Name: Kirk R. Johnson
Curator of paleontology, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Denver Museum of Natural History
Education: B.A. (1982), Amherst College; M.S. (1985), University of Pennsylvania; M. Phil. (1987) and Ph.D. in geology and paleobotany (1989), Yale University
Work History: Johnson has published many popular and scientific articles on topics ranging from fossil plants and modern rainforests, to the ecology of whales and walruses. He is best known for his research on fossil plants, which is widely accepted as some of the most convincing support for the theory that an asteroid impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. His recent research focuses on the fossil plants of the Denver Basin, and he has supervised excavations at more than 50 Denver area fossil sites, including Denver International Airport, Coors Field, and the Castle Rock Rainforest. He is coauthor with DMNH Chief Curator Richard K. Stucky of the book, Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth.
Motivation/Goals: The Denver Basin Project, which is based on a multitude of surface observations as well as the fossil sites tied to the core, will provide information on dinosaur extinction and fossil rainforests. By studying the bedrock aquifers that provide water for the population of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country, researchers will be able to provide much-needed data about our local water supply and quality.
Contact Information: Denver Museum of Natural History, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80205-5798, phone-303-370-6448, [email protected]
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Name: Bob Raynolds
Title/Organization: Consulting geologist and research associate, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Denver Museum of Natural History
Education: B.A. (1973), Dartmouth College; M.S. (1976), Stanford University; Ph.D. (1981), Dartmouth College
Work History: Raynolds has lived in Denver for about 10 years. About five years ago, he started leading field trips for the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists to look at the synorogenic sediments of the Denver Basin.
Motivation/Goals: Raynolds has been interested in synorogenic sediments (those sediments that accumulate at the foot of actively deforming mountains, literally synchronous with orogeny) since doing his dissertation on these kinds of strata in the foothills of the Himalaya in the early 1980s. Raynolds is most interested in the control exerted on facies architecture (distribution of kinds of rock bodies, their shapes and dimensions) by the growth of a mountain and on the rates at which the mountains form and the sediments accumulate. How did the Rockies uplift, how fast, and in what manner? These are some of the questions that the multidisciplinary research being conducted by the Museum will clarify.
Contact Information: [email protected]
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Name: Stanley G. Robson
Title/Organization: Hydrologist, United States Geological Survey
Education: B.S. in mathematics (1963)
Work History: Hydrologist, USGS, 1963-present. Robson has published several articles on the groundwater of the Denver Basin.
Motivation/Goals: A better understanding of the geohydrology of the Denver Basin aquifers is important for better management and effective use of the groundwater resources of the basin. The Kiowa core hole provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the water-yielding character of the deep aquifers in the central part of the basin where few deep wells have been drilled. Results of the hydrologic analyses of the core samples may indicate that additional sources of groundwater are present at depth, or that less water is at depth than we anticipated.
Contact Information: [email protected]
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Name: Rick Arnold
Title/Organization: Hydrologist, United States Geological Survey
B.S. in geology and geophysics (1992), Kansas State University
Work History: Arnold has worked in the field of geotechnical engineering doing site evaluations for construction and environmental projects. He joined the USGS in 1996 and worked there while he was completing his professional degree in hydrogeology at the Colorado School of Mines. He is now a hydrologist with the USGS where he works on the Denver Basin Project and other projects in the state.
Motivation/Goals: Arnold hopes to gather hydrogeological information from the aquifers in the Denver Basin in an area where little is known about the aquifer parameters. Recently, Rick found a rare fossil turtle skull in the Fox Hills Formation while he was mapping the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer at its surface exposure on the east side of the Denver Basin. The Denver Basin Project is making paleontologists out of hydrologists and hydrologists out of paleontologists.
Contact Information: [email protected]
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Name: William E. Sanford
Title/Organization: Assistant professor, Department of Earth Resources, Colorado State University
Education: B.S. in geology (1983) from Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin; M.S. in geophysics (1986) and Ph.D. in soil and water engineering (1992) from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Work History: Assistant professor of hydrogeology, Department of Earth Resources, CSU, 1996-present; research associate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1992-1996
Motivation/Goals: The Denver area is one of the fastest growing population centers in the United States today. The aquifers that underlie the Denver Basin are becoming relied upon in an ever increasing fashion to supply water for the growing population. Goals of this research project include improving our understanding of the availability of water resources from the aquifers of the Denver Basin through measurements of hydrogeological parameters measured on samples of the core and correlation of these parameters across the basin; and developing the framework of a detailed groundwater model based on these results that can be used to improve our ability to plan for future water use from the aquifers.
