Category Archives: Research

Simon Carn Comments on the Raikoke Volcano

Raikoke Volcano plume from space.
Raikoke Volcano. Courtesy of NASA.

Earlier this year, astronauts in the International Space Station got a front row seat for an epic event, but it wasn’t happening in space. On June 22, the astronauts looked down at the earth and saw the Raikoke Volcano erupting , which led to some incredible images captured by NASA and other satellites.

“What a spectacular image. It reminds me of the classic Sarychev Peak astronaut photograph of an eruption in the Kuriles from about ten years ago,” said Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech, in a NASA statement about the volcanic eruption . “The ring of white puffy clouds at the base of the column might be a sign of ambient air being drawn into the column and the condensation of water vapor. Or it could be a rising plume from interaction between magma and seawater because Raikoke is a small island and flows likely entered the water.”

Read more at Men’s Journal, by Matthew Jussim.


Rose and Vye on Jacobsville Sandstone and Keweenaw Geoheritage Efforts

Jacobsville Sandstone
Jacobsville Sandstone

Research Professor Bill Rose and Geoheritage Education Coordinator Erika Vye presented the paper “UNESCO Recognition of Jacobsville Standstone as Global Heritage Stone Resource Buoys Keweenaw Geoheritage Efforts” at GSA 2019, the Geological Society of America annual meeting.

The presenters stated that the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO’s) International Geoscience Programme (IGP) have announced that the Jacobsville Sandstone, a rock formation named for Jacobsville, Michigan, is now one of the first 15 Global Heritage Stone Resources (GHSR) in the world and the first in the United States.

They discussed the history of the natural stone in the copper country and noted the impact of international recognition upon the awareness of geoheritage.

The 2019 meeting was held September 22-25 in Phoenix, AZ.

Read more at GSA 2019.


Simon Carn on the Gigantic Pumice Raft

Simon Carn Pumice WaterIn early August, sailors in the southwest Pacific Ocean began to see their environment transmogrify. As far as the eye could see, the ocean turned from an azure delight into a colossal gathering of clinking, floating rocks. And then came the foul, sulfurous odors.

Satellite images—plenty of which were shared on Twitter by Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Technological University—showed a giant pumice raft twisting and warping in the open ocean, pushed around by the winds and waves. The raft covered an area a bit larger than San Francisco.

Read more at Gizmodo, by Robin George Andrews.


NSF Funding for Volcanic Study on Lahar Dynamics and Monitoring

William “Bill” Rose and Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf with a sample of volcanic rock.
William “Bill” Rose and Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf with a sample of volcanic rock.

Rudiger Escobar-Wolf (GMES/EPSSI) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $294,662 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “Collaborative Research: Lahar Dynamics and Monitoring: A Multiparametric Approach Grounded in Infrasound.” This is a potential three-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

Lahars, or volcanic mud flows, produce infrasound (low-frequency acoustic energy) that can be detected from distances of many kilometers. As such, it is possible to remotely characterize these hazardous mud flows by tracking their flow positions and energetics through time.

This work seeks to develop infrasound analytical tools to locate where lahars initiate, how far and fast they move, and estimate their mass flow.

Toward these goals the project will deploy and maintain seismic and infrasonic instruments at Fuego Volcano (Guatemala), where lahars are common during the rainy season (April through September). Rain gauges and time lapse cameras will be installed at locations along the lahar paths to understand how lahars initiate and to validate flow characteristics through direct observation.

This award is cofunded by the PredicMon of and Resilience against Extreme Events (PREEVENTS) program.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.



Department and Museum Represented at Institute on Lake Superior Geology

Terrace BayTed Bornhorst, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum executive director and interim curator, and Patty Cobin, associate museum manager, attended the 65th annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology held in Terrace Bay, Ontario, May 7-10, 2019.

