Category: Research

NASA Awards Funding to Simon Carn

Simon Carn is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $325,000 research and development grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The project is entitled, “Tracking Volcanic Gases from Magma Reservoir to the Atmosphere: Identifying Precursors, and Optimizing Models and Satellite Observations for Future Major Eruptions.”

This is a potential three-year project.


GMES Grad Student Presentation Wins GSA Award

Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson
Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering Sciences (GMES) announced that master’s student Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson’s talk, “Remapping the Keweenaw Fault and Discovery of Related Structures in Michigan’s Historic Copper District,” was awarded the Best Graduate Oral Presentation from the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) 2020 North-Central Section Meeting, held online this past May 2020.

The talk was featured in the Unique Geology and Geoheritage of the Lake Superior Region Session led by Erika Vye (GLRC), William Rose (GMES), Jim Miller, and James DeGraff (GMES).

Lizzadro-McPherson presented on the history of mapping the Keweenaw Fault and the current remapping efforts aimed at understanding this complex fault system in northern Keweenaw County. For more information about this project or to receive a link to the virtual presentation please email djlizzad@mtu.edu.

Explore the eight presentations in the session by Michigan Tech researchers:

  1. REMAPPING THE KEWEENAW FAULT AND DISCOVERY OF RELATED STRUCTURES IN MICHIGAN’S HISTORIC COPPER DISTRICT
  2. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF FOLDS AND FAULT SEGMENTS ALONG THE KEWEENAW FAULT SYSTEM, MICHIGAN
  3. KEWEENAW SHORELINES: SHALLOW WATER SCIENCE, HISTORY, EDUCATION AND GEO TOURISM + YouTube Video
  4. GEOHERITAGE AND THE ARTS: BUILDING AWARENESS USING THE KEWEENAW MINES + YouTube Video
  5. DIGITAL CAPTURE AND PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC MINING DATA FROM THE KEWEENAW COPPER DISTRICT, MICHIGAN
  6. TEACHING THE GEOLOGIC HERITAGE OF MINNESOTA’S NORTH SHORE AT THE NORTH HOUSE FOLK SCHOOL, GRAND MARAIS
  7. SHIPWRECK EXPLORATION WORKSHOP IN NEARSHORE KEWEENAW WATERS
  8. CONNECTING RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY – A KEWEENAW LAKE SUPERIOR NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
GSA North-Central Duluth 2020 Superior rocks logo of Lake Superior.

Aleksey Smirnov is an Outstanding Reviewer

Aleksey Smirnov
Aleksey Smirnov

Aleksey Smirnov (GMES) was named one of the American Geophysical Union’s Outstanding Reviewers of 2019. Smirnov was cited for his service to Geophysical Research Letters.

In 2019, AGU received over 16,700 submissions and published over 7,000. AGU is working to highlight the valuable role of reviewers through events (though they may be virtual) at the Fall Meeting and other meetings.


Aleksey Smirnov Publishes on Plate Tectonics

Earth boundary with Sun, atmosphere, and subterranean features.

Aleksey Smirnov (GMES) is a co-author on the paper “Paleomagnetic evidence for modern-like plate motion velocities at 3.2 Ga” published in Science Advances on April 22, 2020. This collaborative study (with Harvard University and Yale University) demonstrates that the drifting of tectonic plates (plate tectonics) may have started at least 3.2 billion years ago, earlier than previously thought.

Extract

When plate tectonics began

This process may have been underway over 3.2 billion years ago.

Plate tectonics has been the dominant surface geodynamical regime throughout Earth’s recent geological history. One defining feature of modern plate tectonics is the differential horizontal motion of rigid lithospheric plates

The mode and rates of tectonic processes and lithospheric growth during the Archean [4.0 to 2.5 billion years (Ga) ago] are subjects of considerable debate. Paleomagnetism may contribute to the discussion by quantifying past plate velocities.

While plate tectonics have characterized Earth’s geodynamics in recent geologic time, it is unknown whether long-range horizontal motion of lithospheric plates occurred before ~2.7 Ga. Resolving this uncertainty would fundamentally contribute to understanding the formation settings of Earth’s earliest crust and nascent biosphere and the evolution of geodynamics in terrestrial planets in general.

