Simon Carn on Kilauea Emission

Kilauea Emission
Illustration of the Kilauea Sulfur Dioxide Emission

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted in the article “Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea” in Earth Observatory. The article looks at the impact of the eruption and lava flow from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea

Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, but in late April and early May 2018 the volcanic eruption took a dangerous new turn.

In addition to seismic activity and deformation of the land surface, another sign of volcanic activity is increased emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2), a toxic gas that occurs naturally in magma.

“Interpreting the satellite SO2 data for events like this is complicated because there are multiple SO2 sources that combine to form the volcanic sulfur dioxide plume,” said Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech.

Read more at NASA Earth Observatory.


Mark Kulie Presents on Global Snowfall Datasets

CloudSat and CALIPSO Pairing showing illustrations of two satellites
CloudSat and CALIPSO Pairing, courtesy of NASA.

Mark Kulie (GMES) is attending the NASA CloudSat/CALIPSO Annual Science Review meeting in Boulder, Colorado. The meeting runs April 23-25, 2018.

Kulie will present a talk entitled “Modern Global Snowfall Datasets: CloudSat’s Contribution.” This talk summarizes many recent and ongoing collaborative projects to develop and optimize global snowfall datasets using satellite observations.

In Print

Mark Kulie (GMES) and Lisa Milani (GMES) recently authored a manuscript entitled “Seasonal variability of shallow cumuliform snowfall: A CloudSat perspective“. This article was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. The study illustrated the global seasonal cycle of lake/ocean-effect snow using satellite-based radar observations.

https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.3222

Extract: Cumuliform snowfall seasonal variability is studied using a multi‐year CloudSat snowfall rate and cloud classification retrieval dataset. Microwave radiometer sea ice concentration datasets are also utilized to illustrate the intimate link between oceanic cumuliform snowfall production and decreased sea ice coverage.


Simon Carn Discusses the Ambae Volcano

Ambae Volcano
Ambae Volcano

Simon Carn (GMES) was cited in the article “Ambae volcano ERUPTION: Mass evacuations ordered as volcano threatens to blow,” in Express. The article deals with the increased activity and potential evacuation of thousands of households near the Ambae volcano on the island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

Ambae volcano ERUPTION: Mass evacuations ordered as volcano threatens to blow

A large sulphur dioxide plume was emitted from Ambae in early April and it may have emitted the most sulphur dioxide of any eruption since the 2015 eruption at Calbuco in Chile.

It was noted by Simon Carn, a volcanologist and professor at Michigan Tech.

Dr Carn said a significant amount of ash was emitted during one of these eruptions and pictures on Twitter show the extent of ash on the island, which suggested it was a pretty large eruption.

Ambae volcano is a very large volcano and is frequently active. In its recorded history there have been many eruptions – every 10-50 years over the past 150 years.

All these eruptions have been from the summit craters, except one recorded in the 1670s.

Read more at Express.


Jackie Huntoon on Teaching Earth Science

Earth Science illustration of pollution.

Michigan Tech Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jacqueline Huntoon was interviewed for the article “The Importance of Teaching Earth Science,” reprinted in teachmag.com. The article originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. 2018 edition of TEACH Magazine.

The Importance Of Teaching Earth Science

Earth science has long been the poor cousin of STEM programs. It takes a back seat to technology and even among the straight sciences, rocks and rivers get short shrift alongside the physical sciences—properties of matter, motion, gravity.

“A lot of the topics that are part of an earth science curriculum are relevant to a person’s daily life,” said Jacqueline Huntoon, provost at Michigan Technological University. She has been helping to develop the new middle school science curriculum Mi-STAR, for Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform.

Her approach relies heavily on hands-on experience.

“In the past students would be asked to memorize 50 different minerals or some set of chemical formulas. That’s not really intriguing or interesting to every kid on the block,” she said. “We like to start with something tangible and concrete, so that all the students can have a shared experience. We’ll look at those ‘helicopter’ seed pods, for example. When you drop them, they spin. Why do they spin? You can make a model of that. You get the kids to figure out as of much of this on their own, with the teacher as a guide, before you start lecturing about the concepts.”

Read more at TEACH Magazine, by Adam Stone.

Jackie Huntoon
Jackie Huntoon

NRMM Project Funding for Thomas Oommen

Thomas Oommen
Thomas Oommen

Thomas Oommen (GMES/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $5,000 research and development contract from the University of Michigan. The project is “Remote Sensing Based Terrain Strength Characterization for the Next Generation NATO Reference Mobility Model Development.

This is the first year of a potential three-year project, potentially totaling $109,337.

By Sponsored Programs.

The NATO Reference Mobility Model (NRMM) is a simulation tool aimed at predicting the capability of a vehicle to move over specified terrain conditions.


Hamburg Meteorite in Mineral Museum

Hamburg Meteorite appears in the news video feed.Shortly after 8 p.m. on the evening of Jan. 16, 2018, a meteor fireball was witnessed from lower Michigan to as far away as eastern Wisconsin. You can view a news video of the fireball on YouTube.

Within two days of the fall, meteorite hunters found fragments on frozen lakes around Hamburg, Michigan, a small town Northwest of Detroit. One of the fragments that was found on Strawberry Lake has been donated to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum by the Michigan Mineralogical Society.

The Hamburg meteorite has been classified as an ordinary chondrite by the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Ordinary chrondrites are the most “primitive” type of meteorites and were formed about 4.5 billion years ago from dust and small grains in the early solar system. It is generally agreed that the Earth and other rocky planets formed from the same material as chondrites.

The Hamburg meteorite is only the 11th identified meteorite to fall in Michigan and is now on public display in the Introduction gallery at the Museum as a result of the generosity of the Michigan Mineralogical Society, southeast Michigan’s premier mineralogical club.