Cobin was registrar for the 112 attendees of the technical sessions and those who attended one or more of the 8 pre- and post-meeting field trips. Thomas Bodden, a graduate student in geological and mining engineering and sciences department, also attended the meeting. Bodden presented a poster paper, along with co-authors Bornhorst, Florence Begue of University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Chad Deering, assistant professor, geological and mining engineering and sciences.

Bodden’s paper was titled: “Stable isotope composition of calcite precipitated with native copper and other minerals of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan.” Last year Bodden was awarded a small research grant from the Institute on Lake Superior Geology. He received an Eisenbrey student travel award at the conclusion of the meeting to help defray the cost of attending the meeting.

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Keweenaw Fault Project Funding for James DeGraff

James M. DeGraff
James M. DeGraff

James DeGraff (EGM/EPSSI) is the Principal Investigator on a research and development project that has received $35,000 from the US Geological Survey.

This project is titled “Keweenaw Fault Geometry, Related Structures, and Slip Kinematics Along the Lac La Belle-Mohawk Segment, Michigan.” Chad Deering (EGM) and Aleksey Smirnov (EGM) are co-PI’s on this one-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


NASA Funding for Volcanic Eruption Observation Study

Earth from space
Gallery image from NASA DSCOVR: EPIC, Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera.

Simon Carn (GMES/EPSSI), is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $79,390 research and development grant from NASA. The project is entitled “Exploiting High-Cadence Observations of Volcanic Eruptions from DSCOVR/EPIC.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $267,948.

By Sponsored Programs.


NSF Funding for Aleksey Smirnov on Geomagnetic Field Strength Study

Aleksey Smirnov
Aleksey Smirnov

Aleksey Smirnov (GMS/EPSSI), is the principal investigator on a project that has received an $87,524 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is entitled “Collaborative Research: Geomagnetic Field Strength and Stability Between 500 and 800 Ma: Constraining Inner Core Growth.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $289,747.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

Earth’s magnetic field protects the planet from solar particles that would otherwise erode the atmosphere. Thus, the magnetic field is thought to be an essential factor ensuring long-term planetary habitability. Today, this geomagnetic field is powered by growth of the solid inner core. But thermal models suggest Earth has not always had a solid inner core; the time of the onset of inner core growth has ranged from 500 million to more than 2.5 billion years ago. This represents a fundamental unknown about the planet. Arguably the best way to investigate this question is to use “paleomagnetism”, the record of the ancient magnetic field trapped in rocks and crystals as they form. Such data have motivated the hypothesis that the geomagnetic field, and the magnetic shielding of the atmosphere from solar particles, almost collapsed 565 million years ago, but then the field slowly recovered. This event may record the birth of the solid inner core. This hypothesis will be tested through studies of rocks ranging in age from 800 to 500 million years old found in Australia, Canada and the United States. The collaborative work will involve a team of 5 scientists at 3 institutions (including an underrepresented minority and woman scientist), and will be integrated into education and outreach efforts at each university, including efforts to expand opportunities for first-generation and historically underrepresented individuals.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Luke Bowman Presents at the Geoscience and Society Summit

Luke Bowman
Luke Bowman

Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) adjunct assistant professor Luke Bowman gave a collaborative presentation titled, “Multidisciplinary, International Geological Hazards Research Experiences,” at the Geoscience and Society Summit, March 18 – 21, 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden. The Summit was part of a multi-year effort by organizers to articulate the roles of geoscientists in solving 21st Century challenges and reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Summit was sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America and the Bolin Centre for Climate Research.

Bowman presented the evolution of disaster risk reduction research by GMES students and faculty over the past three decades. The co-authors included professor and chair John Gierke, emeritus professor Bill Rose, associate professors Thomas Oommen and Greg Waite, and research assistant professor Rudiger Escobar-Wolf. The work that Bowman presented outlined a unique history of how GMES has actively broadened its faculty and student research interests to tackle societal issues in conjunction with the geophysical aspects of natural hazards in international settings.