UW Extension

Esther Stewart
Faculty

 

Esther K. Stewart

Precambrian Geologist, Assistant Professor

Contact: Tel 608/263.3201 | Email esther.stewart@uwex.edu

  • My research interests are focused on understanding Wisconsin’s oldest rocks—those that formed during Precambrian time, generally more than 800 million years ago. These rocks underlie all of Wisconsin and may be exposed at the land’s surface or buried by several hundred to over a thousand feet of younger rocks and glacial sediments. Though Wisconsin’s Precambrian rocks are hard to directly observe across much of the state, they control or  have a significant impact on many of the state’s natural resources, including metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits, groundwater quantity and quality, geothermal energy potential, and potential carbon sequestration. My primary goal as a scientist at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History survey is to develop research programs that improve our understanding of the distribution and variability of different kinds of Precambrian rocks—what Precambrian rocks underlie Wisconsin and how did they get there? Through constraining our understanding of Precambrian rocks and structures we can better understand their impact on the state’s natural resources.

    My current research areas include:

    1. The stratigraphy and deformation of ca. <1.7 billion year-old Baraboo-interval metasedimentary rocks in south-central Wisconsin
    2. The stratigraphy and deformation of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the ~1 billion-year-old Midcontinent Rift underneath Lake Superior
  • Projects

    near the Lower Narrows in the north range of the Baraboo Hills

    Dipping beds of Baraboo quartzite

    Research area 1: Stratigraphy and deformation of Baraboo-interval metasedimentary rocks

    1. Dodge County, WI bedrock geologic map (USGS STATEMAP program)
    2. Precambrian bedrock geologic map of the Baraboo Hills
    3. Mapping the base of the Cambrian aquifer through geophysical modeling of Precambrian topography, southern Wisconsin (State of Wisconsin Groundwater Research & Monitoring Program for State FY 2018)

    Research area 2: Stratigraphy and deformation of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Midcontinent Rift underneath Lake Superior

    1. Sedimentology, sequence-stratigraphy, and geochemical variations of the Nonesuch Formation
    2. Seismic interpretation of the volcanic and sedimentary rocks beneath Lake Superior

    Collaborations

    Collaboration with researchers and students from outside of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey are an important component of my research. Recent collaborators include:

    • faculty and students from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Geoscience Department
    • faculty and students from the University of Minnesota-Duluth Earth & Environmental Sciences Department
    • researchers from the US Geological Survey Minerals Resources Program
    • I also mentor students from UW-Madison and other UW campuses on directed study projects
  • Peer-reviewed publications

    • Kingsbury Stewart, E.M., and Mauk, J.L., 2017, Sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, and geochemical variations in the Mesoproterozoic Nonesuch Formation, northern Wisconsin, USA: Precambrian Research, v. 294, p. 111–132.
    • Kingsbury-Stewart, E.M., Osterhout, S.L., Link, P.K., and Dehler, C.M., 2013, Sequence stratigraphy and formalization of the Middle Uinta Mountain Group (Neoproterozoic), central Uinta Mountains, Utah: A closer look at the western Laurentian Seaway at ca. 750 Ma: Precambrian Research, v. 236, p. 65-84.
    • Dehler, C.M., Fanning, C.M., Link, P.K., Kingsbury, E.M., and Rybczynski, D., 2010, Incipient Rodinia breakup, marine transgression, and peri-Gondwanan sediment source in western Laurentia at <766–742 Ma:  New SHRIMP data from the Uinta Mountain Group and Big Cottonwood Formation, northern Utah:  Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 122; no. 9/10; p. 1686–1699.
    • Wellner, R.W., Varban, B.L., Xavier, R., Jason F.A., and Stewart, E.K, in review, Simple is better when it comes to sequence stratigraphy—the Clearwater Formation of the Manville Group reinterpreted using a genetic body approach: AAPG Bulletin.

    Maps

    • Osterhout, S.L.,. Link, P.K., and Dehler, C.M., and Kingsbury-Stewart, E.M., 2016, Geologic map of the Mount Powell 7.5-minute quadrangle, Duchesne and Summit counties, Utah: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 16-5, 2 plates, scale 1:24,000.
    • Kingsbury-Stewart, E.M., Link, P.K., Osterhout, S.L., and Dehler, C.M., 2015, Geologic map of the Kings Peak 7.5-minute quadrangle, Duchesne and Summit counties, Utah: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 15-3DM, 2 plates, scale 1:24,000.

    Conference presentations

    (* indicates student project)

    • Kingsbury Stewart, E., and Stewart, E.D., 2017, New Precambrian geologic mapping of the Baraboo Hills, southern Wisconsin constrains Baraboo-interval sedimentation and deformation: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 63, p. 50-51.
    • *Sanger, M., Kingsbury Stewart, E., and Grauch, V.J.S., 2017, Seismic interpretation of the 1.1 Ga Midcontinent Rift volcanic interval beneath Lake Superior: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 63, p. 79-80.
    • Grauch, V.J.S., Sanger, M., Anderson, E.D., and Kingsbury Stewart, E., 2017, Revisiting geophysical interpretations of the Midcontinent Rift below Lake Superior: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 63, p. 36–37.
    • Kingsbury Stewart, E., and Mauk, J.L., 2016, Sequence stratigraphy and basin evolution of the Mesoproterozoic Nonesuch Formation, Ashland Syncline, northern Wisconsin: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 62, p. 141–142.
    • Kingsbury Stewart, E., Stewart, E.D., and Lamb, M., 2016, Discovering hidden folds and faults in the Precambrian: New insights into Baraboo-interval stratigraphy and deformation in southern Wisconsin: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 62, p. 143–144.
    • *Lamb, M.T., and Kingsbury Stewart, E., 2016, A comparison of Baraboo-interval (Late Paleoproterozoic) iron-formation, southern Wisconsin: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 62, p. 85–86.
    • *Guenther, G., and Kingsbury Stewart, E., 2016, Paleocurrent interpretation of the Cambrian Elk Mound Group using geophysical optical borehole image (OBI) logs from two new boreholes, Dodge County, southern Wisconsin: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Program and Abstracts, v. 62, p.58–59.
    • Stewart, E.K., Havholm, K.G., Galston, L., Zambito, J.J., IV, and Dehler, C.M., 2015, Microbially induced sedimentary structures and large sand stromatolites in the terrestrial and marine/lacustrine-transitional Bayfield Group (Proterozoic), Wisconsin: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, North-Central Section, v. 47, p. 28.
    • Stewart, E.K., DeBruyne, J., Zambito, J.J., IV, McLaughlin, P.I., and Dehler, C.M., 2015, New detrital zircon age data from Baraboo interval quartzites, southern Wisconsin: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, North-Central Section, v. 47, p. 2.
    • Link, P.K., Stewart, E.K., Dehler, C.M., and Osterhout, S.L., 2015, Neoproterozoic transcontinental rivers and a possible Jacobsville/Bayfield Group—Uinta Mountain Group connection: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, North-Central Section, v. 47, p. 28.
    • Stewart, E.K., Streiff, C.M., Rawling, J.E., III, and Hart, D.J., 2015, Beyond the sandbox: a geological approach to characterizing hydrostratigraphic variability in the Central Sands of Wisconsin: American Water Resources Association Wisconsin Section Annual Meeting, Oconomowoc, WI.
    • Stewart, E., Zambito, J., McLaughlin, P., Gotkowitz, M., 2014, Geologic mapping of Columbia County: 3-D subsurface reconstruction using an integrated geological dataset: AWRA abstract.