The Institute on Lake Superior Geology Awards Geology MS Student $1k

Katherine Langfield, a geology master’s student, received a research grant from the Institute on Lake Superior Geology (ILSG). The $1,000 award will help defray the research costs for her proposed work on the Hancock Fault. A portion of the work will be conducted in the Quincy Mine adit in West Hancock. Katherine is advised by Research Professor, James DeGraff.

The ILSG Student Research Fund is available for undergraduate or graduate students conducting research on the geology of the Lake Superior region.

PC: U.S. Geological Survey


Mining Engineering MS Student Poorva Kadrolli Selected as SRK Scholar

Poorva Kadrolli, a Master’s student in Mining Engineering in the Department of GMES, has won a highly competitive SRK scholarship!

SRK is a global consulting firm in mining and exploration geology and provides scholarships in Australia and North America to encourage and support students undertaking graduate studies and help them complete master’s and doctoral degrees in fields related to the mining industry.

The scholarship selection process is very thorough and includes writing a research proposal by the student. Poorva’s research is in joint simulation of material-type and mineral grade using multiple-point simulation and machine learning.

Poorva is advised by Dr. Snehamoy Chaterjee, an Associate Professor and the Witte Family Faculty Fellow at the Department of GMES.

Poorva Kadrolli


Jeremy Shannon Named Carl G. Schwenk Endowed Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics

Michigan Tech Principal Lecturer Jeremy Shannon is the Carl G. Schwenk Endowed Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics

Jeremy Shannon was recently named the Carl G. Schwenk Endowed Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics

“For more than a decade Dr. Jeremy Shannon has been a key faculty in field geophysics at Michigan Tech,” said Aleksey Smirnov, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. 

“Dr. Shannon provides vital contributions to GMES instruction and advising, especially through the summer Field Geophysics course and specialized courses in the application of near-surface geophysics methods,” added Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering. 

The endowment was established by Carl G. Schwenk, who obtained a BS in both Geological and Geophysical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1962 and 1965, respectively. He worked as a Field Geophysicist with Kennecott Copper Corporation and was instrumental in the discovery of the Flambeau copper-gold Mine in Wisconsin. Later, he worked with the  large iron company Vale do Rio Doce exploring for base metals in Brazil. After his return to the US he was hired as Great Lakes District Manager for Noranda Exploration where he led a successful State Supreme Court challenge to Wisconsin’s Geologic Disclosure Law. 

“Carl lives in Colorado and remains closely involved with our department, providing tremendous support to our students,” said Smirnov.

Shannon is also a Michigan Tech alumnus, and took the Field Geophysics class as an undergraduate in the summer of 1992. He was honored to take over the class in 2007 and has continued and built upon the legacy of applied geophysics education at GMES created by professors Lloyal Bacon, Jimmy Diehl, and Charles Young to deliver a unique field experience for students.

“I am humbled to receive this appointment and am extremely grateful to Mr. Schwenk and others who have made this possible,” said Shannon. “I look forward to using this gift to improve and advance educational opportunities in geophysics at Michigan Tech.”

“Shannon’s contribution to the department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences perfectly aligns with the purpose of the fellowship, which is to provide leadership in mentoring and teaching students at Michigan Tech in the practical use of geophysics for characterization and discovery of subsurface resources,” added Callahan.

In addition to instruction in the field of applied geophysics, which includes specialized courses in the application of near-surface geophysics methods, Shannon serves as the academic advisor for undergraduate students majoring in Geology and Applied Geophysics.

Shannon generously lends his expertise to students working on senior design projects, as well as graduate students whose research involves field work, notes Smirnov. “Dr. Shannon helps students develop both practical knowledge and intuition. As a result, they are able to find their own best academic and professional pathways, leading to impactful and rewarding careers.” 

In recognition of his contributions to teaching, Shannon was also recently honored in the Michigan Tech Deans’ Teaching Showcase


$288,343 Awarded to Snehamoy Chatterjee from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Snehamoy Chatterjee, Associate Professor and the Witte Family Endowed Faculty Fellow in Mining Engineering in the Department of GMES, is the principal investigator on a project “Mine Health and Safety Big Data Analysis and Text Mining by Machine Learning Algorithms” that has received a $288,343 R&D contract from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 

Snehamoy Chatterjee, Associate Professor in GMES

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) collects mine inspections, violations, and accidents/injuries data. States also collect the workers’ compensation data related to mining accidents. These data are massive and complex, with many underlying risk factors for mining accidents. This research will identify the underlying risk factors of mining accidents and injuries by analyzing the complex datasets by exploiting state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms. It will develop a web-based tool for visualizing the risk factors and run what-if scenarios to understand the potential risks for a mine. 