Contact Information: Department of Earth Resources, 322 Natural Resources Building, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1482; phone: 970-491-5929; fax: 970-491-6307; e-mail: [email protected]
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Name: Shari A. Kelley
Title/Organization: Adjunct faculty, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico
Education: B.S. in geological sciences (1979), New Mexico State University; Ph.D. in geophysics (1984), Southern Methodist University
Work History: Adjunct assistant professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, January 1995-present; consulting geoscientist, fission-track analysis for ARCO and Mobil, geothermal resource evaluation, seismic data interpretation, September 1984-present; adjunct assistant professor of geological sciences, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, January 1987-December 1994; part-time instructor, physical and historical geology, Richland Community College, Dallas, Texas, September 1985-May 1986 and September 1988-December 1994
Motivation/Goals: Kelley plans to contribute apatite and zircon fission-track analyses of the Late Cretaceous to Eocene synorogenic sedimentary rocks encountered in both the Kiowa and Castle Pines drill cores. This information will nicely complement the work that Chuck Chapin (New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources) and Kelley have done on the uplift and erosional history of the Front Range. The apatite fission-track (AFT) data should provide further insights into the unroofing history of the Front Range, with older AFT ages preserved in the older sedimentary rocks and increasing numbers of Laramide AFT ages preserved up-section. In addition, Dave Blackwell (Southern Methodist University) and Kelley hope to measure a high-precision, equilibrium temperature log in the drill hole. This type of log is very useful in determining lateral and vertical fluid movement in drill holes. Temperature and heat flow data for the Denver Basin are rare; a temperature log from this drill hole will offer a unique opportunity to add to this important database.
Contact Information: [email protected], phone-505-661-6171
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Name: Lara M. Juliusson
Title/Organization: Project cartographer and GIS specialist, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Denver Museum of Natural History
Education: B.A., geography, University of Colorado at Boulder; M.A., geography, University of Denver
Work History: National Geographic, 1993; University of Denver, 1994; City and County of Denver, 1996
Motivation/Goals: Juliusson's goals, as cartographer and GIS specialist to the Denver Basin Project, are to create a library of spatial information, maps, and graphics from the returned research data that can be easily accessed and used for future research and education.
Contact information: [email protected]
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Name: R. Farley Fleming
Title/Organization: Research associate, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Denver Museum of Natural History
Education: B.S. in zoology, Texas Tech University; Ph.D. in geology, University of Colorado at Boulder; LL.M., University of Denver College of Law
Work History: Palynological work for several major and independent oil companies; research on Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at U.S. Geological Survey (study area in Raton Basin of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico-basis for doctoral dissertation); research on dinosaur trackways in western North America and South Korea while at CU-Denver; palynological studies of Pliocene climate at U.S. Geological Survey (study areas throughout western North America and in Antarctica)
Motivation/Goals: For Fleming's graduate research at the CU-Boulder, he examined the palynological (fossil pollen and spores) record across the K-T boundary in the Raton Basin of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. This research focused on several aspects of the plant microfossil record, including the extinction horizon, the "fern spike" (an unusual abundance of fern spores immediately above the K-T boundary), and the recovery of terrestrial vegetation following the K-T boundary event. The Denver Basin Project allows Fleming to extend this work into the Denver Basin and perhaps develop a more complete picture of the plant world in Colorado during this interesting interval in Earth's history.
Contact Information: [email protected]
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Name: Laura Lapey
Title/Organization: graduate student, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Education: B.A. in geology and environmental science and policy (1996), Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York
Work History: Graduate teaching assistantship at CSU for sedimentary petrology and geochemistry, fall 1998; Heindel & Noyes: Environmental Consulting Firm, Burlington, Vermont, January 1997-June 1998; naturalist at Allegany State Park, New York, summers 1992-96
Motivation/Goals: Lapey is motivated by the people and the variety of disciplines involved in the Denver Basin Project. She is pleased that the public will be able to visit the drilling site or Web site to be exposed to this multifaceted research project. Lapey's goals include gaining a thorough understanding of the geology and hydrogeology of the Denver Basin and helping Denver Basin regulators with challenging water issues by providing them with detailed aquifer parameters.
