Reel to Reel Film Series by Special Collections

by Whitney Harder, Whitney Hale

(March 3, 2014) — "Reel to Real: Special Collections at the Movies," the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library's film series, will continue with "Coal Miner's Daughter," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center. The film series explores celebrated movies through a historically accurate perspective based on primary source materials found in Special Collections. The screening is free and open to the public.

"Coal Miner's Daughter," is based on the life of country singer and Kentucky native Loretta


By Guy Spriggs

For most Americans, levees are man-made engineering projects, rarely mentioned outside of the flooding that follows disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

However, recent research conducted by Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Assistant Professor Derek Sawyer published in the journal “Geology” sheds new light on levees most of us never see – those built naturally by underwater rivers deep below the ocean’s surface.

“On the ocean floor there are rivers gouging their way to deeper parts of the ocean,” Sawyer explained. “As a river moves along the bottom it makes its own channel, and it can run for hundreds of miles.”

These underwater rivers typically form outboard of


by Keith Hautala

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) formally opened the Pioneer Natural Resources Stratigraphy and Paleo-environments Laboratory at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, Feb. 14.

The laboratory is situated on the completely renovated ground floor of the Slone Building. The project was undertaken with $900,000 in support from Pioneer Natural Resources, a large, independent oil and natural gas company based in Irving, Texas. The company provided an initial grant of $600,000 and an additional $300,000 in operating funds.

Additional support for the project came from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, UK Facilities Management, and the Herman Lee and Nell Stuart Donovan

Andrew H. Knoll

by Keith Hautala

(Feb. 10, 2014) — A Harvard professor will deliver a special lecture at the University of Kentucky about the earliest forms of life on Earth.  

"The Deep History of Life: What Kinds of Life Characterized Earth During the Precambrian?" will be presented by Andrew H. Knoll, of the Harvard University Departments of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Earth and Planetary Sciences. Knoll's talk is free and open to the public and will take place starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Memorial Hall. Free parking will be available at Parking Structure No. 2, on Hilltop Avenue. 

The Precambrian period refers to the time when only primitive life forms existed on Earth, before about 545 million years ago.

"Fossils of shells, bones, tracks, and trails record a history of animal evolution more than 600 million years in duration," Knoll

Recording of seismic data from the Central U.S. Seismic Observatory.

by Kieth Hautala, Mike Lynch

(Jan. 31, 2014) — The New Madrid Seismic Zone is in the news again, following the Jan. 23 publication of a paper by the journal Science, titled "The New Madrid Seismic Zone: Not Dead Yet."

The study has been widely reported, drawing attention to the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), a fault system which extends into five states, including the western part of Kentucky. The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) and the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences have studied the NMSZ for decades.

KGS operates a network of seismographs in this zone, including the Central U.S. Seismic Observatory, just a few miles from the town of New Madrid, Mo. UK has been monitoring seismic activity on the NMSZ for more than 30 years. Dozens of small earthquakes are recorded by the Kentucky Seismic and Strong Motion


by Derrick Meads

(Jan. 29, 2014) — The University of Kentucky ranked in the top 10 for Fulbright Scholar Awards received by its faculty in 2013-14.  Many of the applicants were advised by David Adams, the former director of the East Asia/Pacific region for the Fulbright Program, whom the UK International Center (UKIC) brought to campus in 2012. 

To continue this success, UKIC will bring two Fulbright consultants to UK this spring.

On Monday, Feb. 10, Dom Caristi, professor of telecommunications at Ball State University, will lead two workshops and meet privately with interested faculty to select an award and prepare an effective application.  The workshop will take place in Study Room 1 of the Fine Arts Library. The itinerary is:

UK's flowery front gate

by Kathy Johnson

(Dec. 17, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today accepted nearly $6.5 million in gifts and pledges to UK.

The pledges include:

$535,000 from the Davis and Beverly Marksbury Foundation of Nicholasville, Ky., to fund capital projects within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics; and $2 million from Terry Woodward of Owensboro, Ky., to support the Gatton College of Business and Economics Capital Campaign and will be used for the Gatton building expansion now underway.

