Category: News

Former Professor and Department Head Jorma “Joe” Kalliokoski Remembered

Jorma “Joe” Kalliokoski

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jorma “Joe” Kalliokoski, a professor emeritus and former Head of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) at Michigan Tech. He passed away on Monday, June 3, 2024, at the age of 100.

Dr. Kalliokoski received his B.S. degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1947 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in 1951. He was a faculty member at Princeton from 1956 to 1968, when he came to Michigan Tech to become the Department Head. He served in that capacity for 13 years (1968-1981) and retired in 1988. During his tenure as head, the department expanded, the geophysics program joined our department, and the commitment to research and the graduate program was greatly strengthened. Dr. Kalliokoski made significant contributions in the fields of economic geology, Precambrian geology, and mineral deposit research, on which he published multiple papers and reports. He was the Business editor of Economic Geology Publishing Company from 1971-77.

Dr. Kalliokoski was inducted into the Academy of GMES in 1995.

Read Kalliokoski’s obituary and leave a memory if you wish. A memorial service for Joe will be held at Portage Lake United Church on Saturday, June 29, at 11 am. The burial will be in the Forest Hill Cemetery of Houghton.

Inspiring Stories: GMES Students Featured in Prestigious AIPG Magazine

Exciting news from the GMES department! Our talented students, Anton Smirnov, and Natalie Sorensen, have been featured in the latest issue of Professional Geologist, a publication by the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG).

In her insightful undergraduate essay on page 29, Natalie Sorensen (geological engineering) shares how her geohydrology research has been a game-changer, helping her connect classroom concepts with real-world applications. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in seeing how academic studies translate into practical experiences!

Meanwhile, on page 50, MTU AIPG Student Chapter President Anton Smirnov (geology) discusses the fantastic networking perks of being an AIPG student member. His piece highlights the valuable connections and opportunities that membership has brought him, making a strong case for why every geology student should consider joining.

Check out their stories and get inspired!

Anton Smirnov explores hands-on learning with nature as his guide at Mammoth Cave National Park

Department of GMES Attends the 2024 Annual SME Conference & Expo in Phoenix

A large group of students and faculty from the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) attended the 2024 Annual Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Conference & Expo, held in Phoenix, Arizona, from February 25-28. The group included seven BS students, eight MS students, one Ph.D. student, and three faculty members (Chatterjee, Manser, Smirnov). This annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for our students to gain exposure to the latest advances in mining engineering research and practice, network with industry professionals, and explore future career paths. The Department provided full or partial travel support to all student participants thanks to the generosity of the Richard Saccany Mining Program Fund, the Robert Hendricks Mining Endowment Fund, and our friends who have supported the Mining Engineering program.

The students in attendance were Cassie Burch, Aiden Harmon, Lucas Maxon, Ian Repic, Nathan Seidel, Anton Smirnov Grady Williams, Theo Asumah, Alfred Yeboah, Rapheka Targbwe, Maxwell Yeboah, Jhuleyssy L. Sanchez Aguilar, Angela Amoh, Isaac Donkoh, Conor Large, and Abid Danish.

This year, our AggCelerate student team made it to the top six nationally in the final phase of the SME/National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Student Design Competition! This annual competition is a demanding two-phase, team-based, problem-solving activity involving a technical design and an oral presentation. The problem highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with operating a sand and gravel quarry, developing an overall design plan, and optimizing the operating methods and economics. Students work on the problem from the perspective of an engineering consulting team responsible for developing the pit and mineral processing plant configuration.

The AggCelerate team at SME: (left to right) Ian Repic, Cassie Burch, Nathan Seidel, Grady Williams, Aiden Harmon, and Lucas Maxon

The interdisciplinary Michigan Tech team included mining engineering majors Aiden Harmon, Lucas Maxon, Ian Repic, Nathan Seidel, Grady Williams, and geological engineering junior Cassie Burch. “Under the expert guidance of Dr. Nathan Manser, Professor of Practice at GMES, the team has demonstrated exceptional skill and knowledge in their field,” said Aleksey Smirnov, Department of GMES Chair, who attended the conference. Although our team did not make it to the podium, the judges complimented the novelty of their design solutions.

On the research side, Associate Professor and a Witte Family Faculty Fellow in mining engineering, Dr. Snehamoy Chatterjee, delivered an oral presentation titled “Developing a Recourse Action to Survive Low Commodity Prices in Open Pit Mine Planning.” This research develops a recourse action strategy under an uncertain environment to revisit the mine production planning when metal prices decline.

Dr. Chatterjee’s Ph.D. student, Abid Danish, presented a talk titled “Enhancing Workplace Safety in the Mining Industry: A Data-Driven Approach through Unstructured Accident Narrative Analysis and Clustering.” He analyzed MSHA accident/injury data narratives using natural language models and unsupervised machine learning algorithms to understand the risks associated with mining accidents.

PhD student, Abid Danish presents his talk.

