Next Meeting

Please join us for the first Michigan Basin Geological Society’s membership meeting for the 2020-2021 year.

MBGS Virtual Membership Meeting, Wednesday January 12th, 7:00 PM, 2022

SPEAKER: John Yellich, CPG, Director of the Michigan Geologic Survey

TOPIC: Lake Michigan Shorelines, Catastrophic Failure or Stable, That is the Question

LOCATION: his will be a virtual Zoom meeting. Please RSVP to Jennifer Trout at:

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Meeting ID: 826 8255 7674 Passcode: YQ4ZtD
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Michigan is blessed with over 3,288 miles of lake shoreline, this is "more than any other state except
Alaska. Much of the shorelines are reflecting natural changes with time, however, over the last 50 plus years, shorelines have been changing and societal actions and in appropriate action has been the culprit in many cases. Climate change is noted and is material to recent changes, but short and long term anthropogenic actions along the shorelines have resulted in minimal to catastrophic impacts. Shorelines represent some of the highest value per lineal frontage foot in Michigan as well as other Great Lake states. Western Michigan University, Geology Department, was contracted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1996 until 2008 to assess a bluff area, Miami Park-North of South Haven, and many of those research results indicated the causes for failure and proposed remedies during high and low water levels. Recent historical high lake levels have resulted in major impacts, however, anthropogenic actions have been a major contributor to the catastrophic impacts. Many of the bluff
and shore impacts are the result of past and present poor engineering and stormwater practices, bottom and top of bluff, resulting in anthropogenic affects, which will be summarized in this presentation. Michigan Geological Survey (MGS) began in 2017 to re-assess the bluff areas, prior to the major lake level changes. Thishas been incrementally supported by USGS research funding, WMU Remote Sensing Lab Students and is now being documented with UAV surveys of three Lake Michigan areas, St. Joseph, MI, Miami Park – South Haven and Pentwater/Ludington with time sequential photos.


John A. Yellich was appointed the Director of the Michigan Geological Survey (MGS) effective
October 2, 2013. Mr. John A. Yellich obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees in geology from Western Michigan University and for over 30 years, has been a Certified Professional Geologist (American Institute Professional Geologists) and member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) for 25 + years. Mr. Yellich brings more than 50 years of geologic experience in mineral exploration, mineral development, environmental consulting and groundwater cleanups, business operations, stormwater, land development and
OSHA safety compliance to MGS. He has worked in more than 30 States and has also

conducted mineral assessments in Canada, Australia and China.

Mr. Yellich is currently coordinating and conducting geologic research and surficial geologic mapping in priority areas of Michigan utilizing available Federal matching funds as the primary resource. MGS is developing geologic programs and research to support the identification and protection of Michigan’s natural resources, including water resources to justify annual funding for the MGS. These multiple programs utilize basic and new data and techniques to expedite and present unbiased validated geologic data collected by MGS and presented in useable
formats for all to use.


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

January 12, 2022: Michigan Basin Geological Society Membership Meeting: MBGS Monthly Membership meeting (virtual)

February 9, 2022: Michigan Basin Geological Society Membership Meeting: MBGS Monthly Membership meeting (virtual)

March 9, 2022: Michigan Basin Geological Society Membership Meeting: MBGS Monthly Membership meeting (virtual)

April 13, 2022: Michigan Basin Geological Society Membership Meeting: MBGS Monthly Membership meeting (virtual)

May 11, 2022: Michigan Basin Geological Society Membership Meeting: MBGS Monthly Membership meeting (virtual)

June 21-22, 2022: Environmental Risk Management Workshop at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, Roscommon, Michigan.

August 6-9, 2022: 58th Annual AIPG Meeting to be held in Marquette, Michigan.

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