This award will support a PhD and an MS student in Mining Engineering. 

Aref Majdara (ECE/ICC) is a co-PI on this two-year project.


Michigan Tech wins 2021 AIPG Student Chapter of the Year Award (again)

The 2021 American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Student Chapter of the Year Award goes to Michigan Technological University for the second year running!

Each year, AIPG recognizes the most outstanding student chapter for its activities, achievements, and contributions to the Institute. Nationwide there are 55 student chapters at AIPG. The award letter states: “the Student Chapter at Michigan Tech stood out among the AIPG Student Chapters in the nation this past year, and are highly deserving of this distinction and honor.”

Currently, the chapter officers are Elana Barth (President, Geology), Olivia Salvaggio (Vice President, Geophysics), Emilie Pray (Treasurer, Geology), and Nolan Gamet (Secretary, Geology). The officers during the year of the award were Elana Barth (President, Geology), Breeanne Huesdens (Vice President, Geological Engineering), Emilie Pray (Treasurer, Geology), and Makala O’Donnell (Secretary, Geological Engineering).

Chad Deering, Associate Professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and David Adler, a Mannik & Smith Group Certified Professional Geologist (B.S. Geology ‘82), advise the Michigan Tech chapter.
Congratulations once again on a job well done. The GMES department is proud of your continued success!

Michigan Tech AIPG Student Chapter members while exploring the Eben Ice Caves. Photo courtesy of Dave Adler.


Two Faculty Named to Endowed Positions in GMES

Snehamoy Chatterjee and Jeremy Shannon have been appointed to two endowed faculty fellow positions in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES).

Witte Family Endowed Faculty Fellow in Mining Engineering

Snehamoy Chatterjee
Snehamoy Chatterjee

Chatterjee, associate professor in GMES, has been appointed the new Witte Family Endowed Faculty Fellow in Mining Engineering, a position created to retain and attract highly qualified faculty who are at the top of their profession, inspire students to think beyond the classroom material, and integrate their research into the classroom.

Chatterjee was instrumental in developing GMES’s new interdisciplinary program in mining engineering and now teaches several key courses for this program. He continuously updates his courses to adopt new teaching and technological approaches and incorporates research in his instruction. He is always looking out for students’ best interests by seeking ways for them to participate in research and design projects in order to enhance their learning and professional development.

Carl G. Schwenk Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics

Jeremy Shannon
Jeremy Shannon

Shannon, principal lecturer and undergraduate student advisor in GMES, is the new Carl G. Schwenk Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics, a position established to provide students with practical knowledge and intuition that, when combined with exceptional instruction, promotes mobility for an impactful and rewarding career in the field of applied geophysics.

Shannon provides instruction for nearly all courses in the field of applied geophysics and lends his expertise to Senior Design courses and graduate students whose research involves field geophysics. He also maintains GMES’s field geophysics equipment, and has been successful in obtaining funding to purchase new equipment. (During one of Carl Schwenk’s previous visits, Jeremy showed him both our current equipment as well as past equipment that had been in storage, which truly impressed Carl.)

As an academic advisor for GMES’s undergraduate majors, Shannon creates individual plans in order to offer the best academic and professional pathway for that student.

By the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.


Emily Street 2021 Copper Club Scholarship Recipient

Emily Street, a fourth-year majoring in mining engineering with a minor in mathematical sciences.

Emily Street, a fourth-year mining engineering student at the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, received the prestigious, highly competitive Copper Club Lord Bagri Scholarship. Her essay, ‘The Importance of Copper in the 21st Century,’ gives the reader a passionate viewpoint, written by an outstanding, hardworking student ancestrally connected to the industry. 

The Copper Club, Inc, formed in 1944, is the leading organization for networking, educational grants, and events for those who support the copper industry. The Copper Club Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to students majoring in geoscience or other fields related to the production of copper or copper products. A $15,000 award goes to one student who shows exceptional merit demonstrated by excellent grades, with a necessity for financial aid. In letters of recommendation, Michigan Tech faculty can quote praising,  “… she will be a role model for the next-generation mining and geosciences students”, and “…Ms. Street will have a transformative impact on the mining industry as she transitions from student to professional.” A well-deserving student to receive this award, indeed. 