The GMES department co-sponsored and hosted an alumni engagement event. The two-hour social event was well-attended by alumni from several MTU departments, such as GMES, Chemical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, and other programs and current MTU faculty and students. The event was a great opportunity for everyone to network and catch up with old friends. Overall, the alumni engagement event was a success, and plans for the next meeting in Denver are already underway. We are grateful to all the alumni who attended and look forward to seeing even more of them at future events. This year, the event was co-sponsored by the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Associate Professor Dr. Chatterjee welcomes guests.
The GMES alumni event.

Congratulations Spring 2024 Graduates!

Spring 2024 Grads
Spring 2024 Commencement Ceremony

Bravo, graduates! Here’s to your endless potential and the adventures awaiting in your future.

Degrees Awarded

Master of Science in Geological Engineering
Clayton H. Donajkowski
William T. Webster

Master of Science in Geology
Hayden M. Chaisson

Master of Science in Geophysics
Sunday Joseph
Aimee Zimmerman
Morgan Wilke

Master of Science in Mining Engineering
Emmanuel Wolubah
Alfred Yeboah
Enoch Nii-Okai

Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering
Karina K. Constant
Braxton J. Murphy

Bachelor of Science in Applied Geophysics
Brendan Harville

Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering
Ian G. Repic
Olivia K. Rouleau
Nathan J. Seidel
Maxx D. Tartamella

Award Recipients

AIPG National Student Scholarship – Natalie Sorensen
Outstanding GTA Award Spring ‘24 – Aimee Zimmerman
Outstanding GTA Award Fall ’23 – Dakota Locklear
Outstanding Scholarship Award Sp’24 – Morgan Wilke
Outstanding Scholarship Award Fall ‘23 – Ian Gannon
Department Scholar – Sam Jensen
Field Geophysics Spiroff Book Award – Clarissa Gordon
Field Geology Spiroff Book Award – Anton Smirnov
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) – Sam Jensen
Estwig Rock Hammer Award – Max Stange

Certificate Graduates

Geoinformatics – Oluwatosin O. Ayo, Clayton H. Donajkowski, Sunday Joseph,
Ashish Mahaur, Eli A. Paulen, William T. Webster, Morgana M. Wilke, Emmanuel L. Wolubah
Natural Hazards & Disaster Risk Reduction – Hayden M. Chaisson, Ryan M. Cocke,
William T. Webster, Morgana M. Wilke

GMES Spring 2024 Graduates

Rumbling Recognition: Volcanology Professor Achieves Dual Honors

Dr. Simon Carn

In a stunning display of ‘when it rains, it pours,’ Dr. Simon Carn, a Professor at the Department of GMES, has bagged two prestigious awards within a month—a feat as rare as spotting a double rainbow. On April 5, Dr. Carn was honored with the Michigan Tech Research Award, recognizing his outstanding achievements in research. Just weeks later, on April 18, he was bestowed the title of Distinguished Professor, an accolade awarded to faculty members who have made substantial contributions to the University and their discipline.

Dr. Carn has made seminal contributions to both applied and fundamental aspects of volcanology, remote sensing, and meteorology. Recognized as a world authority on multi-sensor remote sensing of volcanic clouds, he uniquely blends advanced knowledge of remote sensing, volcanology, and atmospheric science. His research is noted for its innovation, collaborative spirit, and versatility, focusing on employing remote sensing data in studies of volcanic degassing, eruption clouds, and anthropogenic pollution. Dr. Carn excels in translating theoretical understanding into practical solutions, significantly impacting volcanic hazard prediction and mitigation and enhancing aviation safety. This blend of academic and practical prowess has earned him broad international recognition, including the American Meteorological Society Special Award and the NASA/US DOI William T. Pecora Award.

Dr. Carn has secured substantial external funding to support his research, with contributions from prestigious agencies such as NASA, NSF, and NOAA, underscoring the scientific community’s strong confidence in his work. His external expenditure ranks among the highest at MTU. His scholarly output is both prolific and collaborative, featuring 133 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, many co-authored with his students. He is also among the most cited researchers at the university.

An inspiring mentor and instructor, Dr. Carn has guided four postdoctoral researchers, 22 PhD and 36 MS students. He led our successful dual International Master in Geology (INVOGE) program from 2009 to 2015 in collaboration with Université Blaise Pascal, the University of Buffalo, and the University of Milan Bicocca. His students have found employment in the public, government, and academia worldwide.

Dr. Carn has made significant contributions to his professional community, serving as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Geophysical Research and as Secretary of the Remote Sensing Commission of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) since 2008. Additionally, he has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Improving Understanding of Volcanic Eruptions, the AAAS Review Committee for the U.S. Geological Survey Volcanic Hazards Program, and various scientific committees for international conferences and workshops.

Importantly, Dr. Carn has been very active and efficient in outreach and promotion of science. He is a frequent and long-term contributor to NASA’s Earth Observatory educational website and other outlets such as Scientific American and National Geographic. He conducted TV, radio, and newspaper interviews with BBC World Service, The Weather Channel, Wall Street Journal, Weather Underground, and others. Finally, he has actively promoted his research on X (formerly Twitter) with more than 7000 followers as of today.

