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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MESTA to Award Salotti Earth Science Education Award

Since 1999, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum has recognized individuals for excellence in earth science education with the Charles A. Salotti Earth Science Education Award. Now the mineral museum has a new partner in selecting the awardee: the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA).

Thanks to the efforts of museum director Ted Bornhorst and Tiger Salotti, wife of the late Charles Salotti, MESTA has agreed to promote the Salotti Award, solicit nominations and select the awardee.

The award will now be focused on recognizing excellence in informal earth science education and/or mentoring. Informal approaches to earth science education include exposing students to experiences outside the classroom setting through field trips, field-based explorations/projects, the creation of exhibitions, museum-based exploration/projects, weekend workshops and extramural clubs. The mentoring aspect of the award focuses on the positive impact that mentors have both on students, such as helping them to think about careers in earth science, and on other educators, such as professional development.

“I am delighted that MESTA has agreed to partner with the museum to advance informal earth science education,” said John Jaszczak, museum adjunct curator and professor of physics, who has played a key role in the Salotti Award since its inception. “My own path to becoming a scientist started with informal mentoring in the mineral collecting hobby.”

Support for the Salotti Award is provided by the Edith Dunn and E. Wm. Heinrich Mineralogical Research Trust, the mineral museum and the family of the late Charles A. Salotti. Both Tiger, trustee, and the late Charles Salotti have been strong supporters of the mineral museum.

For more information about MESTA and the award, visit the MESTA Awards and Grants website.

Community Natural History Seminar about Local Wildlife by Prof. Rolf Peterson

image23337-scolOn Tuesday, December 16, Professor Rolf Peterson, MTU expert on Wildlife Ecology, will lead a discussion titled “Animal Elements of Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale”. The event is part of a monthly series of sessions on the Geoheritage and Natural History of the Keweenaw, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. The discussions are aimed at the general public, but discuss current research and science.

Professor Peterson explains his discussion: “In the 19th and 20th centuries many wild animal species in the Keweenaw, along with the forest, were wiped out or reduced by unregulated harvest and widespread fire. Protective game regulations and regrowth of the forest allowed some species to recover, a process that continues today. Isle Royale was affected by the same influences, to various degrees. Peterson will review the status of prominent and obscure species of wild animals, including many that are presently experiencing rapid change. ”

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, located at Huron & Montezuma in downtown Houghton. Seminars are held in the recently restored Community Room on the ground level of this historic building. Lectures are free, open to the public, and barrier free (wheelchair accessible). For each monthly lecture, the museum will open at 6:30 pm for refreshments; lectures and discussion occur from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Web information is here. Please contact the Museum for further information, 906-482-7140.

EPSSI Seminar: Shock Tube Recreations of Shock Waves and Jets Generated During Explosive Volcanic Eruptions

The Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute
proudly presents:
Ezequiel Medici, MTU ME-EM Research Engineer
The EPSSI seminar for Monday, December 1, 4:00 p.m., M&M U113

“Shock Tube Recreations of Shock Waves and Jets Generated During Explosive Volcanic Eruptions”

Abstract: At the beginning of a suddenly explosive volcanic eruptions two types of phenomena can be observed, the formation of a shock wave immediately followed by a supersonic jet of expanding vapor-solid-liquid mixture. The intensity of the shock wave and the structure of the supersonic jet can carry a significant amount of information about the intensity and the dynamics of the volcanic eruption. Despite the hazard they represent to the immediate surrounding area of the volcano vent, these atmospheric shock waves and the subsequent sonic wave can be safely measured at a long distance from the vent. This characteristic makes the measurement of shock/sonic waves suitable for safe, real-time remote sensing of the conditions at the volcanic vent during the eruption. Preliminary results, based on the experiment performed on the shock tube, indicate a strong correlation between the energy released by the eruption, calculated by standard methods post eruption, and the intensity of the shock wave as measured through its pressure field. This correlation could ultimately lead to a more reliable model of shock/sound wave propagation which will serve as an early warning system for the air traffic control.

Immediately after the shock wave, an over pressurized jet mixture of vapor, solid particles, and liquid begins to expand. This mixture typically contains a relatively high concentration of solid particles of different size. To study the coupled interaction between the expanding gas and the particles, a series of analog explosive volcanic experiments using the atmospheric shock tube were performed. High-speed shadowgraph imaging of the expanding jet mixtures is recorded for different initial jet energy, particle sizes and particle concentrations. The study and observations of the interaction between the mixture of expanding gas and particles can elucidate the mechanisms acting during the initial stage of the formation of ash plumes or pyroclastic flows.

Community Lecture/Discussion: What’s Up with Lake Superior?

