Dr. Joseph Kruger

Joseph Kruger

General Information

  • Dr. Joseph M. Kruger
  • Position: Associate Professor
  • E-mail: joseph.kruger@lamar.edu
  • Phone: (409) 880-8233
  • Office: Geology Rm 113C


  • Ph.D. Geophysics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 1991
  • M.S. Geophysics, University of Texas at El Paso, 1983
  • B.S. Geology/Physics, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, 1980

University, Professional, and Community Service

  • Expert source for the news media on geophysically related stories
  • Rock and mineral presentations at local elementary schools and high school recruiter for Earth and Space Sciences at Lamar University
  • Chair of the Arts and Sciences Faculty Council, Lamar University
  • Administrator of the Earth and Space Sciences departmental computer lab.
  • Departmental Library liaison at Lamar University
  • Advised 1 undergraduate research assistant, Lamar University, 2006-2007
  • Primary adviser to 3 graduate students, co-advisor to 1 graduate, Idaho State University, 1998-2004
  • Guest speaker on earthquakes; Idaho Public Television's series called Dialogue With Kids, 2004
  • Promotion and Tenure Committee, College of Arts and Sciences, Idaho State University, 2000-2001
  • IRIS Board of Directors representative for Idaho State University, 2000-2004, and currently representative for Lamar University
  • Council for Teaching and Learning, Idaho State University, 1999-2002
  • Campus GIS Center Oversight Committee, Idaho State University, 1998-2003
  • Organizational Committee, 35th Symposium on Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering, 1999-2000
  • Organizational Committee, Geological Society of America Rocky Mountain Section, 1999 Annual Meeting
  • Search Committees for GIS Center Director and Remote Sensing Faculty, Idaho State University, 1997, 2000
  • Reviewer of manuscripts, proposals, abstracts, 1995-present

Professional Societies

  • AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists)
  • SEG (Society of Exploration Geophysicists)
  • GSA (Geological Society of America)
  • AGU (American Geophysical Union)
  • HGS (Houston Geological Society)
  • GSH (Geophysical Society of Houston)

Teaching Interests

  • Geophysics
  • Reflection Seismic Interpretation
  • Reflection Seismic Processing
  • Petroleum and Subsurface Geology
  • Hydrogeology
  • GPS and GIS
  • Physical Geology
  • Integrated Science Lab

Research Interests

  • Geophysics
  • Reflection Seismology
  • Gravity and Magnetics
  • Ground-Penetrating Radar
  • Near-Surface Geophysics
  • Deep Crustal Structure
  • Basin Structure and Stratigraphy
  • Petroleum Geology
  • GIS and GPS

Research Description

Structure and Geologic Evolution of Neogene Supradetachment Basins in Southeast Idaho

I am currently finishing up a project funded by the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society which uses gravity measurements located with GPS to determine the structure and geologic evolution of Marsh Valley, Cache Valley, the Deep Creek half graben, and Cottonwood Valley in southeast Idaho. These basins are interpreted to have formed above the regional Bannock detachment fault. Although a lot of geologic mapping has been done in the ranges surrounding these basins, the subsurface structure of the basins had been unknown because they were mostly covered by later basin fill. This project models gravity anomalies observed in the basins and mountains to determine the buried structure and compare it to that mapped in the surrounding ranges. So far, results from this study include several abstracts, three Masters Thesis, and a SEPM publication listed below.

Detection of Lava Tubes, Fissures, and Dikes in Basalt Using Microgravity and Magnetics

This project, funded by the Department of Energy, is a pilot study to test whether or not microgravity and surface magnetic measurements could detect lava tubes, eruptive and noneruptive fissures, and shallow mafic dikes within basalt of the eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho. When buried by other thin basalt flows or sediments, these features are difficult to impossible to detect by surface mapping, yet they have a dramatic effect on groundwater migration in both the saturated and unsaturated zone of the Snake River Plain aquifer. The lava tubes and fissures can act as preferred conduits for groundwater flow, whereas the dikes act as barriers to flow. Although normally this is not a big deal, it is very important when trying to track where contaminated groundwater from the Idaho National Lab is likely to go. Results from this pilot study indicate that large lava tubes and fissures can be detected by gravity and magnetic data if they are buried only a few meters to possibly ten meters beneath the surface. Although the near-surface dikes are not detectable using these methods, larger, more deeply buried dike swarms are indicated beneath the fissure systems on filtered gravity data. These results are published in a Masters Thesis and an extended SEG abstract listed below. The results will also be presented at The First International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology in New Orleans, January 2005.

