Category Archives: News

Richard E. Honrath 1961-2009 Memorial

“Richard was such a wonderful person, with such compassion and sincerity. He was a fellow student at Caltech, and we were project partners for a freshman engineering course, as well as in the same dorm. He lived a life he loved, with outdoor activities, research, and family. I remember his excitement to stay in Alaska, while his two travel companions for the summer road trip returned back to the comfort of California.”

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Geology Grad Student Wins National Recognition

by Tom Schneider, student writer

For Alex Guth, being a graduate student is hardly a passive ordeal.

Recently, the Association for Women Geoscientists awarded the Brunton Award to Guth. This award, named for a top manufacturer of high-end compasses, is a prestigious commendation for work in field mapping and data acquisition. The award will include a personally engraved compass from Brunton.

“We are very proud of Alex’s work and are glad to see it recognized by a well respected organization like the Association for Women Geoscientists,” said Professor Wayne Pennington, chair of the geological and mining engineering and sciences department. Guth is pursuing a PhD in Geology.

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“Gigantic Magnetofossils” Ruled in Ancient Global-Warming Climate

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor, Michigan Tech

Ancient “giant” spearheads and spindles have been discovered deep within New Jersey rock formations by a team of scientists.

These biominerals are actually about four microns long–hundreds would fit on the period at the end of this sentence. But they are much larger than those previously discovered and have huge potential regarding global warming yesterday, today and tomorrow.

These magnetofossils are new to the biomineral world, according to Michigan Tech paleomagnetist Aleksey Smirnov, a member of the research team. They discovered that 55 million years ago, the earth warmed by 6 to 8 degree Celsius after huge amounts of organic carbon entered the atmosphere. Although this ancient global-warming episode–the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)–remains a mystery, it might offer analogies for future environmental impacts of possible global warming.

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Former Students Establish Scholarship in Memory of Bill Gregg

Dr. William J. Gregg Memorial Page
William J. Gregg Scholarship Fund

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer, Tech Today

Two of Bill Gregg’s former students have established a scholarship fund in his memory.

Seth and Shannon (Bair) Lemke both graduated from Michigan Tech in 2000, Shannon with a BS in Geological Engineering and Seth with a dual major in geological engineering and geophysics.

The couple has provided an initial gift for the William J. Gregg Annual Scholarship, which honors the memory of the former faculty member in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. Gregg died Dec. 6 in an accidental fall down the Quincy Mine Hoist No. 2 Shaft, in Quincy Township.

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Up, Up and Away: Studying Volcanoes With Balloons

Using Balloons to Study Volcanoes in Hawaii

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Balloons take to sky for volcanic gas study
Science Daily Studying Volcanoes With Balloons
Yahoo News Geologists study volcanoes with balloons

Adam Durant and Matt Watson, both of whom are alumni and adjunct faculty at Michigan Technological University, are doing postdoctoral work at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. They have been conducting some interesting research into volcanic plumes using meteorologic balloons. See the video from the BBC. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Field Trip to Alaska

The faculty and students conducted research projects in several locations including the Bering Glacier, Vitus Lake, Midtimber Lake, and Seal River.

Acccording to Michigan Tech Associate Professor of Geological and Environmental Engineering John Gierke, “Due to glaciers being remote locations and the fact that they are hundreds of feet thick, we do not understand how they move very well and their interactions with the underlying rocks upon which they travel. Since we can not see what is happening, we are attempting to ‘hear’ the interactions and then deduce where and what is going on.”

“Our listening devices are seismometers, identical in principle to the ones that are used for monitoring earthquakes, and we deployed 3 on the Bering Glacier and 7 others on islands, peninsulas, and shores near the glacier edge, and they collected data that we hope will tell us when and where bedrock was being broken by the glacier moving and glacier ‘calving’ (breaking) events, but we have to remove a lot of uninteresting data too, like helicopter an

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Alex Mayer Receives $29,904 from the U.S. Department of Education

Alex Mayer has received a $29,904 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for his project, “ExCit: Expanding Cities–People, Water and Infrastructure.” Previously, Professor Mayer received $35,028 for the first year of a three-year project totaling $299,860, “MTU-UNISON Linkage: Training a Core of Water Resource Experts,” from the American Council on Education.