345On Tuesday, November 18, Professor Sarah Green, expert on Lake Superior, will lead a discussion titled Lake Superior’s history and future. The event is part of a monthly series of sessions on the Geoheritage and Natural History of the Keweenaw, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. The discussions are aimed at the general public, but discuss current research and science.

Professor Green explains her discussion: “Lake Superior defines our region. It’s a powerful force that is both constant and changing. I will show how we can see day-to-day conditions on Lake Superior from buoys. I will also talk about how the lake has changed over the past hundred years and what we predict for its future. Bring your questions! What makes the beaches change from one day to the next? Why does the water level change from one year to the next? How does water move around the lake? What changes have you seen during the time you have lived here?”

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, located at Huron & Montezuma in downtown Houghton. Seminars are held in the recently restored Community Room on the ground level of this historic building. Lectures are free, open to the public, and barrier free (wheelchair accessible). For each monthly lecture, the museum will open at 6:30 pm for refreshments; lectures and discussion occur from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Please contact the Museum for further information, 906-482-7140.

Gari Mayberry Featured in Washington Post

image86273-lthumbMichigan Tech 1999 MS Geology Alum Gari Mayberry was featured in the Washington Post article “Gari Mayberry: Lessening the impact of natural disasters worldwide” She is employed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) while working at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). wHer work involves the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) where she is leading and coordinating the U.S. government’s response to disasters overseas and mitigation of geological hazards.

Read her Alumni Profile: Gari Mayberry

GMES Representation at IAVCEI Conference

The International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) Cities on Volcanoes 8 Conference was held September 9-13, 2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Nine students, alumni, and faculty/staff presented at the conference.

Those in attendance are pictured (left – right) below:  Jennifer Telling, post-doc; Verity Flower, PhD candidate; Christine Sealing, MS graduate – INVOGE program; Kathleen McKee, MS graduate; Lauren Schaefer, PhD candidate; Anieri Morales Rivera, MS graduate; John “Jay” Wellik, MS graduate – PCMI program; Simon Carn, Associate Professor; and Lizzette Rodriguez, PhD graduateIAVCEI-Conference-914

Research News in GMES Department

Assistant Professor Thomas Oommen (GMES/CEE) is mentioned in the December 2014 issue of the ASCE’s Civil Engineering Magazine. Oommen is collaborating with researchers from the University of Arkansas and Idaho State University to develop a device that could help detect post-wildfire landslides through remote sensing.

Thomas Oommen (GMES/MTTI) has received $116,864 from the University of Arkansas for a two-year research project, “Remote Sensing Based Assessment System for Evaluating Risk to Transportation Infrastructure Following Wildfires.”

C2E2 Fund Awards Announced: Vice President for Research David Reed has awarded the following Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund (C2E2) awards at the recommendation of the C2E2 Committee.In GMES Department: Thomas Oommen, Jason Gulley and Jeremy Shannon (GMES): ground penetrating radar 100 MHz PulseEKKO PRO

Robert Shuchman and Colin Brooks (MTRI) have received $2,600 from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for a research and development project, “Feasibility of Using Remote Satellite Imaging to Remotely Identify Lake Trout Spawning Sites.”
Technology Century, an online and print publication of the Engineering Society of Detroit, featured editor Matt Roush’s interviews with faculty and graduate students from the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, the first stop on his annual Tech Tour of university campuses in Michigan.

Informed Infrastructure—a news website about the infrastructure industry—and the University of Arkansas’s Newswire published articles about the the USDOT-funded research of Assistant Professor Thomas Oommen (GMES). Oommen and colleagues are developing a sysrem to assess risk of mudslides, rockfalls and other natural shifts in the ground underlying highways and railroad tracks.
See Informed Infrastructure and University of Arkansas’s Newswire.

Chad Deering (GMES) has received $83,622 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a two-year research and development project titled “Collaborative Research: RUI: Probing Caldera-Forming Magmatism: Crystal Accumulation in Large, Upper Crustal Silicic Magma Chambers.”

PI Colleen Mouw (GMES) was awarded $256,946 from NASA for her research “Implications of Changing Sea-Ice on Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Biomass and Community Structure in the Bering Sea.”

PI Simon Carn (GMES) and Co-PI Verity Flower (GMES) were awarded $30,000 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for their project “Identification of Volcanic Cycles Using a Multi-Sensor Satellite Data Analysis Technique.”

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

Fifth Annual Marvin Party at Continental Fire Company

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The Marvin Party Reached Its Goal

by Jennifer Donovan, director of news and media relations

Marvin Rene Huezo Mendoza will be able to pay for his final year of university in San Salvador and graduate in 2015.

Hans Lechner and Emily Gochis, graduate students who organized the annual Marvin Party to raise money to put Marvin through university, have announced that the Marvin Party this year met and exceeded its goal. Anything that remains after Mendoza’s bills are paid will go to help other students sponsored by Project Salvador.