Emily Street, pictured, receives the highly sought-after Copper Club Lord Bagri Scholarship with her essay, ‘The Importance of Copper in the 21st Century.’

I was honored to be nominated as MTU’s representative for the Copper Club Scholarship 2021-22, and I am humbled to represent the college as a recipient of The Lord Bagri Scholarship. I am thankful to be a part of the mining engineering program at MTU and to have the opportunity to be taught by such passionate and knowledgeable industry leaders. I am currently working as a summer mine engineering intern at LafargeHolcim in Presque Isle, Michigan; I hope to use the hands-on experience I gain at the quarry this summer to further my knowledge in my senior year in the program. Attending Michigan Tech’s newly resurrected mining engineering program, while a rigorous curriculum, has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I am proud to be a student here, at what was originally the Michigan Mining School, and to be able to work as a miner in the industry that brought my family to the Keweenaw nearly one hundred years ago! – Emily Street

https://www.copperclub.org/scholarships-awards/


Q&A with SATAVIA: Climate and Contrails

Contrails are the biggest contributor to aviation’s climate impact. The company SATAVIA works on data analysis software to help airlines avoid long-lasting contrail formation.

Dr. Adam Durant (MS Geology ’06, PhD ’07) discussed how modifying flight plans lessen long-lasting contrails and reduce climate impacts–so-called green aviation. Physics professor Raymond Shaw and Professor Emeritus Bill Rose, who advised Adam in his graduate studies here, host the discussion.

It’s not rocket science. It’s harder — or at least harder to predict. Clouds are often referred to as the wildcard of climate modeling, and while some basic physics have become much clearer using tools like the cloud chamber at Michigan Technological University, atmospheric science remains a fascinating and complex space.

Shaw, distinguished professor of physics and director of Michigan Tech’s atmospheric sciences doctoral program, studies ice crystal formations in clouds. When Durant worked with him as a graduate geoscience student, the team studied how volcanic ash and frigid water interact in the atmosphere. For Durant, experimenting with specks of dust and drops of supercooled water coalesced into an ongoing interest in the interaction’s effects on airplanes — and the industry’s climate bill. Drawing on his interdisciplinary background, Durant started the company SATAVIA in 2013.

In their Q&A, Shaw (RS) and Durant (AD) explain how rerouting airplanes to minimize contrails can have the biggest impact with the smallest changes.

Adam Durant, CEO SATAVIA
Research Interests:
– Green aviation
– Ice crystal morphology and cloud formation
– Volcanic ash plumes
– Sustainable business

Q: Why focus on contrails to curb climate change impacts?

AD: It’s not just direct engine emissions that matter in terms of aviation’s climate impacts. Non-carbon dioxide sources — like the climate forcing from contrails — make up almost two-thirds of the industry’s impact, which is a surprisingly big number. In fact, it equates to 2% of all human-caused climate change.

RS: Contrails are pretty and localized, so it’s understandable that few people would guess they’re of consequence. And it’s relatively rare flights that make these long-lasting contrails, which are heavily weighted in terms of their climate impact.

AD: Yes, of about 500 flights, only one or two make these kinds of contrails.

Q: How does SATAVIA’s software help predict contrail formation?

AD: We are a data analytics company, building software that uses cutting-edge atmosphere and climate science. We use a commercial cloud structure to create a digital twin of the Earth’s atmosphere from surface to space, quantifying many key meteorological parameters like temperature, humidity, cloud cover and other factors that affect flight operations. We aggregate that information and apply it to different use cases, including contrail formation and other applications such as contaminant exposure and corrosion factors. Predicting contrail formation and persistence in the atmosphere is complex, so it becomes a big data problem – unless you’ve got a high-performance atmospheric digital twin, you won’t be able to crunch through the data properly. Right now, we’re working with a major Middle East airline through a collaboration with Aviation X Lab, a Dubai-based aviation incubator. They want to be proactive about assessing their impact, and they’re helping us validate our models. The next challenge is software integration, so we can help airlines optimize flight paths for contrail prevention while minimizing fuel burn.

Q: How can industry, universities and government groups work together?

RS: It’s important to acknowledge that while Michigan Tech doesn’t have direct collaborations with SATAVIA, it was a former student who started the company and a new graduate, Subin Thomas, starts there soon as a key player on their science team. Academia can play a role by training people in the fundamental science so they can carry on innovation within the private sector. We also work with agencies, like our partners at the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). For example, a current graduate student, Elise Rosky, is at this moment at NCAR flying a holographic instrument through clouds to investigate how ice forms and grows. Who knows where that fundamental research will lead, and even how it might tie into the science of contrails?

