Category Archives: outreach

Chemistry Rocks Event

VolcanoChemistry Rocks!, a day of fun and learning, takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 11, 2017) in the Forestry Building atrium. Participants can:

  • Make Mineral Snowflakes
  • Grow Mineral Crystals
  • Explore “Copper and More”
  • See Local Rocks and Minerals
  • “Why do gemstones have different colors”
  • Other Fun Geochemistry Activities

There will be a volcano contest, so bring and erupt your volcano and compete against other schools for prizes.

Chemistry Rocks! is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society, Portage Lake District Library, Quincy Mine Hoist Association, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative and the Geology Club at Michigan Tech.

By the American Chemical Society Upper Peninsula Local Section.


Sullivan Mineral Collection Donated to Museum

A. E. Seaman Mineral MuseumThe A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum announces the recent generous donation of a mineral collection by Kate Sullivan of Ann Arbor. Sullivan’s late husband, Don (DJ) Sullivan, assembled the collection of about 500 specimens over several decades.

The collection consists mostly of minerals, but also a few fossils including a fossil dinosaur egg from China. There are a variety of mineral specimens such as polished spheres and freeforms, amethyst geode slices and an outstanding polished agate slice.

Among the more notable specimens are emerald in matrix from China, tourmaline in quartz from Pariaba, Brazil, chalcopyrite on calcite from Romania, a beautiful pink gemstone variety of spodumene, kunzite from Afghanistan and multiple specimens of boulder opal from Australia. There will be multiple specimens from this collection that will be accessioned into Michigan Tech’s permanent mineral collection after evaluation is completed.

DJ Sullivan attended Michigan Tech in the late 1950s. He earned a MS in Industrial Engineering at Wayne State University followed by a career in healthcare management. His company, DJ Sullivan & Associates, focused on surgical suite design and management throughout the US and Canada.

By Ted Bornhorst, A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum


A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Represented at Gem and Mineral Show

73rd Greater Detroit Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show
73rd Greater Detroit Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum participated in the 73rd Annual Greater Detroit Gem, Mineral, & Fossil show held at Macomb Community College in Warren from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017. The show was sponsored by the Michigan Mineralogical Society.

Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the museum, installed two exhibits that were prepared by Chris Stefano, associate curator. One of these exhibits was titled “Supergene Oxidation: Making Colorful Minerals out of Dark Minerals” and fit with the show’s theme, “The Dark Side of Gems & Minerals.” The second exhibit was titled “Clay Canyon, Utah Variscite Nodules from the George B. Robbe Collection.” Robbe was a 1913 alum of Michigan Tech and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University in 1961. His mineral collection was donated to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum in 1967. His personally-collected variscite suite is among the finest from this notable locality.

On Sunday Oct.15, the museum held a silent auction in collaboration with the Michigan Mineralogical Society and Bornhorst gave an invited lecture titled “Cubic Pyrite Crystals from Navajún, Spain.”


A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum Lends Geode Display

GeodeFind your own treasures at the Tulip City Gem and Mineral Club’s annual rock, mineral and jewelry show. At the show, visitors will have the opportunity to crack their own geode to find crystals. This is in keeping with this year’s theme “Geodes — Hidden Treasure.”

The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Technological University in Houghton is loaning its display, “How Geodes Are Made.” It will include 10 museum-quality geodes from Mexico, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Argentina.

Read more at the Holland Sentinel, by Lori Timmer.


Clifford Mineral Collection Donation

The Paul and Janet Clifford Collection
The Paul and Janet Clifford Collection
Selections from the first installment

Paul and Janet Clifford continue the donation of their mineral collection to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

They recently donated 201 specimens, the second installment of the approximately 4000 specimens they pledged in 2003. They have now donated about half of their collection to the museum.

Paul is the former curator of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s gem and mineral collection and was assisted by Janet. An endowment has been created by the Clifford’s with the proceeds to be used to purchase specimens for the museum’s collection.

