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Geological Survey

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  • Leaves turn at Volo Bog Nature Preserve in the fall. Photo credit: Bill Batalden

    Groundwater experts help industries and nature preserves thrive

    The ISGS and ISWS began monitoring the intersections between industry and the state-protected nature preserves in 1998, letting science and groundwater testing lead the way. Then-graduate student Randy Locke embarked on what was intended to be a two-year groundwater monitoring project; that project is now in its 24th year and has expanded to 414 dedicated nature preserves across 62,270 acres in Illinois.

  • Drilling for the geothermal exchange system at the U of I campus

    A geothermal exchange system on the U of I campus proves its benefits

    Last year, a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers helped build a geothermal exchange system to heat and cool a new building at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I), saving electrical usage and marking another step in the quest for a carbon-neutral campus. This type of heating and cooling system is also used successfully in homes, businesses, and industry, according to Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) scientist Andrew Stumpf.

  • SkyTEM helicopter

    A helicopter above Champaign County will explore an aquifer below ground

    Beginning on Nov. 19 and extending for a few weeks, Champaign County citizens will spot a curiosity flying in the sky above: a helicopter towing a large coil frame hanging from long cables. Helicopter flights are part of an Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) project to map and better understand the Mahomet aquifer within the county.

  • Heidelberg Plant

    Multimillion-dollar project investigates potential CO2 storage at Heidelberg Materials’ cement plant in Mitchell, Indiana

    With $8.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Transport and Storage CarbonSAFE Program, the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI), is leading a two-year project to explore the feasibility of safely storing more than 50 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 30 years captured from the Heidelberg Materials cement plant in Mitchell, Indiana.

  • geothermal drill

    PRI leads campus collaboration with ORNL geothermal energy technology

    The Prairie Research Institute (PRI), Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), Facilities & Services (F&S), Illinois Water Resources Center (IWRC), Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) gathered on Feb. 27, 2023, to break ground on installing an underground thermal battery (UTB) at the Energy Farm in Urbana, IL.

  • Sallie Greenberg portrait

    Prairie Research Institute scientist to serve on White House task force on carbon capture and storage

    Sallie Greenberg, a principal research scientist at the Prairie Research Institute (PRI), has been selected as a member of one of the two new White House Council on Environmental Quality task forces to guide the development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies in the United States. 

  • Jo Daviess County alfalfa crop pattern in 2012

    Database reveals locations of sinkholes, crevices, and mines in Jo Daviess County

    A new database compiling information from a decade of Prairie Research Institute (PRI) studies on the unique geology and hydrology of Jo Daviess County is designed to help residents and officials understand the karst features of the land where they live and to better protect their water supply from surface contamination.