Category Archives: Students

Geology Club T’s On Sale Now

‘San Andreas isn’t my FAULT’

The Michigan Tech Geology Club is designed to allow students to discover the properties of minerals and geological environments through mineral collection excursions, mine tours, and geologically related field trips.

To order your long sleeve OR short sleeve GeoClub tee today, email Andrew at

For more information on the GeoClub visit: https://

NATO Science for Peace Project in the Republic of Georgia

Michigan Tech/Univ Milan Bicocca MS student Maria Diletta Acciaro showing Tbilisi State Univ doctoral student Nino Kvavadze how to measure the orientation of dipping geological layers.
Michigan Tech/Univ Milan Bicocca MS student Maria Diletta Acciaro showing Tbilisi State Univ doctoral student Nino Kvavadze how to measure the orientation of dipping geological layers.

John Gierke, GMES professor and department chair,  is a co-director of Michigan Tech’s partnership with five universities on a three-year NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. This international, multi-institutional project is co-directed by Professor Alessandro Tibaldi of the Department of Environment and Territory and Earth Sciences at the University of Milan-Bicocca and Dr. Nino Tsereteli of the M. Nodia Institute of Geophysics of Tbilisi State University.

The project focus is the study of natural hazards that could undermine social and geopolitical stability of a delicate Transcaucasian region located between Georgia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia, near the Enguri dam, the second highest arch dam of the world, which provides approximately half of the electrical energy for Georgia.

The US project team consists of Gierke and Michigan Tech GMES associate professor Thomas Oommen. They are advising Master’s student Maria Diletta Acciaro, who is pursuing a joint MS in Geology with Michigan Tech and her home institution, the University of Milan-Bicocca.

Their first project mission was in early November 2015 in Tbilisi with a kickoff meeting between the project scientists. The second mission, which took place last May 11-25, 2016, was focused on mapping and characterizing landslides and hillslopes surrounding the reservoir and that pose potential hazards to the safety the Enguri dam. “Landslides and rock falls are common on the steep slopes of these highly-weathered mountainous areas. Larger events could be triggered by heavy rains and seismicity,” says Gierke. He and Acciaro worked with their Georgian counterparts to measure rock and soil strength for the different surficial formations in the reservoir area.

The team is estimating the relative risk of different slopes surrounding the Enguri Dam using computer models that forecast landslide susceptibility. Their estimates are based on the topography (slope), geology, and strength properties of the soils and rocks. “One of the codes allow us to include seismicity in the forecasting and the other will let us explore rainfall intensity,” adds Gierke.

Read more about the project online. See photos from the May 2016 trip here.

Eagle Mine Collaborates with Michigan Tech’s Mining Engineering Program

Eagle Mine is collaborating with Michigan Tech’s Mining Engineering Program on creating a custom-made simulation program with dynamic visualization to model and analyze the effectiveness of emergency evacuation plans and equipment in the operation.

“It’s just a start. We look forward to developing our relationship with the Lundin’s Eagle Mine and conducting various simulation studies, while looking for mutual benefits,” stated Ebrahim Tarshizi, the principal investigator of this research investigation.

Eagle Mine, a subsidiary of Lundin Mining, is a high-grade nickel and copper underground mine located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

From Tech Today, by Ebrahim Tarshizi.

Burkwald Awarded Copper Club Scholarship

Cory Burkwald, a third-year Geology major, has been chosen to receive a Copper Club scholarship. The $10,000 award is for the 2016-17 school year.

Burkwald, a Naperville, Illinois native, also participates on Michigan Tech’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams.

Headquartered in New York City, the Copper Club Inc. is a leading organization for networking, educational grants and events for those who support the copper industry.

In a letter informing Burkwald of his scholarship, Andrew G. Kireta, Sr., executive director of the Copper Club, said, “through this program, the copper industry identifies and recognizes exceptional individuals who have excelled in the study of mining and metallurgy.”

Burkwald is Michigan Tech’s first recipient of a Copper Club Scholarship in the 20-year history of the award.

From Tech Today, by Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

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.

GMES Representation at IAVCEI Conference

The International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) Cities on Volcanoes 8 Conference was held September 9-13, 2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Nine students, alumni, and faculty/staff presented at the conference.

Those in attendance are pictured (left – right) below:  Jennifer Telling, post-doc; Verity Flower, PhD candidate; Christine Sealing, MS graduate – INVOGE program; Kathleen McKee, MS graduate; Lauren Schaefer, PhD candidate; Anieri Morales Rivera, MS graduate; John “Jay” Wellik, MS graduate – PCMI program; Simon Carn, Associate Professor; and Lizzette Rodriguez, PhD graduateIAVCEI-Conference-914

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

Vye receives 2014 Chrysalis Scholarship

Erika Vye has received the 2014 Chrysalis Scholarship. This award provides degree-completion funding for women geoscience graduate students whose education has been significantly interrupted by life circumstances. The awards are intended to cover costs associated with completion of her thesis/dissertation, beyond what is traditionally covered by primary research funding.

Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Program #1 Again

For the 9th consecutive year, Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps program is ranked 1st in the nation for having the largest number of Peace Corps Master’s International students. This clip (, which aired on ABC 10 News Tuesday, May 13, 2014, included interviews with two of our department’s returning Peace Corps Volunteers. Edrick Ramos and Tyler Barton were able to share their experiences. The clip also featured photos courtesy of Jay Wellik and Brie Rust.

Senior Design Petroleum Group Invited to Present

In May 2014 this year’s senior design capstone group focusing on petroleum engineering was invited to the Northern Michigan Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association (MOGA) meetings. Their talk, “A Technical Evaluation of the Sycamore Limestone Formation in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma” was presented at the SPE meeting where they were commended for the amount of work they were able to accomplish over two semesters. Data for the project was provided by Vitruvian Exploration LLC, and student travel was funded by Apache Corporation.   Continue reading