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Western Kentucky University

Department of Geography and Geology - Mike May

may Professor of Geology


Dr. May is a sedimentary geologist with expertise in subsurface and outcrop mapping in carbonates and siliciclastics and in sedimentologic aspects of environmental geology. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 from Indiana University, where he worked on a tectonostratigraphic reconstruction of pre-Laramide basins and their associated Jurassic and Cretaceous fluvial sediments in Wyoming. Earlier graduate work at The University of Kansas afforded him research opportunities on western Pacific atoll islands investigating modern carbonate sedimentology and diagenesis. Dr. May also has experience from two major oil companies in both West Texas and the Gulf Coast and from two environmental consulting companies in the Midwest. He routinely incorporates his past employment experience into his undergraduate and graduate curriculum offerings as case studies or class projects. His wife, Beth, presently works as a geologist for an environmental consulting firm and she also provides information for his case studies, keeping him with a fresh supply of exercises! He has recently published papers dealing with the use of X-ray fluorescence technology at mining waste sites in Mississippi Valley Type ores and on hydrogeologic complexities in Ordovician rocks at a military installation in Kentucky. He also recently co-authored a paper on diagenetic mineralogy, geochemistry, and dynamics of Mesozoic arkoses in the Hartford Rift Basin in Connecticut.

His current research effort includes undergraduate and graduate student-assisted outcrop and subsurface investigation of Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks in south central and western Kentucky associated with the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Unconformity. The goal of the current research is to incorporate geophysical well log, petrography and outcrop data to map out the unconformity and ultimately define in detail the tectonostratigraphic framework for basal Pennsylvanian channel sequences. He recently was successful in getting an EPA environmental geophysics short course directed to WKU. Any professional or student is invited to attend this summer short course (usually run in late June). The course provides good hands-on experience in the use of electromagnetic, resistivity, ground penetrating radar, seismic, and magnetic methods to map subsurface geologic features. Dr. May is also involved with co-teaching science to pre-service teachers through a NASA-funded course (NOVA -NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics) and co-teaching environmental regulations and technical issues as an adjunct faculty member for the University of North Carolina. Through his short-course and other nontraditional teaching opportunities and participation in seminars he has traveled to coastal Virginia, Florida and, China. For more information about his teaching and research interests contact Dr. May at michael.may@wku.edu.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14