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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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

Lake Superior Agates Show at Denver

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum recently showed an exhibit, “Lake Superior Agates: Treasures on the Beaches,” at the 2014 Denver Gem and Mineral Show. The three-day show is the second largest event of its kind in the world and draws an international audience of over 10,000. Associate Curator Christopher Stefano participated in the show’s Meet the Curator event, an opportunity for members of the general public to meet and interact with curators from the major mineral museums that exhibit at the show.

Seaman Garden at Mineral Museum to Be Dedicated

John “Jack” Seaman, grandson of the namesake of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech, and his wife, Phyllis, have given a gift to support the museum’s endowment to further the work of Jack’s grandfather and enhance the museum experience for visitors long into the future. In recognition of their generosity, the Phyllis and John Seaman Garden will be dedicated this Thursday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m. at the Mineral Museum on Sharon Ave.

The dedication ceremony is open to the campus and local communities.

Seaman calls it “Phyllis’s Garden” because his wife is an avid gardener. He will attend the celebration.

The Seamans are underwriting the museum’s endowment in memory of Jack’s grandfather, A. E. Seaman, and his father, Wyllys Seaman. Both A. E. and Wyllys Seaman served on the Michigan Tech faculty.

“The Mineral Museum is a jewel of Michigan Tech,” said Seaman. “We are lucky to have it on the campus.”

Jack Seaman grew up in Houghton, where his father, Wyllys, taught geology and minerology at Michigan Tech and was curator of the Mineral Museum until he retired in 1948. His grandfather, A. E. Seaman, chaired the Department of Geology and Minerology and founded the Mineral Museum named after him in 1902. Seamanite — a transparent yellowish-pink mineral that appears as needle-shaped crystals — was named in his honor.

Rail Transportation Seminar: Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology

sep8Rail Transportation Program and Environmental Engineering Geologists AEG Michigan Tech Student Chapter present Dr. Pauli Kolisoja Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland presented a seminar on rail research at TUT at Michigan Tech on Monday, Sept. 9, 12-1 p.m. at DOW 875.

The title of the seminar is: “Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology”

The Railway Track Structures Research Team at Tampere University (TUT) of Technology consists of about 10 researchers. The research area includes track components from subsoil stability through the structural layers to sleepers, rails and wheel-rail contact. Essential parts of the research area are also bridges and the life cycle and monitoring of track structures. The main emphasis of activity is experimental research based on diverse arrangements from laboratory scale material analyses to field measurements and full-scale loading tests. Research methods are complemented by calculation analyses of performance of structures and literature reviews of international research results. The basis of the on-going track structure research is the Life Cycle Cost Efficient Track research programme (TERA) implemented in co-operation with the Finnish Transport Agency. This presentation provides an overview of research projects conducted at the TUT and related outcomes.

See Railway Track Structures Research Video

Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala,  Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech
Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala, Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech

Petroleum Day: Careers in the Oil & Gas Industry

2005-10-14-011Students interested in a career in the Oil & Gas Industry got their chance to meet recruiters. The Society of Petroleum Engineers hosted various petroleum companies at Michigan Tech for an informational and recruiting event. Companies attending included: Baker Hughes, Chevron, Emerson, Fling Hills Resources, Marathon Petroleum, MOGA, and Trendwell Energy.
Students of all levels and disciplines were welcome and food and beverages were provided!
First year students have the opportunity to ask questions and make connections with industry. Students seeking careers brought their resumes as these companies were here to recruit.
Company Expo: 9am-2pm: East Reading Room, Van Pelt & Opie Library
Panel Discussion: 5-7pm: Panel Discussion: M&M U115
Find out more

More pictures can be seen in the Geo Flickr Gallery
More pictures can be seen in the Geo Flickr Gallery

More pictures in the Geo Flickr Gallery

Alex Mayer appointed Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor

mayerMichigan Tech has appointed Alex Mayer as the Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor. Mayer, who holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, is recognized for his outstanding efforts to bring water-related research, education and outreach to the forefront at Michigan Tech.

“Charlie and Pat were staunch supporters of Michigan Tech and spent a lifetime working with managers of natural resources,” said President Glenn Mroz. “Alex’s career accomplishments and appointment are a fitting tribute to their memory.”

Mayer holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Brown University and master’s and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the Michigan Tech faculty in 1992 and has been a full professor since 2001. Between 2005 and 2011, he also served as the director of the Center for Water and Society.

“Alex is one of the most active researchers on campus, an accomplished scholar, an outstanding teacher and caring adviser, and a highly valued University and department citizen. He is truly one of Michigan Tech’s best,” said Dave Hand, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

John Gierke, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, added, “Throughout my career here as a colleague of Alex’s, I have been so impressed by his record of scholarship and collaborative nature, especially his propensity to involve a diverse group of faculty in large research efforts. This appointment is both fitting and long overdue.”

As principal investigator, Mayer has secured $8.5 million in federal funding and $1.3 million from other sources during his time at Tech. His teaching interests include groundwater flow and transport and subsurface remediation. His current research projects include “A Research Coordination Network on Pan-American Biofuels and Bioenergy Sustainability”; “Environmental CyberCitizens: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Global Environmental Change through Crowdsensing and Visualization”; and “Virtual Water Accounting: A New Paradigm for the Adaptive Management of Great Lakes Water.”

In 2009, Mayer was recognized with the Rudolf Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In the same year, he also received Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award. The Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation recognized him in 2010 with the Manierre Award.

Article in Tech Today by Max Seel, provost and vice president for academic affairs

Summer 2014 GSG Softball Champions

Congratulations to the geo/mining department’s softball team! They took home the traveling trophy by defeating the forestry department in the graduate student government’s (GSG) summer 2014 softball league. This is the first time since 1991 the team has captured the title.

GSG Summer 2014 Softball Champions
GSG Summer 2014 Softball Champions

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.