Boulder Garden Project for Elementary Students

WLUC TV6 aired a story about students at Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Elementary School building a boulder garden. The project is funded by a Michigan Space Grant Consortium geoheritage pilot grant to Michigan Tech to create boulder gardens and rock walks at CLK and E. B. Holman Elementary Schools, using representative rocks of the Keweenaw.

Students are also designing interpretative signage to accompany the installations with info about rock types and how geology has influenced life in the Keweenaw.

Boulder Garden Wheelbarrow

Boulder Garden Students

Boulder Garden Kinders


Correspondence on the Michigan Mineral Alliance

Nature Volume 546The prestigious journal, Nature, published a correspondence last week titled “A rescue package for imperiled collection” by Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, along with co-authors Chris Poulsen, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan and Rod Ewing, professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Frank Stanton, professor in nuclear security at Stanford University.

The correspondence was in response to an editorial in Nature on how academic natural history collections can be saved from destruction by uniting them at regional hubs. The correspondence discusses “rescue” the University of Michigan mineral collection under an agreement between the University of Michigan and Michigan Tech termed the Michigan Mineral Alliance. (To learn more about the agreement see here.)

The correspondence is publicly available as part of Springer Nature Content Sharing Initiative here.


Land, Water and History: Exploring Our Geoheritage

Bill Rose and Keweenaw GeologyThe first time I saw Lake Superior, I had no words. I couldn’t describe the majesty of this tremendous body of fresh water.

Growing up on the East Coast of Canada, I didn’t think much could rival the mighty Atlantic Ocean. I discovered how wrong I was when I moved to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula seven years ago to study geoscience education at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Since then, my love for the Lake and my curiosity about the region have grown.

Read more at Lake Superior Magazine, by Erika Vye.


63rd Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology

Institute on Lake Superior Geology

The Ontario Geological Survey, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum teamed up to co-host the 63rd Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology held in Wawa, Ontario May 8-12.

This professional meeting consisted of two days of technical sessions with 29 oral and 22 poster presentations. There were three geological field trips before the technical sessions and three after.

The meeting was attended by 137 geologists from the US and Canada. Academic institutions (58 members), government agencies (28 members), and mining and consulting companies (36 members) were well represented among attendees.

Margaret Hanson, museum assistant director, served as registrar for the meeting while Ted Bornhorst, museum executive director and professor, organized the meeting sessions, handled finances and decided on travel awards to students.

The Institute publishes technical volumes in hard copy for each meeting and offers them open-access online after the meeting is completed.

Bornhorst and Hanson co-edited the Institute on Lake Superior Geology, Proceedings Volume 63, Part 1: Program and Abstracts (97p.). They also compiled Part 2: Field Trip Guidebook (204p.).

The Institute is well regarded for its high quality field trips having recently won a national award from the Geoscience Information Society for the Outstanding Geologic Field Trip Guidebook Series.

The Institute initiated a new annual award for 2017, Pioneer of Lake Superior Geology, to recognize those individuals who made significant contributions to the understanding of the geology of the Lake Superior region primarily prior to the Institute’s awarding of the prestigious annual Goldich Medal in 1979.

The first Pioneer of Lake Superior Geology is Douglass Houghton (1809-1845). Bornhorst nominated Houghton for the award and wrote, along with Larry Molloy, President of the Keweenaw County Historical Society, the two-page biographical sketch published in the Proceedings Volume. As the first speaker for the technical sessions, Bornhorst provided the highlights of the important attributes that contributed to Houghton’s success.

By Ted Bornhorst, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


ERUPT: Report Identifies Grand Challenges for Scientific Community to Better Prepare for Volcanic Eruptions

Despite broad understanding of volcanoes, our ability to predict the timing, duration, type, size, and consequences of volcanic eruptions is limited, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Meanwhile, millions of people live in volcanically active areas around the world.

 

ERUPT - NAP report
ERUPT: A National Academies report published in April 2017

Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing (ERUPT) identifies grand challenges for the scientific community to better prepare for volcanic eruptions. Michigan Tech volcanologist Simon Carn (GMES) was an author on the report, and served with 11 other volcanologists and scientists on the Committee on Improving Understanding of Volcanic Eruptions that prepared the report. Their goal: improving eruption forecasting and warnings to save lives.

According to the NAP media release on the report, “Volcano monitoring is critical for forecasting eruptions and mitigating risks of their hazards. However, few volcanoes are adequately observed, and many are not monitored at all. For example, fewer than half of the 169 potentially active volcanoes in the US have any seismometers–an instrument to detect small earthquakes that signal underground magma movement. And only three have continuous gas measurements, which are crucial because the composition and quantity of dissolved gases in magma drive eruptions. Enhanced monitoring combined with advances in experimental and mathematical models of volcanic processes can improve the understanding and forecasting of eruptions.”