   Gifts include:

More than $1.7 million from the estate of Judith M. Janssen, formerly of Evanston, Ill., to add to the existing Guy M. Davenport Endowed Professorship in English; $735,000 from the estate of Maywin S. Lauderdale, formerly of Lexington, to create and endow the Robert. A. and Maywin S.
Dr. Khaled A. Shaaban

by Allison Perry

(Nov. 11, 2013) — In their ongoing quest to develop the latest and most effective drugs for disease treatment, researchers in the University of Kentucky's Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation (CPRI) are looking deep — as in, deep underground.

It's all part of a new UK-based bioprospecting initiative, which involves a collaboration between CPRI, the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), and the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS). The idea behind the program is to collect samples from unusual environments throughout the Commonwealth, with the goal of finding new, unique organisms that produce natural products that could potentially be used to develop new drugs with an initial focus on treatments for cancer, infectious disease and inflammation.

Many of our existing effective drugs are made by microbes. For example,


By Guy Spriggs

Since 1948, UK’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) has operated a geology field camp in the Rocky Mountains, giving students the opportunity to apply classroom learning in the real world. This summer, EES offered alumni the chance to return to the Rockies for a special reunion over the Fourth of July weekend.

Participants in the field camp talk about the trip as a life-changing and formative experience, and not surprisingly, alumni were interested and motivated by the prospect of revisiting memories and experiences in Colorado.

“More than anything else, it’s something students can look back on. It’s a thing that can bind different groups,” said EES professor Frank Ettensohn. “Whether they’re from the 1950s or the



video courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2013) — In addition to research presentations, the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will offer numerous volunteer opportunities for the entire campus community when the University of Kentucky hosts the conference April 3-5, 2014. From helping direct traffic, to managing technology, to just helping students find where they need to go, there will be a variety of positions available to students, faculty and staff.

Students will have even more flexibility to get involved, as the University Senate has given permission for faculty to redirect their classes April 3 and 4 so students can attend conference events and presentations. 

"This is a bit unusual; it's a new


by Kathy Johnson & Sarah Geegan

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky is one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in the country.  In a recently released ranking in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UK is ranked sixth among research institutions for its number of professors earning the prestigious Fulbright grants for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Sponsored by the United States Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program, which provides funding for professionals, teachers,


By Victoria Dekle

“The moment I realized I could make a career by playing outside,” Olivia Woodruff exclaimed, “I was hooked.”

Thanks to the growth of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields over the past few years, this dream career is possible for Woodruff and millions of other women across the United States.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is one example of this positive demographic change at the University of Kentucky.

“Earth science,” said Department Chair, David Moecher, “like all other STEM disciplines, was once considered to be defined as an underrepresented field with regard to the proportion of women and minorities


by Mike Lynch

(Sept. 27, 2013) — Homes and other structures that have been built on certain types of shale containing pyrite can suffer severe damages when the shale expands and heaves, according to research conducted at the University of Kentucky.

The problem of pyrite oxidation and shale expansion can be found worldwide, including East-Central Kentucky, where geochemist Warren Anderson of the Kentucky Geological Survey at UK has studied its effects.

A variety of organic and inorganic materials, such as clay, silt, trace metals and iron sulfide minerals, mainly pyrite, are found in the Chattanooga Shale formation across the state. When pyrite is exposed to moisture — during construction, excavation and rain — pyrite and other minerals oxidize and sulfate crystals form, growing to many times their original size. The result can be an acidic

Aman Shah presents at the 2013 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. UK will host the 2014 conference.

video courtesy of UK Public Relations and Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

Planning and hosting a national conference is no easy task, but for the UK community, collaboration makes it all possible. The University of Kentucky will host the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, or NCUR, next semester, which will bring nearly 4,000 additional students from across the country to the UK campus. And as students, faculty and staff can attest -- it is something worth bragging about.