Raymond Shaw
Research Interests:
– Atmospheric Physics
– Cloud Physics
– Nucleation
– Turbulence
– Digital Holography

AD: We all want to solve real world problems. There’s a lot more to solving problems than throwing science at it. If it doesn’t cost money or make money, it’s hard to get business to care. As the cost of carbon rises, there is going to be more and more incentive for airlines to fly smarter and greener. With our model, we not only assess a flight plan and help make changes that actually lower aviation’s climate impact, but we also estimate what a company can save in associated carbon credits and carbon offsets.

Q: How did your Michigan Tech research help make these kinds of collaborations possible?

AD: This brings me back to doing my PhD on volcanic ash with Bill Rose, who blended a lot of disciplines. I felt like an atmospheric scientist but my degree was geoscience. I moved on to a climate research group next — mostly climate modelers and remote sensing experts — and that experience also brought me closer to policy.

RS: Sometimes, Adam, we jokingly call students like you a gluon [bad physics joke] — “Well, Bill does this and Raymond does that, so we need a go-between.” To Bill’s credit, he was always roving and looking for people who could help him solve the problems he was working on. So, Adam asked in his research: What happens when we put ash in a supercooled droplet? It was a logical next step to ask what happens when an airplane flies into an ash plume.

Q: What inspires you in your work?

AD: I want to take tangible action on climate change — that’s what my mission has become. We’ve been thinking about our vision as a company and it always comes back to solving climate change.

RS: We say all the time that we do basic science to help society. Examples like Adam’s company make that true. In some ways, it’s easier to stay in academia, but moving into the private sector means there is so much more potential for influence. Much of research is curiosity-driven and with a genuine interest in solving fundamental problems, with the hope that eventually the solutions will make a difference. But no one would fund us to solve puzzles every day; we hope that when we train students that our fundamental work will be connected to the private sector and help make the world a better place.

Contrails are the biggest contributor to aviation’s climate impact. The company SATAVIA works on data analysis software to help airlines avoid long-lasting contrail formation. Credit: Conor Farrington, SATAVIA

Q: What are challenges that remain ahead?

AD: Raymond, here is what we are always asked: Do we know enough about the science of contrail formation and whether we can predict it?

RS: Well, the basic physics is there. The part that is complicated, which falls under current research, is how persistent will a contrail be — will it be ice or water, and what’s the crystal shape? The good news is that the basics are clear.

AD: I agree that the fundamental science is sound, and that the challenge facing us now is scaling and creating contrail forecasts at flight altitudes so that aviation operators can avoid making them. And policy and regulation — that is what will influence how big organizations deal with this problem.

RS: That’s the surprising part. Thinking from the company spreadsheet point of view, in the right economy, SATAVIA’s approach can actually save money.

AD: Yes, many companies already pay to offset their carbon emissions. Changing flight plans would make a bigger difference and save them more money. What we need to work on most from a technical perspective is software integration, and that’s going to take time and close partnerships with more airlines.

Q: The pandemic changed travel. How has this impacted your work?

AD: Before COVID, much of our work focused on how atmospheric and climatic factors can damage aircraft engines and airframes, and responding to that with smarter condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. 

But as the pandemic began and continued, we pivoted to focus more on aviation’s impact on climate. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time with our ice crystals research. People care about green aviation now, to the extent that it will influence their choice of airline, though some consumers will always be driven by the cheapest prices. In the near term, it’s likely to be business travelers who care most about the green credentials of a flight.

RS: Even before the pandemic, I was starting to notice an uptick in the number of colleagues who would say, “I’m not going to go to that meeting because I’m trying really hard to minimize the aviation part of my carbon footprint.” Or saying, “I can’t go on that airline, I’m going to choose this other airline because they’re doing more to solve this problem.” And I do think the pandemic has made more of us aware of what can and can’t be done. The nice thing is that we can have a global aviation industry and mitigate the impact to some extent. As you think about returning to air travel, why not expect more from the airline you’re flying with? Because there are actions they can take. Contrails are something most people would never think about, but SATAVIA’s work shows that it’s possible to do something about their climate impacts.


2020-2021 GMES Faculty Promotions

Dr. Gregory Waite, Professor

Congratulations to the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) faculty members promoted in the 2020-21 academic year!