Citation

Paleomagnetic evidence for modern-like plate motion velocities at 3.2 Ga
BY ALEC R. BRENNER, ROGER R. FU, DAVID A.D. EVANS, ALEKSEY V. SMIRNOV, RAISA TRUBKO, IAN R. ROSE

Science Advances  22 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 17, eaaz8670
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8670

Archean basalts from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia record the oldest long-range lithospheric motion identified to date.


Earth MRI Project Funding for James DeGraff

James M. DeGraff
James M. DeGraff

James DeGraff (GMES/EPSSI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $83,995 research and development cooperative agreement with Western Michigan University. This project is titled, “Bedrock Map, Dickinson County Quadrangle and Portions of Quadrangles, Earth MRI Project (Carney Lake, Felch, Foster City, Vulcan, Waucedah, Faithorn, and Cunard, 7.5 Minute Quadrangles), Central UP Michigan.”

Aleksey Smirnov, (GMES/EPSSI) and Chad Deering (GMES/EPSSI) are Co-PI’s on this potential two-year project.


Simon Carn on the Taal Volcano

Aerial view of the plume from the eruption.
NASA Image of Taal

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted in the article “Map shows Taal Volcano spewing sulfur into atmosphere,” in the Philippine Star. Carn was also quoted in “Taal volcano eruption: NASA satellite scans reveal TOXIC sulphur clouds spewing from Taal,” in the Express (UK).

Although the levels of SO2 released by Taal have so far been tolerable, Michigan volcanologist Simon Carn fears more of the toxic gas could be still be released.

He said: “However, it is possible that the Taal eruption could continue and produce more SO2 in the coming days.”

Read more at Express (UK), by Sebastian Kettley.

In the News

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted in the story “Huge Taal volcano eruption is seen from SPACE by Japan’s satellite,” in the Daily Mail (UK).

Carn was quoted in the story “The Taal Eruption Looks Even More Massive When Seen From Space,” in spot.ph.


Shiliang Wu on Climate Temperature Inversion Trends

Shiliang Wu
Shiliang Wu

Shiliang Wu (GMES/CEE) was quoted in the story “Climate change, inversions, and the rise of ‘super pollution’ air events,” in Environmental Health News. The story was run on several outlets including The Daily Climate.

PITTSBURGH—Residents of the Mon Valley, a cluster of townships along the Monongahela River 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, endured some of the stinkiest and most polluted air in the nation this Christmas.

Some experts say that trend is likely to continue, and that cities around the world could see an influx of similar “super pollution events” as Earth continues to warm.

“For the last at least 60 years we have data for, we can clearly see a trend of increasing temperature inversions in midlatitude regions,” Shiliang Wu, an atmospheric chemist and associate professor at Michigan Technological University, told EHN. “I believe this trend will continue in the coming decades, which will likely lead to an increase in extreme air pollution episodes.”

Read more at Environmental Health News, by Kristina Marusic.

In the News

Shiliang Wu (GMES/CEE) was quoted in the article “Climate change has led to more temperature inversions and the rise of ‘super pollution events,’ in GreenBiz.


GIS Team at Coastlines and People Workshop

Daniel Lizzadro-McPherson outside showing a demo
Daniel Lizzadro-McPherson

Don Lafreniere (SS/GLRC), Ryan Williams (GLRC), Dan Lizzadro-McPherson (GMES/GLRC), and students from the Advanced GIS Methods class attended the NSF funded Coastlines and People Workshop hosted at Northern Michigan University on December 6, 2019. The Coastlines and People workshop series is working to bring scientists and stakeholders together to produce a vision for the future of sustainable coastal development in an era of dynamic climate change.

Lafreniere, Williams, and Lizzadro-McPherson introduced attendees to several projects underway at the Michigan Tech Geospatial Research Facility including the Keweenaw Time Traveler (NEH), 300 Years of Francophone Migration (SSHRC), Keweenaw Fault Mapping (USGS), and Historic Coastlines of Michigan mapping projects (EGLE). The workshop featured additional presentations from NMU and Michigan State University faculty, as well as welcome messages from the Mayor of the City of Marquette and the President of Northern Michigan University. All presentations were well received by nearly 75 attendees. Additional workshops are scheduled in 2020.