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Kenneth F. Sprenke

Kenneth F. Sprenke

Professor Emeritus

Mailing Address


  • Ph.D., Physics, 1982—University of Alberta, Canada
  • M.S., Geophysics, 1972—University of Alberta, Canada
  • B.S., Geophysical Engineering, 1968—St. Louis University

  • Planetary and Environmental Geophysics

  • Baker, L.L., Strawn, D.G., Rember, W.R., and Sprenke, K.F. 2011. Metal content of wildfire charcoal in mining-impacted wetland sediments. Science of the Total Environment 409, 588-594.
  • Kobayashi, D. and Sprenke, K.F. 2010. Lithospheric drift on early Mars: Evidence in the magnetic field, Icarus, DOI:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.06.015
  • Nimmer, R.E., Osiensky, J.L., Binley, A.M., Sprenke, K.F., Williams. B.C. 2007. Electrical resistivity imaging of conductive plume dilution in fractured rock. Hydrogeology Journal 15:877-890.
  • Sprenke, K.F. 2005. Martian magnetic paleopoles: A geostatistical approach: Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L09201, doi: 10.1029/2005GL022840.
  • Sprenke, Kenneth F., L.L. Baker, and Williams, A.F. 2005. Polar wander on Mars: Evidence in the geoid: Icarus, 174, 486-489.
  • Sprenke, K.F. and Baker, L.L. 2003. Exploring for Water on Mars: The case for mapping the low-altitude magnetic field. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, E4, 8025, doi: 10, 1029/2002JE001859.
  • Sprenke, K.F., Rohay, A.C. and Stickney, M.C. 2002. Comparison of Body Wave Displacement with Damage Observations of a Rockburst, Coeur d'Alene Mining District, Idaho: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92, 3321-3328.
  • Baker, L.L. and Sprenke, K.F. 2000. Field trip to a galaxy far, far away: Journal of Geoscience Education, 48, 280-283.
  • Sprenke, K.F. and Baker, L.L. 2000. Magnetization, magnetic paleopoles, and polar wander on Mars: Icarus, v. 147, 26-34.
  • Sprenke, K.F., Rember, W.C., Bender, S.F., Hoffmann, M.L., Rabbi, F., and Chamberlain, V.E. 2000. Toxic metal contamination in the lateral lakes of the Coeur d'Alene River valley: Environmental Geology , v. 39, 575-586.

  • Magnetic Anomalies on Mars
    The magnetic anomalies on Mars show concentricity about axes offset from the present-day spin poles. Three possible scenarios to explain this pattern are being investigated: 1) westward drift of the martian lithosphere about an ancient paleopole; 2) degree-one mantle convection associated with the formation of the martian dichotomy; and 3) formation of rings about a mega-impact in the northern hemisphere of Mars.
  • The World's Largest Pothole
    A new gravity map of the Rathdrum-Spokane Aquifer in north Idaho shows a negative anomaly of over 10 mGal in the area between Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, and Rathdrum, Idaho. Using any reasonable value for the density of the valley fill, the sediments in this gravity hole must extend downward some 500 m below the plain to a depth well below sea level. If this basin was carved by the Missoula floods, it represents the deepest pothole known.
  • Carbon Sequestration in Basalt: the Case for 4-D Gravity Monitoring
    In cooperation with soil geochemists, the mass balance associated with the injection of super-critical carbon dioxide is being investigated. If the net mass balance of the chemical reactions involved is significantly positive or negative or simply spatially separated, then repeated gravity and GPS measurements over the sequestration site will yield a unique solution for the total sequestered mass of carbon.
  • Compression Seismotectonics in West-Central Idaho
    Most earthquakes in the western interior are related to extensional forces. However, epicenters of the micro-earthquakes during the recent earthquake swarm centered near Alpha, Idaho reveal a northeasterly fault line along the Alpha escarpment, which separates Long Valley from Round Valley. The sense of motion on the Alpha Escarpment was found to be right-lateral strike slip. Furthermore, a fault-plane solution of an earthquake northeast of Deadwood Reservoir, Idaho shows incontrovertible evidence of strike-slip faulting with a northwest-directed compressional axis. A horizontal axis of compression indicates the release of strong horizontal compressional strain on the rocks in the crust during earthquakes, analogous to the geological environment along the coast of California.
  • Hydrogeological Investigation of the Mouth of Coeur d'Alene Lake
    Coeur d'Alene Lake recharges the Rathdrum-Spokane aquifer but the pathway of this recharge is poorly understood. Gravity data collected in cooperation with the Idaho Geological Survey suggests that an ancient channel of the Spokane River passes directly under the city of Coeur d'Alene separate from the present-day path of the river. Gravity modeling is underway to delineate the geometry of the buried river channel.

Department of Geography and Geological Science

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192