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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:  March 21th, 2024, 7PM

Dinner Meeting-Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Speaker: Dr. Patrick M. Colgan, Geology Professor at Grand Valley State University

Topic: Working towards a stratigraphic lexicon for the glacial and Quaternary units of Michigan

GVSU will provide a catered meal consisting of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs (vegetarian options available), potato salad, coleslaw, potato chips and dessert. Cost for $20 MBGS members, $10 for students.  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:       March 21st, 2024

                Social hour - 5:00 PM

                Dinner – 6:00 PM

                Presentation - 7:00 PM

Reservations are requested. Please RSVP to Jennifer Trout at


Grand Valley State University

L. William Seidman Center, Forum A
50 Front Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


The rock units of Michigan have been formally named and described in the Stratigraphic Lexicon of Michigan (Catacosinos et al. 2001).  On the other hand, the glacial and Quaternary sediments of Michigan do not have a formal stratigraphic lexicon and formally named stratigraphic units.  They are commonly designated as “glacial drift”, a useless relict and non-descriptive term.  That said, glacial geologists and geomorphologists have developed an informal stratigraphic nomenclature of glacial and Quaternary units in Michigan (e.g. Larson 2011; Colgan 2015).  In this talk, I will focus on the sedimentology and stratigraphy of glacial units in Lower Michigan and try to make the case that we do have information on the subsurface stratigraphy of Quaternary units and should work towards building a Stratigraphic Lexicon of Quaternary Sediment in Michigan as has been produced in other states like Wisconsin (e.g Syverson et al. 2011).  The benefits of such a lexicon are in applied groundwater and environmental geology, and in finding patterns in what can commonly seem random at the site-specific scale.  Finally, a lexicon of glacial and Quaternary units could lead to improved prediction of aquifer and aquitard continuity/discontinuity and of unit properties and likely facies changes.


Dr. Patrick (Pat) M. Colgan is Professor of Geology at Grand Valley State University. Professor Colgan earned a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996, and a M.S. in Geology from the University of Kansas in 1992. Before coming to GVSU in 2003 he was an Assistant Professor of Geology at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Colgan was born in Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. His ancestors were Irish, English, and German immigrants, most of whom came to America in the 1840s and 1850s to escape poverty and war.


Professor Colgan is a geoscientist who studies glaciers, dunes, sediments and landforms, and their relationship to past and present climate change as well as applications such as groundwater and engineering geology. He teaches courses in introductory geology, Earth history, Earth surface systems, geomorphology, Quaternary history and glacial geology, geophysics, and engineering geology. His publications include geologic research in the Central Lowlands, Great Lakes, and New England regions of the U.S., and Iceland, Alaska, and the Tibetan Plateau of China. He is recently consulting to the Michigan Geological Survey in publishing the Surficial Geologic maps of Allegan, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties.


Prof. Colgan lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan along the banks of the Grand River. He is married to Kelly Heid and they share their life with a terrier mix named Sammy. He and Kelly both enjoy traveling, hiking, rafting/kayaking, reading, and exploring Earth together. Hobbies include history, classical numismatics, and enjoying music of all styles and genres.

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 21, 2024, MBGS March Meeting: MBGS will hold a March meeting at Grand Valley State University.

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

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

June 11-12, 2024  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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