Category Archives: Research

Mi-START Participants Contribute to Geoscience Monograph

Research associate and curriculum development director Stephanie Tubman (Michigan Tech Mi-STAR) was lead author on two contributions appearing in the recently published monograph titled, “Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future” (edited by Gregory R. Wessel and Jeffrey K. Greenberg, Geological Society of America Special Papers 520).

Postdoctoral research fellow Rudiger Escobar Wolf co-authored the Tubman paper titled, “The geoscientist as international community development practitioner: On the importance of looking and listening.”

Former project coordinator Essa Paterson and John Gierke (GMES) were co-authors on Tubman’s paper titled, “A Peace Corps Master’s International program in mitigation of natural geological hazards: Student outcomes and lessons learned.”

Curriculum development assistant Luke Bowman (Mi-STAR) was lead author on a paper in the same monograph titled, “University contributions to risk reduction following a disaster: A case study of reorienting natural hazards research efforts at San Vicente volcano.”

His paper was co-authored by Gierke and Agronomy Engineering Professor J. Fredy Cruz Centeno from the Universidad de El Salvador Facultad Multidisciplinario Paracentral.

From Tech Today.

Menominee Crack Research in Discover Magazine

Menominee Crack
Menominee Crack, copyright Wayne Pennington, Michigan Tech.

Discover magazine published an article about Dean Wayne Pennington’s (COE) research on the Menominee Crack, a strange geological disruption known as a pop-up.

From Tech Today.

Major geologic transformations don’t usually happen in real time without explanation — especially in seismically quiet areas like the Upper Midwest. So, when Michigan Technological University geophysicist Wayne Pennington saw reports about a crack the length of a football field suddenly appearing in some swamp and woods in the northern area of the state’s Upper Peninsula, he assumed it was a small landslide.

Read more at Discover, by Steven Potter.

Bornhorst Publishes on Hydrothermal Native Copper

Ted Bornhorst, executive director A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor, is co-author of a paper recently published by the international journal Economic Geology. The publication is a result of collaboration with Dr. Kei Ikehata of University of Tsukuba, Japan who is first author of the paper. The paper is titled “Hydrothermal Native Copper in Ocean Island Alkali Basalt from the Mineoka Belt, Boso Peninsula, Japan.” Additional co-authors are K. Chida and T. Tsunogae both at University of Tsukuba.

From Tech Today.

Bornhorst Attends Meeting of the Institute on Lake Superior Geology

Ted Bornhorst, executive director and professor, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum recently attended the 62nd annual meeting of the Institute on Lake Superior Geology held in Duluth, Minnesota. The Institute includes geologic field trips as well as two days of technical presentations and posters. He served on the board of directors at its annual meeting. The 63rd annual meeting will be held in Wawa, Ontario and Bornhorst will be co-chair along with two Canadian colleagues.

From Tech Today.

President Barack Obama Honors Assistant Professor Colleen Mouw

President Barack Obama honors Assistant Professor Colleen Mouw with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” said President Obama.

All 106 recipients of the award are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. The winners will receive their awards at a Washington, DC ceremony later this spring.

To read the official White House Press Release click here.

News Briefs in GMES Department

The National Science Foundation (NSF) posted a news story on its website about an open-vent volcano that erupted at Fuego, near Guatemala City. It quoted Greg Waite (GMES), who is studying the volcano under an NSF CAREER award.

Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and Dr. Chris Poulsen, chair of the department of Earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan, published an article titled: “Michigan Mineral Alliance” in the September issue of the international journal Rocks & Minerals. The article establishes a name for the legal agreement between Michigan Tech and the University of Michigan that provides for co-ownership and shared responsibility of the University of Michigan’s mineral collection. The collection is now at the museum and there is an introductory exhibit in the museum’s Thomas D. Shaffner exhibit hall.

Chad Deering (GMES) received a $77,039 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a research and development project titled, Understanding Basaltic Volcanic Processes by Remotely Measuring the Links Between Vegetation Health and Extent, and Volcanic Gas and Thermal Emissions using HyspIRI-like VSWIR and TIR data. This is the first year of a potential two-year project totaling $212,448.

Aleksey Smirnov (GMES/EPSSI) received a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a research and development project titled, Paleointensity of the Paleoproterozoic Geomagnetic Field as Recorded by Single Silicate Crystals: Testing the “Proterozoic Dipole Low.” This is a three-year project.

