Wayne Pennington Named President of AGI

Wayne Pennington, chair of the geological and mining engineering and sciences department, has been named president of the American Geosciences Institute (AGI).

Pennington received degrees in geophysics and geology from Princeton University (BA in 1972), Cornell University (MS in 1976) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD in 1979). He has been a professor of geophysical engineering at Michigan Tech since 1994 and became GMES department chair in 2003.

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Bornhorst Teaches Last Field Course

Dr. Ted Bornhorst has taught Summer Field Geology at Michigan Tech for 31 years. This will be his last year and so we provide a photo gallery of the last field geology exam which was followed by a nice late day snack brought by Dr. John Gierke into the field for all to enjoy after a hard day’s work. Dr. Bornhorst surely has taught several hundred students in this essential field course over the years.

Bornhorst said “Field Geology at Michigan Tech has been going on for over 70 years. An important component of Michigan Tech field geology is mapping, I found over the years that students who take this class can be successful mapping anywhere in the world… This class is a great preparation for a life-long career in geology.”

If you are an alumnus of our department and graduated after 1982, then you likely were a field geology student of Professor Ted Bornhorst. He has taught Summer Field Geology at Michigan Tech for the past 31 summers. Pictured here are snippets from his last field course roster on their culminating day at Big Eric’s Bridge in Baraga County. Dr. Bornhorst has been the director of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum for the past 11 years and a professor in the department since 1981. Professor Chad Deering will be teaching field geology next year.

We are preparing for the next departmental newsletter a more thorough history of his leading field geology and placing it in the perspective of the department’s history of educating geologists (over 100 years), geological engineers (over 60 years) and geophysicists (over 40 years since geophysics moved into its current department). We wanted to share these pictures and the news now, since the next newsletter is several months away. If anyone has some old pictures from previous classes, please send them to the department (geo@mtu.edu; dates, places and names would be greatly appreciated!). Congratulations Ted!

Professor Bornhorst’s last full field class, 13 June 2014. First Row (l-r): Brittany Blood, Carly Siko, Ben Pletcher, Dr. Bornhorst, Emma Zellmer, Kara Donahue, Britteny Szabo; Second Row: Elizabeth Seiberlich, Joseph Lawinger, Jacob Tresnak, Audrey Hutton, Charlie Breithaupt, and Research Scientist/Engineer Bob Barron; Third Row: Laura O’Connor, Cara Hemmila, Kaitlyn Voet, and Austin Fisher; Back Row: Blake Joseph, Ronnie Knoll, Ben Kramka, Evan Birkett, and Chris Carefoot.

After the students turned in their maps of the complex geology, Dr. Bornhorst explains the geologic setting, including the implications for the presence of uranium minerals and the history of the formations.
Never one to pass up an opportunity for a party, Interim Chair and Professor John Gierke arrived at the conclusion of the day with provisions (sandwiches and sparkling grape juice and sodas) to toast Ted’s last class.
Dr. Bornhorst confirming (or correcting?) Austin’s rock/mineral identification.; Summer Field Geology at Michigan Tech

More photos at Summer Field Geology at Michigan Tech

Video Michigan Tech Engineer Channel on YouTube:
Michigan Tech Engineer·Dr. Ted Bornhorst taught Summer Field Geology at Michigan Tech for 31 years. In this video clip he reflects on the history and the benefits on the program for students.

Keweenaw Geoheritage–Tours by Water and Land

Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is known as a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local expert Bill Rose to learn how to read this landscape and how it came to be the way it is today. The Copper Country has a strong geoheritage comprised of five major events in Earth’s history. Rose has designed several two-day field trips that address each of these specific themes. Participants can look forward to covering lots of ground and being outside all the time with travel by boat, van and short walks.

1 Lavas, July 21-22: This trip focuses on the Keweenaw’s black rocks and its deep earth volcanic past; the site of Earth’s largest lava outpourings. We will visit massive lava flows and learn how they shape and influence the Keweenaw Peninsula.
2. The Keweenaw Fault, July 23-24: This trip focuses on the magnificent Keweenaw Fault, a massive thrust fault which split the peninsula lengthwise and uplifted rocks, including native copper, to a place where people could find it. This feature has shaped and beautified the Keweenaw but is no longer an active hazard.
3. Jacobsville Sandstone, July 25-26: The red rocks of the Keweenaw originate from the ancient, and once massive, Huron Mountains that eroded and filled the great valley of the Keweenaw rift. We will visit important fossils in the area, an ancient window to the origins of life on Earth.

Each two-day trip costs $325 and includes lunch. Full more information, trip highlights and registration please visit: Geoheritage Tours.

For specific questions email: keweenawgeology@gmail.com

A story about Faculty Emeritus Bill Rose’s summer geoheritage program was picked up by the Associated Press and shared with the San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Antonio Express, Washington Times, and other media outlets.

Vye receives 2014 Chrysalis Scholarship

Erika Vye has received the 2014 Chrysalis Scholarship. This award provides degree-completion funding for women geoscience graduate students whose education has been significantly interrupted by life circumstances. The awards are intended to cover costs associated with completion of her thesis/dissertation, beyond what is traditionally covered by primary research funding.

Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Program #1 Again

For the 9th consecutive year, Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps program is ranked 1st in the nation for having the largest number of Peace Corps Master’s International students. This clip (http://abc10up.com/michigan-tech-garners-national-acclaim-for-peace-corps-program/), which aired on ABC 10 News Tuesday, May 13, 2014, included interviews with two of our department’s returning Peace Corps Volunteers. Edrick Ramos and Tyler Barton were able to share their experiences. The clip also featured photos courtesy of Jay Wellik and Brie Rust.

Senior Design Petroleum Group Invited to Present

In May 2014 this year’s senior design capstone group focusing on petroleum engineering was invited to the Northern Michigan Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association (MOGA) meetings. Their talk, “A Technical Evaluation of the Sycamore Limestone Formation in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma” was presented at the SPE meeting where they were commended for the amount of work they were able to accomplish over two semesters. Data for the project was provided by Vitruvian Exploration LLC, and student travel was funded by Apache Corporation.

These meetings allowed the group consisting Garvie Crane, Audrey Hutton, & Charles Breithaupt an opportunity to network with alumni and employees in the oil and gas industry.

Geoscientists Without Borders Sponsors Michigan Tech Project

Geoscientists Without Borders®, the humanitarian program launched by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) six years ago, will sponsor a Michigan Technological University project concerned with predicting activity at the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala that erupted as recently as 2 March this year. Michigan Tech will perform the field work under the leadership of principal investigator Professor Thomas Oommen. The main goal is to improve the ability of local organizations in Guatemala to more accurately monitor the activity of the volcano to facilitate early warning and to improve the quality of the information available to local leaders in crisis situations. “In the past, several faculty and students from the department have contributed to the study of volcanic hazard at Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala. However, lack of data and instrumentation at Pacaya has remained as a challenge. This project provides an opportunity to overcome this challenge and acquire geophysical instrumentation to monitor the hazard at Pacaya. These datasets obtained from this instrumentation will be extremely valuable to build the capacity of local emergency agencies, improve our understanding of volcanic hazards at Pacaya, and validate and advance the remote sensing based research carried. This is, undoubtedly, an exciting opportunity. It brings together a multi-disciplinary team of Geological Engineer (Dr. Thomas Oommen, Assistant Professor), Geologist (Dr. Rudiger Escobar-Wolf, Post-doctoral Fellow), and Geophysicist (Dr. Greg Waite, Associate Professor) to study one of the most active volcanoes in the Central America with long history of eruption and edifice collapse/landslide. The activity at Pacaya also poses a great humanitarian need considering that about 9,000 people live less than 5 km from the active cone and were evacuated 11 times in the past 24 years.” – Thomas Oommen. Other participating organizations are Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterolocia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Pacaya Volcano National Park, Centro de Estudios Superiores de Energia y Minsas – San Carlos University, Instituto Geografico Nacional.
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Jeremy Shannon wins Outstanding Faculty Award

On April 13, about 250 students gathered for the 2014 Greek Life Awards in the MUB Ballroom representing the Michigan Tech Fraternities and Sororities. This is the eighth year of the awards ceremony, but it was the first year for the Outstanding Faculty Award to be included in the program. The Outstanding Faculty Award for 2014 was presented to Jeremy Shannon.

Order of Omega, the Greek Life Honor Society that coordinates the awards, wanted to find a way to recognize the faculty members that the students consider to be the most outstanding. There are almost 500 students in fraternities and sororities at Michigan Tech, and Order of Omega really wanted to emphasize that this award would be coming directly from the students.

The following faculty members were nominated by members of the Greek community and were recognized at the 2014 Greek Life Awards Ceremony:
* Mari Buche (SBE)
* William Sproule (CEE)
* John Durocher (Bio Sci)
* Jeremy Shannon (GMES)
* Marika Seigel (HU)

Research News in GMES Department

PI Thomas Oommen and Co-Pis Rudigar Escobar Wolf and Greg Waite (GMES) have been awarded a $100,000 research grant from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation for “Building Local Capacities for Monitoring Eruptive and Catastrophic Landslide Activity at Pacaya Volcano (Guatemala), through International Partnership and Collaboration.”

Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund Awards Announced: The Vice President for Research Office is pleased to announce the 2015 REF awards and would like to thank the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.
Infrastructure Enhancement Grants: John Gierke, GMES
Research Seed Grants: Chad Deering, GMES; Thomas Oommen, GMES

Robert Shuchman, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute, has been reappointed to the North Slope Science Initiative Science Technical Advisory Panel. He has served on the interdisciplinary panel, which studies and makes recommendations for research and science policy on the North Slope of Alaska, since its inception in 2007.

Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ news website reported on three new Geoscientists Without Borders projects, including one in Guatemala led by assistant professor Thomas Oommen (GMES).

Simon Carn (GMES) has received a $16,772 grant for “Improving Constraints on Volcanic CO2 Emissions from the Vanuatu Arc” from the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Guy Meadows (GLRC) has received $25,000 for the first year of a potential two-year project from the University of Michigan for “Restoring, Retrofitting and Recoupling Michigan’s Great Lakes Shorelands in the Face of Global Climate Disruption.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES/GLRC) has been awarded a four-year, $82,739 research grant from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Continuation and Enhancement of MPOWIR.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES) has received $228,117 for the first year of a three-year $667,117 research grant from NASA for “Parameterizing Spectral Characteristics of Optically Active Constituents in Inland Water for Improved Satellite Retrieval.” Continue reading