Dr. Gregory Waite, Associate Professor, was promoted to the rank of full Professor. Dr. Waite is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in seismology with particular emphasis on studies of fluid processes and modeling of volcano seismic and infrasound signals. Dr. Waite and his students conduct studies of active volcanic processes using field data, laboratory analog experiments, and computer modeling. This research is critical to monitoring and forecasting volcanic eruptions. Dr. Waite actively collaborates with scientists from Central and South America, Europe, and Japan. He has published many peer-reviewed articles in top-tier international journals. Dr. Waite is the recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award and has secured additional grants from NSF and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Dr. Nathan Manser, Senior Lecturer


Dr. Nathan Manser, Lecturer, was promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer. Dr. Manser provides vital contributions to GMES teaching and advising activities, including his instrumental role in the success of our newly reinstated program in Mining Engineering. He has substantial teaching and advising experience as well as extensive experience in the mining industry. He has published several peer-reviewed papers in environmental and mining engineering. Dr. Manser is a dedicated and effective instructor and adviser as well as an impactful and trusted mentor. Dr. Manser serves as the academic advisor for Mining Engineering and the Chair of the Mining Engineering Curriculum Committee. He also serves as faculty advisor for several student organizations, including the GMES Chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) and the SME/NSSGA Student Design Team.

Both promotions were approved at Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees meeting on April 30 and will be effective on August 16, 2021.


Congratulations, Huskies! Check Out This List of 53 GMES Graduates

New alumni can get connected to mentors and more on the Michigan Tech Alumni and Friends network: https://www.mtu.edu/alumni

Makala Elana and Breeanne with AIPG scrolls
Makala, Elana, and Breeanne, 2021 graduates

This year, graduating Huskies took part in a festive outdoor celebration. The graduation walk for the Classes of 2021 and 2020 through campus on April 30 was such a tremendously great time, we hope it can become a new tradition. It was a blue-sky, picture-perfect day we’ll never forget.

GMES 2020-21 Degrees Granted

Summer 2021
BS EGE Caleb Kaminski
BS EGE Donelle Auten
BS EGE Makala O’Donnell
BS EGE Anderla, Maddy M.
MS EGL Pauline Verdurme
Spring 2021
BS EGE Heusdens, Breeanne M.
BS EGL Barth, Elana G.
BS EMG Neely, Benjamin A.
MS EGE Iuliia Tcibulnikova
MS EGL Sophie Mueller
PHD EGL Olivia Barbee
Fall 2020
BS EGE Abigail P. Friedl
BS EGE Dustin R. Helmer
MS EGE Ian O. Nichols
MS EGE Katelyn Elizabeth Kring
MS EGE Kelsey Anne Kirkland
MS EGL Celine Mei-An Carus
MS EGL Claudia Buondonno
MS EGL David Jokob Kelly
MS EGL Davide Saviano
MS EGL Evan Robert Lanese
MS EGL Heather Thole
MS EGL Robert Matthew Booth
MS EGL Roberto Cuahutemoc Armijo
MS EGL Roberto Piemontese
MS EGP Adam Bautzmann
MS EGP Erdi Apatay
MS EGP Katie E. Bristol
MS EGP Martine Hope Loevaas
MS EGP Mohamed Mahmoud Shawky Abuzaied Mohamed
MS EMG Adel Asadi
PHD EGE Chandan Kumar
PHD EGP Haitao Cao
PHD EMG Amol Paithankar
Summer 2020
BS EAG Eric Oliveira
BS EMG Garrett J. Singer
MS EGE Joyata Yatinkumar Raval
Spring 2020
BS EAG Dayol Carvalho
BS EAG Fernando J. Chambole
BS EAG Janayna C. Manuel
BS EAG Max L. Douglas
BS EGE Allyson M. Hartz
BS EGE Arie P. Ruiter
BS EGE Bobby G. Hirvi
BS EGE Ginny E. Hemmila
BS EGE Ian M. Gannon
BS EGE Steve E. Wright
BS EGE Tucker T. Scoville
BS EGL Evelyn T. Jobe
BS EGL James D. Yiu
BS EMG Drake D. Wilson
BS EMG Shawn M. Vandoorn
MS EGL Sentle Augustinus Hlajoane

“There is no doubt that through your hard work, tenacity, and perseverance, you have earned all of the rights and privileges that come with a degree from Michigan Tech.”

President Rick Koubek
Experience some highlights from the Graduation Walk!