Category Archives: News

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

Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million from Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to Reform Middle-School Science Education

Young children are naturally curious about everything around them. They want to know how and why things work. Then, around middle school age, many of them lose that natural attraction to science and engineering.
A team of university and public school educators in Michigan say they know what’s wrong with middle school science education. And, with a $5 million, three-year grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, they intend to develop and test some solutions.
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Geoscientists Without Borders Helping Guatemalans Monitor Pacaya Volcano

Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano needs monitoring to prevent death and destruction from eruptions and landslides, and Michigan Technological University researchers are helping local residents and government agencies do just that.
As part of a two-year, $100,000 project, Thomas Oommen, Gregory Waite, and Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf have joined their Guatemalan counterparts scouting the countryside around the volcano to come up with the best sites for monitoring equipment. It’s the first step in compiling information to set up equipment for volcanic monitoring, part of a Society of Exploration Geophysicists-Geoscientists Without Borders (SEG-GWB) project.
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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.

Keweenaw Geoheritage–Tours by Water and Land

Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is known as a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local expert Bill Rose to learn how to read this landscape and how it came to be the way it is today. The Copper Country has a strong geoheritage comprised of five major events in Earth’s history. Rose has designed several two-day field trips that address each of these specific themes. Participants can look forward to covering lots of ground and being outside all the time with travel by boat, van and short walks.

UPDATE:

1 Lavas, July 21-22: This trip focuses on the Keweenaw’s black rocks and its deep earth volcanic past; the site of Earth’s largest lava outpourings. We will visit massive lava flows and learn how they shape and influence the Keweenaw Peninsula.
2. The Keweenaw Fault, July 23-24: This trip focuses on the magnificent Keweenaw Fault, a massive thrust fault which split the peninsula lengthwise and uplifted rocks, including native copper, to a place where people could find it. This feature has shaped and beautified the Keweenaw but is no longer an active hazard.
3. Jacobsville Sandstone, July 25-26: The red rocks of the Keweenaw originate from the ancient, and once massive, Huron Mountains that eroded and filled the great valley of the Keweenaw rift. We will visit important fossils in the area, an ancient window to the origins of life on Earth.

Each two-day trip costs $325 and includes lunch. Full more information, trip highlights and registration please visit: Geoheritage Tours.

For specific questions email: keweenawgeology@gmail.com

A story about Faculty Emeritus Bill Rose’s summer geoheritage program was picked up by the Associated Press and shared with the San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Antonio Express, Washington Times, and other media outlets.