Congratulations, Simon, on these well-deserved awards!

Simon Carn on the Eruption of La Cumbre Volcano

Aerial view of La Cumbre, the lava flow, and the edge of Fernandina.
Fernandina Island showing the active lava flow from La Cumbra on March 7, 2024. Visit NASA Earth Observatory for legend and labels.

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted by NASA Earth Observatory in a story about an eruption of the La Cumbre volcano in the Galápagos islands. The eruption began March 2 on Fernandina Island, and the story included a March 7 aerial image showing continued active lava flow.

“This is typical of lava-producing effusive eruptions, which usually show peak emissions early on followed by a steady decline towards the end of the eruption.”

Simon Carn, professor in Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Carn’s research includes using satellite measurements to constrain global volcanic SO2 production and emissions from individual volcanoes.

Michigan Tech’s GMES Student Team Advances in National Mine Design Competition, with Final Phase on Feb. 25

Nathan Manser, Professor of Practice, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Tech

The AggCelerate student team from the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) has advanced to the top six nationally in Phase 2 of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME)/National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Student Design Competition. The annual competition is a grueling two-phase, team-based, problem-solving activity involving a technical design and an oral presentation.

Under the guidance of Dr. Nathan Manser, Professor of Practice at GMES, the team has demonstrated exceptional skill and knowledge in their field.

The team members, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Cassie Burch (Junior, Geological Engineering)
  • Aiden Harmon (Junior, Mining Engineering)
  • Lucas Maxon (Sophomore, Mining Engineering)
  • Ian Repic (Senior, Mining Engineering)
  • Nathan Seidel (Senior, Mining Engineering)
  • Grady Williams (Junior, Mining Engineering)

During Spring break, the team will participate in the second phase during the 2024 SME Annual Conference and Expo. Michigan Tech will be competing against runner-up teams from the University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, University of Arizona, West Virginia University, and Missouri University of Science and Technology.

In the second phase of the competition, students have one weekend to solve a design problem and present their findings to a panel of judges. The competition is designed to simulate an engineering project prepared by an engineering group for a company. Past problems have highlighted the challenges of mine planning, plant design, reserve modeling and feasibility analysis.

This year’s sponsors of the SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition are:

  • Executive sponsor: Glacier Resource Estimation Group/Costmine
  • Title sponsors: Granite Construction, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) and Luck Stone
  • Supporting sponsors: New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc. and Carter Machinery

Shiliang Wu on Air Quality in Detroit

Shiliang Wu
Shiliang Wu

Shiliang Wu (GMES/CEGE) was quoted by Planet Detroit in a story explaining how a winter atmospheric inversion lowered air quality January 7-8, 2024, in Detroit. Wu co-authored a 2016 study that found a 50% increase over the last 60 years in the frequency of winter atmospheric inversions and summer heatwaves, which can both increase air pollution. The story was picked up by Great Lakes Now.

“For the last at least 60 years we have data for, we can clearly see a trend of increasing temperature inversions in mid-latitude regions.”

Shiliang Wu, professor at Michigan Tech

Wu is a dual-appointment professor in Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences and Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering. His research involves impacts of global change on atmospheric chemistry and long-range transport of air pollution.

Simon Carn on the Eruption from a Fissure on the Reykjanes Peninsula

Pair of color maps of the peninsula, with a bright region in the right map.
Reykjanes Peninsula on December 18, 2023 (left) and December 19, 2023 (right). Visit NASA Earth Observatory for legend and labels.

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted by NASA’s Earth Observatory in a story about the eruption of lava from a new fissure on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, which began late on Dec. 18. Carn interpreted a brightness temperature image comparison of the eruption area between Dec. 18 and 19, and commented on the reported risk to nearby infrastructure.

“If lava continues to flow north, it could eventually reach the key main road from Keflavík airport to Reykjavík.”

Simon Carn, professor in Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Carn’s current research focus is the application of remote sensing data to studies of volcanic degassing, volcanic eruption clouds, and anthropogenic pollution.

GMES Awards Seven Degrees in Fall 2023 Commencement Ceremony

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences is pleased to award five bachelor’s, and two master’s degrees this December.

Two graduate degrees awarded:
Breen, Dillon MS Geology
Advised by Dr. Luke Bowman
Metts, Isabella MS Geophysics
Advised by Dr. Greg Waite

Five undergraduate degrees awarded:
Hawes, Jack W. BS Geological Engineering
Johnson, Samuel A. BS Geology
McClelland, Elliz E. BS Geology
Myaard, John S. BS Geological Engineering
Verran, Maria E. BS Mining Engineering

Congratulations, and best of luck on all future endeavors!

John Myaard, Elliz McClelland, Samuel Johnson, Maria Verran, and GMES Department Chair Aleksey Smirnov.