The party was last Friday at the Continental Fire Company, which donated the venue.

“We couldn’t have done it without all of you who came out to the party, or made donations to the cause,” said Lechner. “Thank you so much. We are grateful to you all.”

Lechner and his wife, Gochis, were in El Salvador where Lechner was serving in a Peace Corps Master’s International program when they met Marvin, a 17-year-old who had been crippled by polio as a child. When they returned to the US, determined to help him, they organized the first Marvin Party in 2010. It has become an annual event.

UPDATE View the pictures

The fifth annual Marvin Party was scheduled for 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Oct. 10, at the Continental Fire Company. Proceeds from the party help Michigan Tech graduate students Hans Lechner and Emily Gochis put a disabled Salvadoran boy through college.

Lechner and his wife, Gochis, were in El Salvador where Lechner was serving in a Peace Corps Master’s International program when they met Marvin Rene Huezo Mendoza, a 17-year-old who had been crippled by polio as a child. They were impressed with Marvin’s artistic abilities, his intellect and his knowledge of music. They soon became close friends.

When they returned to the US in 2009, they couldn’t stop thinking about Marvin. “Here was this proud, smart person who had taken the initiative to get himself a high school education, and he couldn’t even get around,” says Gochis. “He needs an opportunity to use his intellect.”

They held the first Marvin Party in the fall of 2010, to raise money to send Marvin to college. Now he’s a senior, due to graduate in 2015.

“This year, we need to raise $2,400 for tuition, graduation fees, and his cap and gown,” Lechner says.

The campus and community are welcome at The Marvin Party. Live music will feature Los Bandeleros, Electric Park, Mike Waite, the Street Sweepers and What the Folk?

There is a $10 cover. Happy hour is 5 to 7 p.m.

GMES Department celebrates visit of distinguished earth science educator

This wednesday October 1, Prof Emeritus Hank Woodard of Beloit College will visit friends in Houghton, Pete and Carol Ekstrom. Woodard has been a forceful leader of earth sciences education for more than 50 years, at Beloit College. Geosciences are absent or under emphasized in US schools so most professionals in the field do not discover its advantages until they come to college. And even then, many colleges either do not offer the field or they underfund it, perceiving it to have limited interest. In view of the importance of earth science in environmental and sustainability issues this is bad for the country. Beloit, with Woodard’s vision and energy, has shown the way for others by developing an exemplary and high visibility undergraduate geosciences program that has fed many students who were headed elsewhere into academic and industrial careers in earth science. He was an early leader of the Keck Geology Consortium–an association of undergraduate earth science programs and a major source of excellent graduate students for the world.
A reception celebrating Woodard’s visit will take place this wednesday October 1 at 5 pm —in the 6th floor Atrium of the Dow Building. Woodard will be accompanied by two other Beloit associates: Prof Emeritus Richard Stenstrom and Mary-Margaret Coates (now at Colorado School of Mines). Wine and beer can be purchased onsite with refreshments. There will be a brief recognition of the visitor at 5:30 pm. Come and toast this national educational leader!

New Community-linked Seminar through Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw

90351923_F5Qkg-LProfessor Bill Rose has unveiled a new kind of seminar series which is hoped to reach the non-university community—he said: “I have lived here for 45 years, but I haven’t done a good job for the local community. I’d like to change that, now that I am retired. How does the university help the local community? How do we communicate? I have found that non-university residents are inhibited about coming to campus—-many feel isolated from the university community. I also perceive that university faculty do not think that community service is as highly valued by the University as service away from home. Maybe we can correct that to some degree. The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is off campus and is an entity of the city, not the university—-could it serve as a place where the town community and the university meet?” As a Carnegie Board member, I have planned a seminar series for the next 10 months on subject related to Natural History of the Keweenaw—a big part of the museum’s mission.”

“The seminars will happen every second or third tuesday from September to April. I contacted experienced senior researchers to address topics that connect with our lives— about things that should interest teachers, students, residents and the university community. I am hoping that the presentations will attract the community as well as the university, partly because we will do the sessions in a newly remodeled room in the Carnegie Museum—in downtown Houghton in early evenings. We have comfortable chairs, refreshments and good projectors. There will be informative discussions about important local themes. We will cover lots of science issues—earth science, botanical and animal issues, the atmosphere and weather, Lake Superior, First Nations communities and global change. But we will target a general audience. I think the topics are all things of broad interest to Keweenaw residents. What do University researchers think are important local issues to discuss? What are residents interested in? We will find out.”

The Seminar information is all on a web page:
http://www.geo.mtu.edu/~raman/SilverI/CarnegieSem