Kansas Geological Survey, The University of Kansas

4150 W. Monroe Street
Wichita , KS
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Field Research Assistant

Kansas Geological Survey, The University of Kansas
Wichita, KS Full time
Posted on May 4, 2018

The Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) Exploration Services (ES) section develops and uses several methods to provide information about the subsurface, using both invasive and non-invasive approaches with a focus on higher resolution and accuracy while reducing cost.  This includes innovative methods of shallow seismic reflection characterization.
The ES section provides drilling in support of water, energy, and basic subsurface research.  It also runs a program designed to monitor changes and identify regional trends in the High Plains, Dakota, and alluvial aquifers, measuring about 1,380 wells in 47 central and western Kansas counties.  Also, the ES section is responsible for installation, maintenance, and collection of data from earthquake recording stations in Kansas—both permanent stations and several temporary networks—to detect and analyze seismic activity.
This position provides technical field support for KGS scientists and collaborating outside parties with primary responsibilities to drilling, data collection, equipment modification, upkeep, and fabrication.  Support includes drilling and sampling operations, borehole/well logging, maintenance and plugging, observation well installations, water level measure­ment, seismic/geophysical field support, and earthquake station installation and maintenance.

40%    Drilling and Sampling

  • Maintain and expand operational capabilities of KGS drilling, plugging, and logging equipment and techniques.
  • Participate in and oversee mobilizing and demobilizing for drilling, plugging, and logging operations.
  • Maintain and enhance drilling, logging, and plugging skills; independently design and complete drilling and/or sampling operations as requested by KGS scientists.
  • On occasion, manage drill site and assume responsibility for deliverables.  Assume responsibility for drill site operations, both safety and product quality/quantity, when senior driller is not on-site, when requested by senior driller, or during solo operations.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of workload and projects.
  • Some responsibility for scheduling and executing services in support of scientists throughout the KGS.
  • Some work will be with outside agencies to complete tasks associated with KGS research or service.
  • Assist with inventory of necessary supplies and tools related to drilling/sampling activities.
  • Operational familiarity with logging equipment.

30%    Geophysical and Water Level Program Technical Support

  • Participate in annual water level measurement program.
  • Participate in geophysical field work as part of the seismic crew.
  • Provide a range of field support to KGS scientists.  Examples include: landowner search, borehole monitoring, borehole logging, utility clearance, and field contractor oversight.
  • Assist with acquiring and maintaining a high level of proficiency with DGPS (Digital GPS) survey equipment.
  • Assist with inventory of necessary supplies and tools for the geophysical and water level programs.

 30%    Earthquake Research Support

  • Assist with mobilization/demobilization, site preparation, locating, preparing, permitting, and installing and troubleshooting earthquake stations.
  • Provide landowner identifications, contact landowners, and secure permissions as well as routine contact and interaction to maintain high level of awareness and buy in.  Coordinate with other staff to ensure inventory of necessary supplies and tools for site installation and maintenance are readily available.
  • Perform periodic visits to installation sites for equipment welfare checks, troubleshooting, and routine maintenance, likely involving a significant number of self-driven miles to remote Kansas location.

Required Qualifications

High school diploma or GED equivalency and 4 years of related experience.

  1. Good organizational, communication, and record-keeping skills as evidenced by application materials.
  2. Four years of related experience in one or more of the following categories:
    • Scientific/technical fieldwork (data/sample acquisition or installation/maintenance of field instruments);
    • Mechanic work (vehicle/equipment maintenance and repair)
    • Metal fabrication (welding, cutting, and/or grinding)
    • Farm or construction work

 Position Requirements:

  1. Valid, current, and unrestricted Class “C” driver’s license at onset of appointment.  Ability to obtain Kansas Class A CDL within 6 months of hire using ES section vehicles.
  2. Ability to travel away from home-base for up to ten days at a time, averaging 110 days per year.
  3. Ability to work outdoors in possibly extreme conditions for extended periods while performing repetitive and labor-intensive tasks over periods of several days.
  4. Ability to lift and move up to 100 pounds short distances.
  5. Experience working independently and making decisions with remote guidance evidenced by work experience and references.

Preferred Qualifications


  1. College degree in Geoscience, Environmental Science, geoscience-related Engineering, and/or Automotive, Hydraulic, or Welding technology.
  2. Two or more years of geoscience or environmental work experience.
  3. Demonstrable geoscience-related fieldwork experience.
  4. Demonstrable work experience in drilling (rotary, auger, core, direct-push) or hydraulic systems maintenance and repair.
  5. Sample collection and preparation experience.
  6. Borehole logging experience.
  7. Experience with electrical and/or assembly of electronic or scientific equipment.
  8. Design and fabrication skills with a basic knowledge of shop tools and shop safety as evidenced by academic or work experience.
  9. Kansas Class “A” commercial driver’s license with combination vehicle driving experience.
  10. Computer literacy in Windows-based programs.