Maps Help Answer Homebuilding Questions

Contact: Ralph Derickson or Mike Lynch

 

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“I want any citizen who is planning on any kind of land use to be able to look at these maps and see what kind of rocks are there and what problems there might be. If there are potential problems, they'll know in advance and they can get a professional to help them.”

-- Dan Carey,
KGS hydrologist,
chief manager of the project

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2004) -- Time and again, families have built homes in “ideal” locations or builders have invested in a large commercial development, only to find later that they did not understand the limitations of the soils and geology of the site. This lack of understanding often leads to damages, forcing owners to pay for expensive repairs or even to abandon the building.

The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky is doing something to help prevent such scenarios. During the past three years, KGS staff and other professionals developed a series of “Generalized Geologic Maps for Land-Use Planning” for individual counties. Twenty-eight maps are completed and published by the KGS, and another 20 are in development.

“These maps were created with the intent to provide planners, developers and others with enough information to enable them to ask the right questions before they start building,” says Glynn Beck, a hydrogeologist at the KGS’ Western Kentucky Office in Henderson who has worked on many of the maps.

The original geologic maps may have depicted over two dozen types of rock formations, but for these maps the geology is generalized so the non-scientist can understand them. Major rock types affecting development and features like sinkholes, faults, wetlands, and water, oil and gas wells are on the maps so a builder can see if geologic issues could impede site development or cause later damage. Updated information can be added easily, because Kentucky is the only state with large-scale, statewide digital geologic mapping.

Each of the large full-color maps includes photos and text about issues of concern such as landslides, karst landscape, flooding,abandoned mines, and other geologic hazards.

Dan Carey, KGS hydrologist and chief manager of the project, hopes the maps will be used for wise development. “I want any citizen who is planning on any kind of land use to be able to look at these maps and see what kind of rocks are there and what problems there might be. If there are potential problems, they'll know in advance and they can get a professional to help them,” Carey said.

The maps are available for $10 each from the KGS Public Information Center on the UK campus. Each map can also be viewed online.


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