NCUR will take place April 3-5, 2014, all throughout UK's campus. The conference will give undergraduates a unique opportunity to present their research and creative endeavors, while meeting other like-minded students from all across the country. They not only promote their individual work,

Real-time sensor readings from lakes and streams are sent to laboratories at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana and Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky and go into a database management system.

By Alicia Gregory

In 2009, the Virtual Observatory And Ecological Informatics System (VOEIS) project was launched. Funded by an NSF EPSCoR grant, VOEIS united researchers at five universities in Kentucky and two universities in Montana to develop a cyber infrastructure system to monitor, analyze, model, and forecast the consequences of environmental changes in freshwater ecosystems.

Real-time sensor readings from lakes and streams are sent to laboratories at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana and Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky and go into a database management system.

Barbara Kucera, principal

This article originally appeared on the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment   Alan Fryar of UK’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) was recently awarded the prestigious Fulbright Program scholarship by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Through its support of education and research, this program promotes collaboration between the U.S. and other countries to address common priorities and concerns. Scholarship recipients are selected through a merit based competition established on academic achievement and leadership in the area of study. For his project, Fryar will work with Prof. Lahcen Benaabidate (Faculté des Sciences et Techniques – Fès) to study the influence of climate change on spring flows in Morocco’s Middle Atlas
About Dr. Michael McGlue: My research aims to answer questions related to environmental change and energy resources through field and ship-based examinations of the sedimentary rock record. I apply a broad range of techniques (high resolution seismic surveying, sequence stratigraphy, clastic sedimentology, organic/inorganic geochemistry, clay mineralogy, petrography, geochronology, and paleoecology) to better understand depositional processes, stratigraphic architecture, and paleoenvironments in continental rift and retroarc foreland basins.    Active research themes over the next few years will include: (1) Pliocene-Quaternary stratigraphic evolution of the southern Tanganyika rift (East Africa); (2) mudrock provenance and source-to-sink dynamics in continental basins; (3) hydrocarbon source rock kinetics, unconventional resource potential and porosity evolution in
In 1919, Miller prepared "Geology of Kentucky" that was published by the Kentucky Geological Survey. Here he is seen (on left) as a member of a later exploration party at Hines Cave. Photo courtesy of UK Special Collections.

By Whitney Hale

In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 61st of 150 weekly installments remembers the accomplishments of Dean Arthur McQuiston Miller, for whom Miller Hall is named.

Arthur McQuiston Miller was born in the countryside of Eaton, Ohio, on Aug. 6, 1861. One of his pastimes growing up was trilobite hunting in the Niagara limestone quarries in the region and thus began his interest in geology.

Miller attended Eaton public schools and in 1880 matriculated at the University of Wooster, transferring to Princeton University in 1883, and graduating in 1884. For several years Miller served as principal in Eaton High School but returned to Princeton where he earned a master’s degree in 1887, continuing on at the

Several University of Kentucky faculty members have been selected as recipients of prestigious Fulbright program scholarships.

By Sarah Geegan

Several University of Kentucky faculty members have been selected as recipients of prestigious Fulbright program scholarships.

Sponsored by the United States Department of State, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program, which provides funding for professionals, teachers, students and scholars to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Operating in more than 155 countries worldwide, the program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as

The USGS earthquake hazard map shows a high seismic threat level around the New Madrid fault. Researchers from the Kentucky Geological Survey say this threat is highly overstated.

By Keith Hautala, Mike Lynch, Alicia Gregory

Researchers at the Kentucky Geological Survey say maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey overstate the earthquake threat in Western Kentucky and the surrounding region.

KGS researchers at the University of Kentucky have been working for a decade to have the maps changed to reduce the estimated threat level. The USGS uses a probabilistic method to determine the earthquake hazard level, a method KGS researchers say is flawed.

“This method, mathematically, is not correct,” said Zhenming Wang, head of the KGS Geologic Hazards Section. “The national hazard maps are not scientifically sound; that’s why there is a problem.”

KGS Director


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