The quality, depth, and breadth of Michigan Tech’s mineral collection continues to improve through the generosity of donors such as Paul and Janet Clifford. The museum looks forward to the next installment of their minerals.

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Keweenaw Minerals in Lake Superior Magazine

AgateLake Superior Magazine published a feature about minerals of the Keweenaw, referencing the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech as an outstanding public minerals display.

Minerals of the Lake Superior Region

The region is world famous for vast deposits of iron ore and native copper. During the last 150 years, the rocks have yielded immense tonnages from those deposits and attracted early settlers to the iron and copper mines. Our regional ores were critical in helping the Allies win World Wars I and II. But iron and copper are far from the only commercial minerals around this vast lake. Gold, platinum, silver, nickel, and gemstones such as amethyst, agates and even diamonds have been found here.

The region holds fame in another geologic camp. Collectors seek many Lake Superior minerals for their beauty, aesthetic qualities or rareness. Outstanding regional minerals form private and public collections worldwide and close to home at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

Read more at Lake Superior Magazine, by Gene L. LaBerge, George W. Robinson.

Dr. LaBerge is the author of Geology of the Lake Superior Region and is professor emeritus of geology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Dr. Robinson is the former curator of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor of mineralogy at Michigan Technological University, Houghton.


Boulder Garden Project for Elementary Students

WLUC TV6 aired a story about students at Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Elementary School building a boulder garden. The project is funded by a Michigan Space Grant Consortium geoheritage pilot grant to Michigan Tech to create boulder gardens and rock walks at CLK and E. B. Holman Elementary Schools, using representative rocks of the Keweenaw.

Students are also designing interpretative signage to accompany the installations with info about rock types and how geology has influenced life in the Keweenaw.

Boulder Garden Wheelbarrow

Boulder Garden Students

Boulder Garden Kinders


Correspondence on the Michigan Mineral Alliance

Nature Volume 546The prestigious journal, Nature, published a correspondence last week titled “A rescue package for imperiled collection” by Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, along with co-authors Chris Poulsen, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan and Rod Ewing, professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Frank Stanton, professor in nuclear security at Stanford University.

The correspondence was in response to an editorial in Nature on how academic natural history collections can be saved from destruction by uniting them at regional hubs. The correspondence discusses “rescue” the University of Michigan mineral collection under an agreement between the University of Michigan and Michigan Tech termed the Michigan Mineral Alliance. (To learn more about the agreement see here.)

The correspondence is publicly available as part of Springer Nature Content Sharing Initiative here.


Land, Water and History: Exploring Our Geoheritage

Bill Rose and Keweenaw GeologyThe first time I saw Lake Superior, I had no words. I couldn’t describe the majesty of this tremendous body of fresh water.

Growing up on the East Coast of Canada, I didn’t think much could rival the mighty Atlantic Ocean. I discovered how wrong I was when I moved to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula seven years ago to study geoscience education at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Since then, my love for the Lake and my curiosity about the region have grown.

Read more at Lake Superior Magazine, by Erika Vye.


Simon Carn Comments on Kambalny Volcano Activity

The Daily Mail (London) published an article about the eruption of a large Russian volcano. The article quoted Tech volcano expert Simon Carn (GMES).

Stunning footage shows a giant Russian volcano violently erupting for the first time in 250 YEARS

  • The 7,103ft tall (2.2km high) Kambalny volcano is in the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east of Russia
  • The colossal volcano recently became active and spewed out a 60-mile long ash plume visible from space

Nasa scientists warned that the volcano may have spewed out large amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2), which is harmful to human lungs.

The higher SO2 amounts downwind could be due to multiple factors, including variable emissions at the volcano (such as an initial burst), increasing altitude of the plume downwind or decreasing ash content downwind,

Simon Carn, an atmospheric scientist at Michigan Technological University, told the Earth Observatory.

Read more at the Daily Mail, by Will Stewart.

Kambalny Volcano Plume
Kambalny Volcano ash plume on March 25, 2017. Image from NASA Earth Observatory