Deep Crustal Structure of Cordilleran Metamorphic Core Complexes in Arizona

I began my research into the deep crustal structure of Cordilleran Metamorphic Core Complexes as a graduate student at the University of Arizona. My dissertation involved reprocessing and interpreting oil industry seismic data by extending the seismic data acquired by a Vibroseis source down to just below the base of the crust. The purpose of this research was to determine the structure of the crust beneath and adjacent to the Pinaleno Mountains core complex of SE Arizona in order to better understand the mechanisms of extension and crustal uplift in highly extended terrains. I also reprocessed the data to interpret the structure, stratigraphy, and geologic evolution of basins overlying a major detachment fault associated with the core complex. This research resulted in several publications listed below. I continued this research as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California where I worked on the SAGUARO project. On this project, I reprocessed a grid of about 1000 KM of 2-D seismic to develop a 3-D geometric interpretation of crustal structure beneath and adjacent to the core complexes and highly extended terrains of western Arizona. This research resulted in several abstracts and one publication listed below. However, one or more other manuscripts will also be submitted for publication.

Reflection Seismic Imaging of Thin-Bedded Estuarine Sandstones of the Minneola Complex: SW Kansas

This was a project I started while a Visiting Scientist at the Petroleum Research Section of the Kansas Geological Survey. It was funded by the Department of Energy and Murfin Oil to determine if high-resolution reflection seismic data could image the difference between incised valleys filled in part with oil and gas bearing Pennsylvanian estuarine sandstone, from those filled with just estuarine shale. Results of the experiment indicated that the data did not have high enough frequencies at reservoir depth to accurately determine the difference. However, the data was better than that previously acquired, showed that the incised valleys were more complex than previously determine, and used a source that was cheaper, was not restricted to roads, and did not compact farm soils. The results of this project are published in two on-line digital Open-File Reports listed below, and available from the Kansas Geological Survey web site. A manuscript will also be written and submitted for publication.

Precambrian Structure of the Mid-Continent As Defined By Gravity and Magnetic Maps of Kansas

I began this research at the Kansas Geological Survey in order to make the previously constructed gravity and magnetic maps of Kansas into a GIS database that allowed multiple visualizations of the data, and integration with other maps and data sets in Kansas. The results of this research are an online series of gravity and magnetic maps that are colored and artificially sun-shaded to illustrate the structural and lithologic features of the Precambrian crust in Kansas. These maps are overlain with a variety of other data sets and maps, including Precambrian structure as determine from well control, major basins, uplifts, and other Phanerozoic structural features in Kansas, fault maps, and the outlines of oil and gas fields in Kansas. Results from this research are several abstracts and an on-line series of maps in an Open-File Report listed below. Continued research is planned on this subject, including 1) interpretation of the crustal structure and Precambrian evolution of Kansas based on the gravity, magnetic, and well data, 2) the influence of Precambrian structure on the Phanerozoic structural and stratigraphic evolution of Kansas, and 3) the influence of Precambrian structure on oil and gas accumulations in Kansas.

Kimberlite Delineation and Reservoir Analog Outcrop Studies In Kansas Using High Frequency Ground-Penetrating Radar

This research also began at the Kansas Geological Survey as a pilot study to test if a high-frequency ground-penetrating radar (GPR) unit (500 MHz) could delineate the edge of several kimberlite pipes in Kansas that could be Diamond bearing, and to image thin-bedded limestone and sandstone outcrops that produce oil and gas when buried in the subsurface. Results from the kimberlite study indicate that reflections from interbedded limestone and thin shale beds were turned upward at the margins of the kimberlite, and that these reflections disappeared within the kimberlite itself. A publication from this study is listed below. Results from the outcrop analog study indicate that the thin bedded limestone reservoirs were also able to be imaged with this method down to about 5 m with centimeter to decimeter scale resolution. However, the reflections disappeared due to a reduction in signal strength where the first thick shale appeared beneath the limestones. When surficial shales also became thicker, signal penetration was limited to only the first meter or less. Imaging of the sandstone reservoir analog also showed excellent reflectivity from thin clay and mica drapes between the sandstone layers. This illustrated the geometry of these sandstone bodies quite well. Like the limestone examples though, signal penetration died out where thicker shales were present. This pilot study also suggested that if the high-frequency GPR data is gathered as a grid of lines above the outcrop to be studied, and integrated with geologic interpretations of the outcrop, that the GPR data can give a three-dimensional picture of the geometry and subtle stratigraphic variations of the reservoir analog. Results of this study are listed below as on-line Open-File Reports at the Kansas Geological Survey web site, and as several publications (one of which is digital). A manuscript concerning the sandstone example is currently being revised and will be resubmitted to the SEG for publication in Geophysics. Selected Publications:

NOTE: Digital reprints of several publications available for download in the Research folder

Selected Publications

Kruger, J. M., and J. L. Jordan, 2007, Determination of Lunar Regolith Thickness and Exploration for Frozen Lunar Water Using Human-Operated Ground-Penetrating Radar [white paper]: Workshop on Science Associated with the Lunar Exploration Architecture, Tempe, Arizona, www.infonetic.com/tis/lea/WhitePapers.aspx?currentPage=White%20Papers

Kruger, J. M., T. J. Crane, A. D. Pope, M. E. Perkins, and P. K. Link, 2003, Structural and stratigraphic development of Neogene basins in the Marsh Valley, Lava Hot Springs, and Wakley Peak areas, southeast Idaho: Two phases of extension, in Raynolds, R. G., and Flores, R. M., eds., Cenozoic systems of the Rocky Mountain region: Rocky Mountain Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), p. 407-457.

