Category Archives: News

New Gallery Opening at A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum

CopperThe A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum announces the opening of its newest gallery “Mining Minerals.” Many of the minerals in Michigan Tech’s collection are by-products of mining. The Mining Minerals gallery complements the adjacent “Minerals and You” gallery which demonstrates how minerals are important in our everyday lives through four exhibit cases showing many examples of uses of minerals, an exhibit case focused on minerals used in your car, and one focused on the uses of copper. Since minerals come from mines and they are a critical component of modern life, the new gallery is designed to help visitors better understand the entire mining cycle from beginning to end.

“A gallery focused on mining fits well with Michigan Tech’s origin in 1885 as the Michigan Mining School and with the museum’s mission to educate people about minerals” says Ted Bornhorst, the musuem’s executive director.

The new gallery consists of five exhibit showcases beginning with an outline of the types of Earth resources and an overview of the mining process.

The second exhibit case presents the activities necessary before a mine is created from exploring to discovery of a potential mineable resource which is followed by intense studies including design of the mining facility, environmental considerations, economics, mine closure and application for a mining permit.

Once the permit is approved, then the mining industrial complex can be constructed for an open-pit or underground mine as described in the third exhibit case. Mineral resources require simple to complex processing to make them ready for industrial applications as illustrated in the fourth exhibit case.

The last phase of the life of a mine is closure, the fifth exhibit case. The mine closure exhibit touches upon removal and repurposing of the surface mining infrastructure, reuse of non-hazardous mining waste and minimizing the impact of hazardous waste. The all-encompassing concept of sustainable or green mining is introduced.

The new Mining Minerals gallery is innovative as compared to mineral museums elsewhere because it covers the entire mining cycle in a holistic way, directly connects to the uses of minerals and augments the other mineral exhibits in the museum.

The museum welcomes the University and broader community to visit the museum to learn more about minerals and mining. Admission is waived for current Michigan Tech students as well as faculty and staff and their professional guests. Until November, the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

By the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Federal Mine Safety Training Grant

Mine SafetyHOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) – Michigan Technological University in Houghton will receive nearly $253,000 in funding from the U.S. Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The grant is part of more than $10 million awarded to 46 states, the Navajo Nation, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands to support safety and health courses and other programs.

The funds will provide miners with federally mandated training. It covers miners working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines, including those in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand and gravel mining operations.

By Associated Press.

Mine Safety and Health at Michigan Tech


Upcoming Outdoor Exhibits at the Museum

View of part of the garden and pathways near the museum.
Phyllis and John Seaman Garden

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum is looking forward to a new exhibit in the Phyllis and John Seaman Garden. A recently donated specimen of float copper, weighing approximately 400 lbs., with a beautiful green patina will become a center piece in the garden next spring after a stand is fabricated.

The specimen was donated by Val Vaughan-Drong of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and Karen Brown of San Antonio, Texas in honor of their late parents Harry and Aili Vaughan. The float copper was discovered on the Vaughan property off Pike River Road near Chassell.

A second new outside exhibit will be located in an extension of the garden towards the Copper Pavilion. Patricia Carlon, of Bloomington, Illinois, donated a kibble to the museum in honor of her late husband, John Carlon, who was a long-time mineral dealer. A kibble is an iron bucket that was used to raise ore and waste rock from early mine shafts in the Keweenaw Peninsula. The kibble was found at the Robbins, or West Vein Mine, near Phoenix by a local deer hunter about 50 years ago and sold to a mineral dealer who resold it to Carlon.

Michigan Tech geology alumnus Ross Lillie ’79, owner of North Star Minerals in Traverse City, helped connect Carlon to the museum. Lillie describes this 1860s vintage kibble as a “historically significant, desirable mining artifact in outstanding condition with superlative provenance.” The kibble will go on exhibit next spring after a custom-designed display is constructed.

By the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Gierke and Oommen Present in Tbilisi

NATO 's Science for Peace and Security banner graphic

John Gierke, professor and chair of GMES and Thomas Oommen (GMES) presented collaborative work on “Field Data Collection and Slope Stability Analysis in the Vicinity of the Enguri Dam” and “External Loadings and Landslide Hazards at Enguri,” respectively, at the culminating meeting for the international project funded by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security: “SfP G4934 Security Against Geohazards at the Major Enguri Hydroelectric Scheme in Georgia.”