GMES student Priscilla Addison received the Best Student Paper Award for “Rail Embankment Investigation Using Remote Sensing for a Permafrost Region” which she presented at the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Cold Regions Engineering Conference: Developing and Maintaining Resilient Infrastructure, held earlier this month in Salt Lake City. The thrust of Addison’s paper was to look at remote sensing as a site investigative tool for the portion of the Hudson Bay railway embankment underlain with discontinuous permafrost in northern Manitoba, Canada. This research is jointly supported by OmniTRAX Inc. and National University Rail (NURail) Center funded by the U.S Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (USDOT-RITA). Addison is co-advised by Associate Professor Thomas Oommen (GMES) and Assistant Professor Pasi Lautala (CEE).

The US Peace Corps’ Peace Car was on the Michigan Tech campus July 9th. An eco-friendly Smart Car, the Peace Car enables Peace Corps staff to share their mission while limiting their carbon footprint. See the photo here

The Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG) featured Lauren Schaefer, a PhD student in Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, as its AEG Featured Scholar for June 2015.

Jason Gulley (GMES) has received a $194,940 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation for the collaborative research project: What Hydrogeochemical Processes Control Weathering in the Deep Critical Zone of Unburied Karst Landscapes. This is a two-year project.

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GMES student selected as the 2015 Marliave Scholar

Lauren N. Schaefer, PhD candidate in geological engineering, has been selected as the 2015 Marliave Scholar by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geology (AEG) Foundation. The $4,000 scholarship recognizes outstanding scholarship and professional dedication by students in Engineering Geology or Geological Engineering. Schaefer’s PhD advisor is Thomas Oommen.

 Lauren N. Schaefer, 2015 Marliave Scholar and Dr. Thomas Oommen
Lauren N. Schaefer, 2015 Marliave Scholar and Dr. Thomas Oommen

Disaster risk reduction and resettlement efforts in El Salvador

Bowman
Bowman
Luke J Bowman and Kari B Henquinet recently published an article in the Journal of Applied Volcanology, titled: “Disaster risk reduction and resettlement efforts at San Vicente (Chichontepec) Volcano, El Salvador: toward understanding social and geophysical vulnerability.”

Luke Bowman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Technological University, where professors Bill Rose and John Gierke have promoted interdisciplinary “social geology” research regarding natural hazards in developing countries through the Peace Corps Masters International program.

 Henquinet
Henquinet
Kari B. Henquinet is Director of the Peace Corps Master’s International Program at Michigan Technological University.

Abstract: Despite a long history of volcanic debris flows on the northern flank of San Vicente Volcano, El Salvador, authorities and communities were ill-prepared for the lahars that occurred on Nov. 7–8, 2009. More than 250 people were killed by lahars resulting from shallow landslides, not to mention millions of dollars (US) in damage to houses, agriculture, and infrastructure. After the disaster, significant aid was invested in the region to reduce risk in future disasters. This case study uses the ethnographic tools of qualitative interviews, participant observation, and review of institutional documents to analyze two particular aspects of disaster risk reduction strategies in the town of Verapaz: 1) relocation of at-risk residents led by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and 2) hazard monitoring and emergency management training programs led by Civil Protection, the University of El Salvador, and NGOs. The relocation effort, while effective at reducing physical vulnerability to debris flows, failed to incorporate livelihood, social networks, and cultural ties to homes in their project design and implementation. Since diverse livelihoods are keys to survival, and tightly-knit social networks help families share responsibilities and withstand shocks during hardships, many families returned to the high-risk area or opted not to relocate. Others have adapted using unanticipated strategies to benefit from the resettlement effort. On the other hand, the emergency management training and education programs valued local input, knowledge, and action, which has helped increase awareness and improved the overall capacity to manage emergencies through wide, local participation. The different approaches used in the two risk reduction initiatives reveal important lessons regarding the importance of community participation. Challenges derive from narrow understandings of vulnerability on the part of disaster risk reduction experts, who neglected to consider and understand kin networks and residence patterns that help maintain diverse livelihoods, as well as ensure safety and security. As demonstrated in the 2011 Tropical Depression 12E, effective public engagement and empowerment helped bridge the knowledge, awareness, and preparedness gaps that existed prior to the 2009 disaster.

Link to the article: Disaster risk reduction and resettlement efforts at San Vicente (Chichontepec) Volcano, El Salvador: toward understanding social and geophysical vulnerability

Elisa Piispa Wins at AGU

IMG_8613GMES PhD student, Elisa Piispa, has won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting. The title of Elisa’s presentation was “Paleomagnetism of the 1.1 Ga Baraga-Marquette dykes (Michigan, USA)”. The AGU Annual meeting was held in San Francisco, CA, December 15-19, 2014. Piispa’s PhD advisor is Aleksey Smirnov.