The society hosts the Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral show held annually in October at which the museum is a regular exhibitor.

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.



Greg Waite Presents on Tracking Lava Lakes

Greg Waite
Greg Waite

The work of volcano seismologist Greg Waite (GMES) was mentioned in the article “Hawaii Volcanoes National Park March 2018 Events” in Hawaii 24/7. Waite will give a presentation on March 27, 2018, at Volcanoes National Park. His presentation “Tracking Lava Lakes with the Sounds from Bursting Gas Bubbles” will feature Waite’s work with volcanoes in Guatemala, Chile and Hawaii.

Tracking Lava Lakes with the Sounds from Bursting Gas Bubbles

Other volcanic systems around the word are similar to Kīlauea Volcano’s Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and Halema‘uma‘u craters. These churning lava lakes continuously emit gas bubbles that burst when they reach the surface. Volcano seismologist Greg Waite from Michigan Technological University uses the sounds of these bursting bubbles to investigate the rise and fall of lava lakes in volcanic conduits. Learn about his fascinating work with Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala, Villarrica Volcano in Chile and Kīlauea. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., March 27 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium


Mineral Museum Exhibit Wins Award at Tucson Show

Tucson 2018 exhibitor hall.

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum recently exhibited at the 64th Annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show held Feb. 8-11, 2018. The Tucson show is the largest and most prestigious mineral show in the world with an international audience. The exhibit theme for this year’s show was “Crystals and Crystal Forms.” The museum’s exhibit, titled “Classic Keweenaw Copper and Calcite Crystals,” paired outstanding specimens from both Michigan Tech and the Michigan Minerals Alliance with antique wooden models of ideal crystal forms. Among the multiple museum exhibits from around the world, the Mineral Museum’s exhibit was awarded the Betty & Clayton Memorial Trophy for the best museum exhibit.

The museum’s award winning Keweenaw exhibit was collaboratively designed by Chris Stefano, associate curator, John Jaszczak (Physics), adjunct curator, and Ted Bornhorst, museum executive director. Jaszczak and Bornhorst installed the exhibit.

The museum had a second exhibit at the show titled “Merelaniite: 2016 Mineral of the Year.” Jaszczak, who designed and installed the exhibit, was a principal author in the naming of merelaniite in 2016, which subsequently was selected as Mineral of the Year by the International Mineralogical Association.

In addition to participating at the show, Jaszczak gave two presentations at the Mineralogical Symposium on Crystals and Crystal Forms sponsored by Friends of Mineralogy, Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and the Mineralogical Society of America. His presentations were titled “Sphalerite and Wurtzite Polytypism and Morphology” and “Breaking the Law: Exceptions to the Classical Laws of Crystallography.”

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Chad Deering and Bob Barron

by Michael Meyer, Director, William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and LearningPrint

This week’s Dean’s Teaching Showcase selection, made by Dean Wayne Pennington of the College of Engineering, is a unique teaching partnership. Assistant Professor Chad Deering and Lab Manager Bob Barron were selected for “deftly leading our students for the past three summers” through the field course in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

GMES Chair John Gierke explains the unique demands and challenges of teaching the field geology course. “While most of us hold a fondness to participate in fieldwork, the glamour wears off when conditions get tough or if the work turns out tedious. Field geology starts a few days after Spring Semester. In addition to the rapidly changing and variable weather, UP fieldwork in May and June is accompanied by hordes of mosquitoes and black flies. The glamour evaporates by the second day. Moreover, field geology is fraught with uncertainty and figuring out the geological setting is tedious. Frustrations with the weather, bugs, and unknown are pervasive. It takes special people to lead students through the five week, all-day, every-day course.”
In addition, Michigan Tech’s field course has non-traditional timing which creates unique learning opportunities, but might make the teaching even more demanding. Pennington explains, “In most institutions, the ‘field course’ in geology is the final course, often following all other coursework. At Michigan Tech, it is usually taken after the second year. This enables students to have a better understanding of the basis for nearly all their subsequent courses … but only if the field course is taught in a way that encourages self-discovery and insight. For many years, Bob and Chad have taken the field course to new levels of integration with the concepts students are exposed to in their courses, helping the students to better master the concepts as well as the practices involved in the various disciplines that are based on these experiences. This approach to field experience is one of the things that makes Michigan Tech unique, and our students more successful upon graduation.”
Deering and Barron’s co-nomination for the Dean’s Showcase is based not on one particular innovation but their collective skills for success in developing students’ field skills in geology. Their complementary styles and knowledge have been an ideal pairing for leading the course, and student evaluations of instruction confirm their effectiveness. They approach each new site with a sequence that includes background literature, field observations, measurements and sampling, then further study in the microscopy lab.
They find ways to reinforce the mineralogy, petrology and structural geology skills developed in prerequisite courses, and insist on frequent individual and small-group interactions in the field to help the students persist, guiding them to an appropriate explanation for each site.
Intermingled through the learning experience are barbecues, brief periods of shooting the breeze in picturesque locales and other recreational activities. The fieldwork activities culminate with students creating geological maps and reports describing their findings. At this point in their studies, students span a spectrum of abilities for scientific writing and creating maps, which require artistic skills along with technical competence.
Gierke articulates the unique teaching challenges of the field course, saying “Achieving a balance of being critical of quality and yet maintaining morale is a knack that I have never mastered—I, unfortunately, excel at the being-critical part. Yet Bob and Chad have somehow figured out how to take students who are exhausted, sunburned and fly bitten and keep them sufficiently motivated to produce maps that could be framed (for some) and develop writing skills that help them through the rest of their curriculum.”
Deering and Barron will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members, and the team is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside-the-classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.