The meeting was held Sept. 12, 2018, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Michigan Tech project work that was presented included contributions from MS Geology graduate Maria Diletta Acciaro and BS Geological Engineering graduates Carolyn Lucca, Zack Fleming, Nicole Bird and Erica Anderson.


Bornhorst Named to State Environmental Permit Review Commission

Ted Bornhorst
Ted Bornhorst

Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor of geology at Michigan Tech, is among the initial appointments made by Governor Rick Snyder to the state’s Environmental Permit Review Commission. Bornhorst was appointed to a three-year term.

The commission, established by Public Act 268 of 2018, is comprised of 15 members which can be called upon by the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to review and advise on permit applications.

Bornhorst has previously served the state of Michigan on environmental-related topics. From 1983 to 1998, he was involved at the state level as an advisor on the topic of radioactive waste disposal, first on the Governor’s task force on high-level radioactive waste followed by an appointment by Governor James Blanchard to the Radioactive Waste Control Committee legislated by Michigan Public Act 190 of 1985.

Bornhorst chaired the Siting Criteria Advisory Committee for Michigan’s Low-Level Radioactive Waste Authority from 1988 to 1989 which created screening criteria to select a site while protecting the environment and public health.

His involvement on the topic of radioactive waste continued until Michigan withdrew from the Midwest Interstate Radioactive Waste Compact. Bornhorst served the State of Michigan from 2004 to 2008 in an advisory capacity in the areas of metallic mineral leasing, regulation of metallic mineral exploration and mining, administrative rules for Michigan’s non-ferrous metallic mining regulations and the mineral wells advisory committee.

The work group’s efforts on the regulation of metallic mineral exploration and mining resulted in State of Michigan law Part 632, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994 as amended, also known as Michigan’s nonferrous metallic mining regulations Part 632.

Most recently, in 2016, he published a peer-reviewed article in the international journal Economic Geology on predicting water quality impact from mining wastes.

Upon being asked by Governor Snyder to serve on this commission Bornhorst simply remarked “I’m honored to serve the people of the state of Michigan.”

Dennis Bittner of Gladstone is the only other member of the commission from the Upper Peninsula.

By the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Emily Gochis, Ph.D. Candidate, Appointed As New MiSTEM Director

Emily Gochis, Ph.D. candidate in GMES has been appointed as the director of the MiSTEM network in Region 16 of Michigan, which covers Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Baraga, and Gogebic counties.emilypc

The new regional network, which replaces the Western U.P. Math and Science Center, has been established to form partnerships and strategies that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and career pathways. These careers are often difficult to experience before a student reaches college when it becomes expensive to explore different career options. Presenting K-12 students with opportunities to experience hands-on STEM applications lets them consider these careers for themselves before making a college choice.

“I’m going out and communicating with anybody and everybody that does anything with science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the region, just trying to connect with all of them in order to create these new opportunities,” Gochis said.

Emily’s PhD advisor, John Gierke, had this to say about the new role that Emily will have in our region’s schools: “While we are certainly proud of Emily’s accomplishments that led to this appointment, we are very happy for the schools of the Western Upper Peninsula and the new opportunities that Emily will facilitate.” Gierke has worked with Emily since she completed her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer and notes that, “Her skills, creativity, and enthusiasm are vast. I am always amazed at her experience in teaching, research and service and how she puts those experiences together in building new educational programs and activities. We are certainly lucky that she is in this new role.”

Read more at the Daily Mining Gazette

 

Pictured: Emily Gochis as a PCV in El Salvador, contributing to our hazards research as car-battery sherpa. The batteries are used to power monitoring equipment on the volcanoes.

 


NSF Funding for Kenneth Hinkel on Catastrophic Thermokarst Lake Drainage

Kenneth Hinkel
Kenneth Hinkel

Kenneth Hinkel (GMES/EPSSI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $75,436 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “Collaborative Research: Causes and Consequences of Catastrophic Thermokarst Lake Drainage in an Evolving Arctic System.” This is a three-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

Lakes are abundant features on coastal plains of the Arctic, providing important fish and wildlife habitat and water supply for villages and industry, but also interact with frozen ground (permafrost) and the carbon it stores. Most of these lakes are termed “thermokarst” because they form in ice-rich permafrost and gradually expand over time. The dynamic nature of thermokarst lakes also makes them prone to catastrophic drainage and abrupt conversion to wetlands, called drained thermokarst lake basins (DTLBs). Together, thermokarst lakes and DTLBs cover up to 80% of arctic lowland regions, making understanding their response to ongoing climate change essential for coastal plain environmental assessment.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Nominee for 2018 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award: Lauren Schaefer

