Next Meeting

Please join us for the Michigan Basin Geological Society’s membership meetings for the 2022-2023 

MBGS - MBGS Family Dinner Meeting Thursday December 15th, 6:00 PM

Location: Coral Gables in East Lansing  2838 Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Speaker: Dr. Michael Velbel, Michigan State University

Topic: Recent Meteorites Recoveries in Michigan

Please bring your family and join us for our December Dinner Meeting! Dr. Mike Velbel will be speaking about meteorites and we’ll have raffle prizes! Cocktails begin at 5:30 PM, dinner at 6:00 and presentation at 7:00. RSVP to Jen Trout at by December 12th.

$40 per person, cash bar


Returned samples of solar-system materials are of the highest scientific value because they are known to come from bodies for which other kinds of information are available to complement studies of the samples in terrestrial laboratories. However, only a few solar-system bodies other than Earth have been sampled by human or robotic missions. Lunar rocks returned by Apollo and Luna missions, comet dust returned from comet 81P/Wild 2 by NASA’s Stardust mission, and mineral grains from the regoliths of asteroids 25143 Itokawa, and 162173 Ryugu, returned by the Hayabusa and Hayabusa2 missions, respectively, sample only a few specific solar-system bodies – the Moon, one comet, and two primitive (undifferentiated) asteroids. Future samples to be brought to Earth by spacecraft returning from more and more diverse solar system bodies – for example, OSIRIS-REx returning from asteroid 101955 Bennu in September 2023 – will add more to solar system science, but for many varieties of solar system bodies, meteorites will remain the best available samples for some time to come.


Meteorites are naturally delivered samples that are our only direct samples from a large a variety of parent bodies throughout the solar system. In their chemical compositions, minerals, and textures they preserve direct evidence of the processes by which our solar system’s planets and small bodies originated, were modified, and evolved to their present state. The natural delivery process of meteorites involves ejection of a meteoroid from its parent body, interplanetary transit, dramatic passage through Earth’s atmosphere, and usually somewhat less dramatic arrival at Earth’s surface as a meteorite. Freshly fallen meteorites, recovered promptly after their witnessed fall, are referred to as ‘falls.’ Most meteorites available for scientific study are referred to as ‘finds,’ recovered after unwitnessed arrival and some exposure to the terrestrial surface environment, often over millennial or longer timescales.

At the broadest level of compositional classification, meteorites include objects that consist mainly of metal (irons), predominantly of silicate minerals (stones or stony meteorites), and subequal abundances of metal and silicates (stony irons). Michigan’s meteorites are typical of meteorites recovered around the world. Irons are the most easily recognized among finds; all Michigan finds are irons. Stony meteorites are best recognized when their fall is witnessed; all Michigan stony meteorites are falls. All documented Michigan stony meteorites are ordinary chondrites, the most common variety among falls. Studies of Michigan’s ordinary chondrites have contributed to scientific understanding of the formation  of chondrules and the pre-atmospheric sizes of meteoroids. Future falls may provide more opportunities for Michigan’s meteorites to contribute to advancing solar system science.


MICHAEL ANTHONY VELBEL (Ph.D., Yale University, 1984) is Professor of Geological Sciences at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI and Research Associate, Division of Meteorites, Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. He studies regolith geoscience, and the rates and mechanisms of mineral-water interactions during rock and mineral weathering in natural systems. His research investigates the geological, mineralogical, geochemical, and geomorphic factors that control mineral alterations at the Earth's surface and the migration of chemical elements through the landscape, emphasizing small watershed geochemistry. More recent related areas of research include terrestrial weathering of Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites; rock-, mineral-, and chemical-weathering on Mars and in Martian meteorites; enhancing understanding of Mars surface mission imagery (esp. Phoenix, Curiosity, and Perseverance) and compositional data through microscopic and mineralogical studies of terrestrial weathered-rock analogs and regolith (soil) simulants; recognition of pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration on other meteorite (mainly primitive) parent bodies from mineralogical investigations of meteorites (especially C2 carbonaceous chondrites); and preservation of sample science integrity for past (e.g., Stardust,Hayabusa), ongoing (Hayabusa2, OSIRIS-REx), and future samplereturn missions (e.g., Mars Sample Return Campaign). In addition to MSU, Prof. Velbel has held visiting appointments at the University of Cincinnati (1990-1991), the Faculté des Sciences-St Jérôme of the Université Paul Cézanne (Université d'Aix-Marseilles III) (1992), the Australian National University and the (Australian) Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Evolution and Mineral Exploration (CRC-LEME) (1998). He held NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowships at the NASA Johnson Space Center (1987, 1999). He was a Smithsonian Senior Fellow (2012-2013) and a Research Associate (2013-2022) at the Division of Meteorites, Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. He was President of The Clay Minerals Society (2013-2014) and (Acting) Editor in Chief of its journal, Clays and Clay Minerals (July 2014 to January 2016). He was a member of the Michigan Space Grant Consortium Executive Board (2011-2020). He was selected for the year-long (mid-2020 to mid-2021) joint NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return (MSR) Science Planning Group phase 2 (MSPG2) that established the scientific basis for planning of the receiving, curation, and management of the samples after their arrival at Earth in the early 2030s, and the MSR Temperature-Time Tiger Team (T4) Jan-Feb 2022. He is one of 16 Selected Scientists for the four (4)-year-long (mid-2022 to mid-2026) joint NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return (MSR) Campaign Science Group phase (MCSG). The 16 researchers function as a science resource for the campaign’s project teams as well as for related Earth-based ground projects, such as sample recovery and curation. “These 16 individuals will be the standard-bearers for Mars Sample Return science,” said Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program lead scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “They will build the roadmap by which science for this historic endeavor is accomplished – including establishing the processes for sample-related decision-making and designing the procedures that will allow the worldwide scientific community to become involved with these first samples from another world.”

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

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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

November 9, 2022: MBGS Meeting 

November 5, 2022, MBGS Field Excursion, Sand and Sandstone Revisited: Lithostratigraphy of Carboniferous Sandstones in the Jackson Coal Province, Central Jackson County, Michigan, USA

November 9, 2022: Air and Waste Management Association, 2022 Fall Joint Environmental Conference, Lansing, Michigan, Events — Air & Waste Management Association + West Michigan Chapter (

December 5-7, 2022: Great Lakes PFAS Summit, virtual, 2022 Great Lakes PFAS Summit (

December 8, 2022: Michigan Section AIPG Annual Meeting, Ann Arbor, AIPG Michigan Section 2022 Annual Meeting

December 14, 2022: MBGS Meeting 

December 20, 2022: MBGS Scholarship Applications Due. Mail applications to John Yellich (
and title email “RE: MBGS Scholarship Application. Applications are available on the website at

January 11, 2023: MBGS Meeting 

February 8, 2023: MBGS Meeting 

March 8, 2023: MBGS Meeting 

April 12, 2023: MBGS Meeting 

May 4-5th, 2023, GSA 2023 North-Central Section 57th Annual Meeting  Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA,

May 10, 2022: MBGS Meeting- tentative

May 19-21, 2023, 58th Midwest Friends of the Pleistocene field conference :The Glacial and Geomorphic Evolution of the Houghton Lake Basin Roscommon, Mi.

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