All posts by Sue Hill

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.



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.



Michigan Tech Alumnus Donates Copper Crystal to Museum

Quincy Mine
Quincy Mine

Michigan Tech alumnus Jeff Nuttall (’68) and his wife Louise have donated an outstanding copper crystal to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

The crystal of copper, from the Quincy Mine in Hancock, has near-perfect form. The museum has the finest cumulative collection in the world of crystallized copper specimens. The Nuttalls’ donation is more than twice the size of the next-best crystal of the same form in the museum’s collection. Among the thousands of copper crystals from the Copper Country in other museum and private collections, very few show such perfect form.

Associate Curator Chris Stefano notes that “Despite its small size, this specimen is among the finest copper crystals in the museum’s extensive holdings.”

Nuttall is a semi-retired geologist running Vicksburg Petroleum out of Houston, Texas and has an extensive collection of minerals from the local region. He has a great love for the Copper Country and has collected minerals since his time at Michigan Tech.

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.