Category Archives: Research

Stabilizing Geotechnical Assets: New Research Aims to Identify Potential Highway, Railroad Problems

image57399-persWhile we’re able to enjoy timeless scenery as we travel in the United States, it’s important to realize that the soils and rocks forming the base of these transportation systems may not forever be stable.

In a new project led by Michigan Technological University, Thomas Oommen, assistant professor of geological and mining engineering and sciences, heads a team that is using advanced technology to develop a comprehensive management system to monitor our nation’s geotechnical assets—the ground that forms the base for the concrete, asphalt or steel that makes up our transportation system.
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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.

Landslide monitoring, social research protect San Vicente in El Salvador

Soil around San Vicente volcano in El Salvador has always been rich, leading farmers to plant coffee, beans and sugar cane on its slopes. In times of heavy rain, the loose soil and volcanic rock on the steep slopes washes down, covering the villages nearby in heavy mud.
Find out more about the work of John Gierke and Luke Bowman in the article published in Environmental Monitor

Remote Sensing and Hazard Modeling Workshop Video

Taller de Sensores Remotos y Modelacion de Amenazas en El Salvador

Great Lakes Research Center: One Year Old and Growing

This time last year, the finishing touches were just being put on Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC). Researchers were starting to move in, and plans were being made for a mid-summer building dedication.

What a difference a year makes. Now celebrating its first anniversary, the GLRC is fast becoming the go-to source for data about the Great Lakes and the home of pioneering investigations into solutions to the challenges facing them.

“This is a unique, amazing place,” says Guy Meadows, director of the GLRC. Meadows came to Michigan Tech from the University of Michigan to lead the Great Lakes research efforts here. “Scientists from all across the basin have their eyes on us. The future of Great Lakes research is based right here.”

Michigan Space Grants Announced

Congratulations to our faculty receiving $5,000 Michigan Space Grants:

*Louisa Kramer (GMES): “Remote sensing of gases in smoke stack plumes”

Graduate students receiving $5,000 fellowship Michigan Space Grants:

*Kathleen McKee (GMES): “Analysis of Temporal Velocity Changes from Seismic Ambient Noise in Volcanic Environments: Source Modeling and Evaluation for Monitoring”

*Lauren Schaefer (GMES): “Application of remote sensing and numerical modeling to volcanic hazard monitoring”

*Emily Gochis (GMES): “Increasing Native American involvement in geosciences through interdisciplinary community-based student investigations”

Aleksey Smirnov Earns National Science Foundation Award

Aleksey Smirnov has been honored with a prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, commonly known as a CAREER Award. The five-year, $470,000 grant will underwrite his research on the ancient history of the Earth’s magnetic field and how it may have affected the planet’s geology and even the evolution of living things.

MORE: From the Michigan Tech Research Magazine 2013 article by Dennis Walikainen

Pennington concludes tour for Science, Technology and Innovation Expert Partnership (STIEP) speaker series

Wayne D. Pennington (GMES) American Geosciences Institute past-president, recently concluded a tour for the new Science, Technology and Innovation Expert Partnership (STIEP) speaker series. Part of the US Department of State’s Targets of Opportunity Program, the STIEP speaker series promotes science diplomacy abroad by connecting traveling scientists with local embassies and other community networks in the region. Participants have the opportunity to exponentially increase the reach of their research while simultaneously promoting key issues for science diplomacy, including the importance of innovation, the scientific peer review process, and promoting women in STEM fields.

Pennington traveled to Tyumen, Russia, in December to teach a short course on seismic petrophysics for members of the oil and gas industry there. While in Tyumen, in collaboration with the consulate in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Pennington had the opportunity to address two universities through the STIEP speaker series. Pennington presented to Tyumen State Oil and Gas University on time-lapse seismic observations of unintentional regional gas blowdown in the Gulf of Mexico, and to Tyumen State University about methods of unconventional oil and gas development.

“Speaking with local communities and young geoscientists about my research and recent advances in technology in the US was an invaluable opportunity” said Pennington. “I was particularly touched by the sincerity and depth of interest of the students and young researchers at those universities. The STIEP speaker series helps bring researchers together to address global challenges facing the international scientific community. In this case, the sustainable development of oil and gas resources.”

Cooperating partners for the Science, Technology and Innovation Expert Partnership include the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), the Association of American Engineering Societies (AAES), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the National Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Institution, and the US Department of State.

2013 Field Trip: Eastern Isle Royale: Large Lava Flows

Geological Field Trip – Eastern Isle Royale, Michigan: Large Lava Flows
Join a field trip to Isle Royale National Park, May 25-31, 2013; Middle Proterozoic Continental Theoleiitic Flood Basalts of the 1.1 Ba Keweenaw Rift (Rodinia); Trip Leaders: Bill Rose and Justin Olson. Click for more information, Background, a Video Lecture, Logistics, Cost and Trip Schedule, Reservations and Course Credit. 2013 Isle Royale Field Trip