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)