Kruger, J. M., A. C. Smith, and J. A. Welhan, 2002, Microgravity and magnetic detection of mafic dikes, fissures, and lava tubes in basalt: potential barriers and fast-flow paths for contaminant migration within the eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho [extended abstract]: Society of Exploration Geophysicists Annual meeting Expanded Technical Program Abstracts with Biographies, 2002, v. 72, p. 1440-1443.

Kruger, J. M., and R. A. Johnson, 2001, From Transition Zone to core complex: Deep reflection seismic imaging of the Basin and Range, southeast Arizona, in Erskine, M. C, Faulds, J. E., Bartley, J. M., and Rowley, P. D., eds., The geologic transition, high plateaus to Great Basin - A symposium and field guide (The Mackin Volume), : Utah Geological Association, Publication no. 30, p. 313-336.

Watney, W. L., J. M. Kruger, J. C. Davis, J. Harff, R. A. Olea, and G. C. Bohling, 1999, Validation of sediment accumulation regions in Kansas, USA, in Harff, J., Lemke, W., and Stattegger, K., eds., Computerized Modeling of Sedimentary Systems, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, p. 341-360.

Martinez, A., J. M. Kruger, and E. K. Franseen, 1998, Utility of ground-penetrating radar in near-surface, high-resolution imaging of Lansing-Kansas City (Pennsylvanian) limestone reservoir analogs: Kansas Geological Survey, Current Research in Earth Sciences, Bull. 241, part 3, www.kgs.ku.edu/Current/1998/martinez/martinez1.html

Kruger, J. M., J. E. Faulds, S. J. Reynolds, and D. A. Okaya, 1998, Seismic reflection evidence for detachment polarity beneath a major accommodation zone, west-central Arizona, in Faulds, J. E., and J. Stewart eds., Accommodation zones and transfer zones: The regional segmentation of the Basin and Range province: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 323, p. 89-113.

Kruger, J. M., 1998, High-resolution seismic survey of the Minneola Complex, southwest Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey Open-File Report OFR 98-44, 101 p., www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/publication/OFR98_44/f2index.html

Kruger, J. M., A. Martinez, and P. Berendsen, 1997, Use of high-resolution ground-penetrating radar in kimberlite delineation: Mining Engineering, v. 49, p. 73-79.

Kruger, J. M., 1996, On-line gravity and magnetic maps of Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey, Open File Report 96-51, www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/PotenFld/potential.html

Kruger, J. M., 1996, Seismic modeling in the Minneola complex, Ford and Clark Counties, Kansas: Differentiating thin-bedded Morrow sandstones from shale in lower Pennsylvanian channel fill: Kansas Geological Survey, Open File Report 96-50, www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/publication/OFR96_50/index.html

Kruger, J. M., R. A. Johnson, and B. B. Houser, 1995, Miocene-Pliocene half-graben evolution, detachment faulting and late stage core complex uplift from reflection seismic data in southeast Arizona: Basin Research, v. 7, p. 129-149.

Kruger, J. M., and R. A. Johnson, 1994, Raft model of crustal extension: Evidence from seismic reflection data in southeast Arizona: Geology, v. 22, p. 351-354.

Keller, G. R., J. M. Kruger, K. J. Smith and W. M. Voight, 1990, The Ouachita System: A geophysical overview, in Hatcher, R. D., Jr., W. A. Thomas, and G. W. Viele, eds., The Appalachian-Ouachita Orogen in the United States: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America, v. F-2, p. 689-694.

Kruger, J. M., and G. R. Keller, 1986, Interpretation of crustal structure from regional gravity anomalies, Ouachita Mountains area and adjacent Gulf Coastal Plain: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 70, p. 667-689.

Theses of Graduate Student Advisees

Eversaul, Martin, 2004, Basin Structure of Proposed Late Miocene to Pliocene Supradetachment Basins in Southeastern Idaho Based on Detailed Gravity and Geologic Data: Masters Thesis, Idaho State University, 132 p.

Hennings, Brian, 2002, Neogene Structural Evolution of Southern Marsh Valley and Adjacent Ranges, SE Idaho, Based on Gravity and Geologic Data; Masters Thesis, Idaho State University, 100 p.

Smith, Andy, 2002, Microgravity and Magnetic Investigations of Mafic Dikes, Fissures, and Lava Tubes In Basalt: Kings Bowl Lava Field and Bear Trap Cave, Power County, Idaho; Masters Thesis, Idaho State University, 150 p.

Crane, Tracy, 2000, Geologic Mapping and Gravity Survey of the Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, 7.5 Min. Quadrangle: Evidence for a Late Miocene Supradetachment Basin in Southeast Idaho; Masters Thesis, Idaho State University, 147 p.