone interested in geology.

MBGS has monthly meetings typically on the second Wednesday of each month from September through May. These meeting consist of a lecture on a wide variety of Michigan geology related topics. The meetings are open to all. The Executive Committee Officers meet prior to the meeting to discuss Society issues and is open to anyone interested in attending. The society has 1-3 geological field trips per year.

MBGS members are geologists, work in a geology related field, or are a geology student or hobbyist. The Society is dedicated to the advancement of the science of geology and related fields, disseminating knowledge of geology or related fields for the benefit of its members, and promoting the education of geology in Michigan. Annual dues are $35 per person and $10 per student.

Upcoming Events

March, 2024, MBGS March Meeting: MBGS will hold a March meeting at Grand Valley State University. Information will be sent out to members soon.

March 15-17, 2024 Michigan Gem and Mineral Society Show, Jackson

May 16-17th Institute on lake Superior Geology, Houghton

June 11-12, 202  Environmental Risk Management Workshop
Data Driven Decision, RAM Center, Roscommon, Mi., AIPG 

October, 2024: Earth Science Week 2024, The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) (

EGLE Calendar of Training and Workshops,9429,7-135-3308_3333---,00.html

Michigan State University, College of Natural Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Science,

Michigan Tech – Geoseminars ‐

University of Michigan Earth and Environmental Science

Western Michigan University, Geological and Environmental Sciences

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