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.

Continue reading

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

On 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

Fifth Annual Marvin Party at Continental Fire Company

IMG_2068

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

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

Research News in GMES Department

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