“This report was requested by NASA, NSF and USGS, the three main sources of funding for volcano science in the US, to identify some of the grand challenges in the field,” says Carn. “It was a privilege to serve on this distinguished committee and help craft a document that we hope will guide and strengthen future research efforts in volcanology.”

“The National Academies convenes committees of experts to review the current understanding of pressing issues and identify priorities for future progress in addressing the issues,” adds Michigan Tech  Department Chair John Gierke (GMES). “Committee reports play important roles in formulating government policies and setting priorities for funding scientific research. Dr. Carn is a global leader in remote sensing for monitoring volcanic emissions and surely contributed a comprehensive assessment of the state of knowledge and recommend how different disciplinary fields could bring new perspectives and approaches to advance the understanding of volcanic hazards.”

Electronic (free) and hard copies ($40) of Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing are available online. More information is available in the NAP media release about the report.

The 2016– 2017 Eruption of Bogoslof Volcano, Aleutian Islands, United States

Bogoslof, a remote, mostly submarine volcano in the Aleutian Island arc began erupting in late December 2016 and activity continues as of February 2017. The Bogoslof eruption highlights several of the challenges facing volcano science. Over one month, the volcano produced numerous explosions with plumes rising 20,000–35,000 ft, posing a significant hazard to North Pacific aviation. There are no ground-based instruments (e.g., seismometers) on the volcano, and so the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has been relying on distant seismometers, satellite data, infrasound, and lightning detection to monitor activity (Challenge 3). Bogoslof’s submerged vent obscures any preemptive thermal or gas signals, and infrasound and lightning are detectable only after eruptions have begun (Challenge 1). AVO has been unable to provide early warning of these hazardous events. The eruption also highlights our limited understanding of magma–water interactions and raises important questions regarding the controls on phreatomagmatic explosivity, column altitude, ash removal, and pauses (Challenge 2). In more than 20 discrete events, the emerging volcano has reshaped its coastlines repeatedly, providing snapshots of volcano–landscape interactions. The figure below shows the first evidence for an ash-rich (brown-grey) plume, almost one month into the eruptive activity.

Excerpted from Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, April 2017

 

Bogoslof Volcano
Image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite showing an eruption plume from Bogoslof volcano on January 18, 2017. The red dot at the base of the eruption cloud is a thermal anomaly on the volcanic edifice. Inset shows a high-resolution image of the volcano from January 11, 2017, with subsequent morphological changes indicated (image courtesy of USGS/AVO).


Huntoon on Diversity in Geosciences

Jackie Huntoon
Jackie Huntoon

A new report reveals that increasing numbers of women are studying and working in the geosciences, but the field continues to lag in attracting underrepresented groups.

Jackie Huntoon, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, has previously researched diversity in the geosciences and addresses it head-on in her current role. Increases in race and ethnicity are just not happening, she said.

The number of Ph.D.’s awarded in a field tells an important story because the number indicates what is happening at the leadership levels, according to Huntoon.

Read more at Eos, Earth & Space Science News, by Aaron Sidder.


Simon Carn Comments on Kambalny Volcano Activity

The Daily Mail (London) published an article about the eruption of a large Russian volcano. The article quoted Tech volcano expert Simon Carn (GMES).

Stunning footage shows a giant Russian volcano violently erupting for the first time in 250 YEARS

  • The 7,103ft tall (2.2km high) Kambalny volcano is in the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east of Russia
  • The colossal volcano recently became active and spewed out a 60-mile long ash plume visible from space

Nasa scientists warned that the volcano may have spewed out large amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2), which is harmful to human lungs.

The higher SO2 amounts downwind could be due to multiple factors, including variable emissions at the volcano (such as an initial burst), increasing altitude of the plume downwind or decreasing ash content downwind,

Simon Carn, an atmospheric scientist at Michigan Technological University, told the Earth Observatory.

Read more at the Daily Mail, by Will Stewart.

Kambalny Volcano Plume
Kambalny Volcano ash plume on March 25, 2017. Image from NASA Earth Observatory

Museum Specimen Featured on 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Poster

Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum announces that one of its specimens is featured on the poster commemorating the 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (TGMS).

The specimen is a 13 cm copper crystal group from the Phoenix Mine in Keweenaw County. The specimen is among the finest copper specimens in the museum’s holdings. It was donated to Michigan Tech by Lucius L. Hubbard circa 1917.

Read more at Tech Today, by the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.