Category Archives: News

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


Greg Waite is an Outstanding Reviewer

Greg Waite
Greg Waite

Greg Waite (GMES) was among the “Outstanding Reviewers of 2017” named by Eos, Earth & Space Science News. According to the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the reviewers listed “have all provided in-depth evaluations, often over more than one round of revision, that greatly improved the final published papers. This increase in complexity, in turn, has increased the challenge and the role of reviewing.”

Winning reviewers were selected by the editors of each journal for their work. Editor M. Bayani Cardenas cited Waite for his service to Geophysical Research Letters.

Quality peer review is thus a critical part of the social contract between science and society.Eos

Read more at Eos, by Brooks Hanson and Lisa Tauxe.


NASA Project Funding For Simon Carn

Simon Carn
Simon Carn

Simon Carn (GMES/EPSSI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $27,883 research and development grant from the University of Maryland-The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The project is titled “Extending NASA’s EOS SO2 and NO2 Data Records from Auro/OMI to Suomi NPP/OMPS.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $96,614.

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Bornhorst Talks About the Midcontinent Rift

Institute on Lake Superior Geology

Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, attended the 64th annual meeting of the Institute on Lake Superior Geology held May 15 to 18, 2018, in Iron Mountain. Bornhorst gave a presentation during the technical sessions titled “The youngest magmatic activity of the Midcontinent rift at Bear Lake, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan.”

The presentation was co-authored by Evgeniy Kulakov, University of Oslo, Chad Deering (GMES) and Jim Moore. Bornhorst also served on the 2018 institute’s board of directors that met during the meeting. Darlene Comfort, Office of the Vice President of Administration, served as registrar for the meeting through the museum.


Michael Neumann ’81 Featured in New Age Metals

New Age Metals Lithium Two PropertyMichigan Tech Alumnus Michael Neumann, a director with New Age Metals, was featured in the article “New Age Metals—Developing PGM and Lithium Properties in Canada,” in Investing News Network.

Neumann graduated in 1981 with a Mining Engineering degree from Michigan Tech. He has been Proprietor of Neumann Engineering and Mining Services, Inc. since 1993.

New Age Metals Inc. is a green metals exploration company currently developing its flagship River Valley platinum group metals property in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

Read more at Investing News Network.


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.

In the News

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted in the article “The lava striking the sea is gorgeous — and can be deadly,” in The Verge. Carn commented on the results when lava from a volcano strikes seawater. The story was picked up by several media outlets including the Las Vegas News and Dotemirates.

Simon Carn (GMES), was quoted in the article “Kilauea Lava Flows Hit the Ocean, Creating Toxic Acid Steam Clouds” which looks at the effects of lava from the Kilauea Volcano hitting the ocean. Research from Michigan Tech regarding the volcano was mentioned in Radio Canada.


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.