Author: ehgroth

GMES Seminar: Linking mantle dynamics to plate tectonics

GMES Seminar: Linking mantle dynamics to plate tectonics

Trond H. Torsvik, Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway; Friday, November 1, 2013, Dow 610

The calibration of longitude in the mid-eighteenth century by the invention of a sea-going chronometer gave mariners confidence that they could reliably calculate their absolute position on the Earth’s surface. Until recently, Earth scientists have been in the comparable position of having no way of calculating the longitudes of continents before the Cretaceous, leaving paleomagnetism, which cannot determine longitude, as the only quantitative means of positioning continents on the globe before that time. However, by choosing a reference continent that has moved the least longitudinally (i.e. Africa), longitudinal uncertainty can be minimized. The analytical trick is to rotate all paleomagnetic poles to Africa and calculate a global apparent polar wander path in African co-ordinates, which serves as the basis for subsequent global reconstructions. This method is dubbed the ‘zero-longitudinal motion’ approximation for Africa, and has allowed us to confidently estimate true polar wander (TPW) since Pangea formation (320 Ma), and to demonstrate that ancient large igneous provinces and kimberlites have been sourced by plumes from the edges of the large low shear-wave velocity provinces (LLSVPs) on the core-mantle boundary beneath Africa and the Pacific. Using this surface-to-CMB correlation and a new iterative approach for defining a palaeomagnetic reference frame corrected for TPW, we have developed a model for absolute plate motion back to earliest Paleozoic time that maintains the remarkable link between surface volcanism and the LLSVPs. For the Paleozoic we have for the first time identified several phases of slow, oscillatory TPW (less than 1 degree/Myr) during which the Earth’s axis of minimum moment of inertia was similar to that of Mesozoic times. We model ten phases of clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations since 540 Ma, which can be interpreted as oscillatory swings approximately around the same axis (11 degrees East at equator). Net TPW angles peaked at 22 degrees in the Mesozoic and 62 degrees in the Paleozoic, and paleomagnetic and TPW-corrected (mantle) reconstructions therefore differ significantly in the early Paleozoic.

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Neala Creasy Earns 2014 Women of Promise Award

Neala Creasy, a Senior in Applied Geophysics in the Geological and Mining Engineering & Sciences Department at Michigan Tech 2014 – Women of Promise award.
The Women of Promise program was initiated in 1999 as a result of a recommendation from the Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA). The program recognizes current female Michigan Tech students from each academic department who go above and beyond what is expected of them in terms of being a well-rounded student, by demonstrating, for example, academic achievement, campus and community leadership, good citizenship, creativity, and other characteristics of high achieving individuals. In short, women who exemplify, early on, the criteria one would consider in selecting future inductees to the Presidential Council of Alumnae. This program is also an excellent opportunity for current female students to interact with and often to be mentored by successful Michigan Tech Alumnae.
The 2013 GMES winner was Audrey L. Hutton.


Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists Scholarships Announced

Three Michigan Tech students won scholarships at the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologist (AEG) 56th Annual Meeting in Seattle.

Lauren Schaefer, a geology PhD student, won the Tilford and Lemke scholarships. The Tilford scholarship is provided to a graduate student for field studies. The Lemke scholarship is provided for outstanding student abstract for the work, “Geotechnical characterization of materials for stability analysis of large volcanic slopes: Are studies for specific volcanoes justifiable?” Lauren is advised by Thomas Oommen (GMES).


Peace Corps Master’s Student Tackles Water, Waste, Volcanoes, Earthquakes in Panama

To the people of Peña Blanca, Panama, Chet Hopp must seem like a godsend. He’s helping them get cleaner water, improve sanitation and understand their local volcanic hazards.

“I’m an environmental health extensionist, which means that my main responsibilities to my community of Peña Blanca deal with sanitation,” says Hopp, a Peace Corps Master’s International student in geology at Michigan Technological University. “Specifically, we work to improve access to potable water through development and construction of gravity-fed aqueducts, as well as improving sanitation practices through education and access to various types of latrines.”
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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


Energy Education for Michigan Scholarship Announcement

Applicant criteria: must be a Michigan resident; must demonstrate financial need; must have a minimum 2.5 GPA (calculated on a 4.00 scale); must be a full-time student in good standing at a postsecondary, accredited Michigan “Educational Institution” at the time the award is paid (an “Educational Institution” is an organization that normally maintains regular faculty and curriculum and has a regularly enrolled student body in attendance); must be enrolled in a course of study which will allow for full time employment in the crude oil and natural gas industry. Renewable for up to 3 years or until a Bachelor’s Degree is earned, whichever occurs first) DEADLINE IS JULY 15th see attached application form.

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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.”
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