Professor Michael May, Ph.D.
My current research focuses on the integration of outcrop and subsurface databases in Kentucky and adjacent areas in Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks. I have a special interest in energy and groundwater resources straddling the sub-Pennsylvanian surface or what is formally known as the Kaskaskia-Absaroka Sequence Boundary. The energy resources research of late has been mostly in unconventional oil, asphalt rock or tar sands, particularly those in Edmonson County and nearby areas of Kentucky. This work involves both traditional sedimentologic and stratigraphic methods in the field and subsurface but also petrographic characterization of these rocks, petrophysics, and to a lesser extent analysis of fluids. This research engages undergraduate and graduate students and utilizes standard transmitted and reflective light microscopy, SEM, and we are also beginning to incorporate Raman microscopy and XRD analyses in our studies.
The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) has compiled an unparalleled online database of well cuttings, geophysical logs, oil and gas completion and stimulation records, and groundwater wells, as well as an interactive interface for creation of surface and subsurface geology maps. These databases and tools are all readily available for integrating with our correlation studies of subsurface-outcrop Mississippian-Pennsylvanian rocks. Several M.S. theses are in progress with studies ranging from paleogeographic reconstructions via creation of cross sections and 3-D GIS models as well as isopach and structure contour maps of strata of interest to detailed petrographic and petrophysical characterization of cores.
Secondary research interests have recently included stratigraphic and biostratigraphic studies of Chesterian Series and basal Pennsylvanian rocks north of Bowling Green and geochemical replacement phenomenon such as terra rossa in carbonate regions of Kentucky.
Western Kentucky University
Dept. of Geography and Geology, BLDG #306
19006 College Heights Blvd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101