LaureLauren-Schaefer-2018n N. Schaefer received both an MSc in Geology (International Geological Masters in Volcanology and Geotechniques, 2012) and a PhD in Geological Engineering as a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow (2016) at Michigan Tech under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Oommen. Her dissertation investigated the potential for large-scale debris avalanches at Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala to optimize future monitoring and mitigation efforts. A combination of experimental rock mechanics, field investigations, remote sensing, and numerical modeling not only detected, but revealed the nature and mechanics of the largest landslide surge witnessed in a single event at a volcano. Her dissertation provided rare insight into precursory deformation prior to a potential future catastrophic collapse at an active volcano. Such an event was witnessed at Mount St. Helens in 1980, and is known to have occurred at over 400 volcanoes worldwide.

Currently, Lauren is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she continues to research landslide and volcanic hazards.


Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf Comments on Fuego Pyroclastic Flow

Volcan de Fuego day and night imagesOn June 3, 2018, torrents of hot ash, rock, and gas poured down ravines and stream channels on the slopes of Volcán de Fuego—Guatamala’s Volcano of Fire. More than three weeks after the eruption, the Landsat 8 satellite continued to detect elevated temperatures in some of the pyroclastic flow deposits.

“Fuego left pyroclastic flow deposits that cooled down quickly at the surface but are still very hot inside,” explained Michigan Technological University volcanologist Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf. “Cooling deposits can show surface temperatures above the background level for a long time—weeks, or even months. However, that temperature may be only slightly above the background level, as the heat from the interior slowly seeps out of the deposit to the surface.”

Read more at NASA Earth Observatory.

New Funding

Rudiger Escobar-Wolf (GMES) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $115,024 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

Simon Carn (GMES) and Michigan Tech alumna Lizette Rodriguez Iglesias, PhD ’07, are Co/PIs on the project “RAPID: Lethal Pyroclastic Density Current (PDC) Generation and Transport at Fuego Volcano.” This is a one-year project.

Extract

This Rapid Research Response (RAPID) award will be used to better understand the deadly eruption at Fuego volcano (Guatemala) on June 3rd, 2018, and in particular the pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) that caused the fatalities. How those PDCs initiated, what caused them to move that far, and what could be the conditions under which they may form in the future, are all poorly understood issues. By looking at the PDCs deposit, mapping them and study their stratigraphy in the field, analyzing the the chemical, petrological, and physical characteristics (density and vesicularity, grain size distribution, etc.), and by using numerical models to understand their flowing dynamics, this team hopes to be able to tell where the PDCs material came from, and how it was fragmented and transported. They will also look at geophysical and geochemical monitoring data leading up and during the eruption, particularly from the local seismic network and satellite remote sensing data, to characterize other aspects of the eruption as well (eruption intensity and duration) and put the PDC information in that context. This knowledge will improve our understanding of the formation of this kind of PDCs, particularly at basaltic volcanoes like Fuego, and could be relevant to many other similar volcanoes worldwide and in the US.

Related:

Mapping Lahar Threats in the Aftermath of Volcán de Fuego


Presentation on How the Rock Connects Us

How the Rock Connects Us coverErika Vye and Bill Rose will give a presentation on how Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula have a rich cultural, industrial, and mining heritage, all connected by their geologic underpinnings.

The topics are showcased in their new book, How the Rock Connects Us: A Geoheritage Guide to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale, published by the Isle Royale Natural History Association, Incorporated, Nov 24, 2017 – 64 pages. ISBN 0935289216, 9780935289213

Interested in exploring the geology of the Keweenaw and Isle Royale this summer? Join Erika Vye and Bill Rose to learn about exciting geosites in our area, upcoming tours, and how to navigate their new geoheritage field guide. Daniel Lizzadro-McPherson will also join to showcase a Story Map he developed highlighting Isle Royale geology during a National Park Service Geoscientist in the Park internship. The book will be available for sale, and proceeds from this sale will support library services.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library.

The book signing and presentation will take place at on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Calumet Public Library.

Calumet Public Library
57070 Mine St.
Calumet, MI
906-337-0311 ext. 1107
clkschools.org/library