Contact Information: [email protected]
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Name: Mary J. Kraus
Title/Organization: Geology professor, University of Colorado at Boulder
Education: B.S. in biology (1973), Yale University; M.S. in geology (1979), University of Wyoming; Ph.D. in geology (1983), CU-Boulder
Work History: Professor, CU-Boulder, 1998; associate professor, CU-Boulder, 1989; assistant professor, CU-Boulder, 1983-89
Motivation/Goals: Kraus is a clastic sedimentary geologist, and her research interest is using floodplain paleosols to understand the processes by which ancient river floodplains were constructed, to reconstruct ancient landscapes, and to interpret ancient climates. She is especially interested in paleosols that formed during late Paleocene and early Eocene because a major global warming trend occurred during that time. The most extensive record of the paleoclimatic events that occurred across this interval come from marine strata, and little is known about how the global climatic change influenced the continental sedimentary record. A paleosol that appears to have formed during this time period is present in the Denver Basin, and it provides an excellent opportunity to examine the effects of the climate change on the continents. Because the paleosol is exposed at different localities and in two cores, it can also be used to examine the competing effects of global climate change and local factors in shaping paleosol characteristics.
Contact Information: [email protected]
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Name: Tim Farnham
Title/Organization: Graduate student, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder; research assistant, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Denver Museum of Natural History
Education: B.A. in geology (1996) and B.A. in history (1996), Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Work History: Research assistant for DMNH, June 1998-present; master's candidate in geology, CU-Boulder, August 1998-present; internship with Kirk Johnson at the DMNH, August 1997-June 1998
Motivation/Goals: The environment we live and work in has changed dramatically through time. Animals, plants, and even land surfaces leave important clues that allow researchers and scientists to reconstruct ancient climates. Fossil leaves and soils in the Denver Basin provide information about ancient temperatures and rainfall. Farnham's research focuses on climate change in the Denver area from about 58 to 45 million years ago, long after the last dinosaur walked on Earth. By looking at fossil leaves and soils in the Denver Basin, researchers hope to reconstruct the climate for this area during the last great period of global warming, when Denver was a tropical rainforest.
Contact information: [email protected]
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Name: Jason F. Hicks
Title/Organization: Research associate (pending), Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Denver Museum of Natural History
Education: B.A. (1984), Oxford University; Ph.D. (1993), Yale University
Work History: Environmental technician, Denver, October 1998-present; research geologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, summer 1998; adjunct lecturer, Colorado College, 1998; lecturer, University of New Haven, 1996; associate professor, Yale University, 1995; visiting scientist, Smithsonian Institution, 1993-95; laboratory technician, Enviromed Services, 1992-95; consultant geologist, Hawley Research Group, 1987-88.
Motivation/Goals: Hicks specializes in dating layers of sedimentary rock from around the world. This little known subdiscipline of geology called chronostratigraphy will be an important part of the project. It is possible to work out the age of a rock any number of ways. Museum staff will measure the rock magnetism of many of the fossil sites that have been found in recent years in short road cuts, excavations, gully washes, and hillsides around Denver. By matching magnetic directions to a reference timescale from the core, researchers can determine when they were deposited, usually to within a half million years or so.
Contact Information: Denver Museum of Natural History, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80205-5798; [email protected]
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Name: Lisa Tauxe
Title/Organization: Professor of geophysics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
Education: B.S. (1978), Yale University; M.A. (1980), M.Phil. (1982), and Ph.D. (1983), Columbia University
Work History: Professor of geophysics, 1996-present
Motivation/Goals: Tauxe has a long-term interest in the magneto-bio timescale. This project represents a unique opportunity to piece together the record in a key area.
Contact Information: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California; phone-619-534-6084; fax-619-534-0784
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Cooperating Organizations
(principal funding sources*)

*National Science Foundation
*U. S. Geological Survey, Division of Water Resources
U. S. Geological Survey, Geologic Division
*Colorado Water Conservation Board
*Colorado State Engineer
Colorado Geological Survey
Colorado Division of Water Resources
*Colorado State University
Colorado State University Extension Office in Kiowa
Elbert County Water Advisory Board
Elbert County Commissioners
*Prima Energy
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