Category Archives: Research

Oommen Collaborates on Landslide Atlas of Kerala

Landslide Atlas of KeralaA geologist with the University of Kerala has collaborated with a U.S.-based geological engineer to prepare the Landslide Atlas of Kerala. The atlas, co-authored by K.S. Sajinkumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, University of Kerala, and Thomas Oommen, Associate Professor, Michigan Technological University, U.S., depicts the spatial and temporal distribution of landslips and potentially hazardous locations in the Western Ghats.

The atlas, prepared after an extensive mapping process that lasted for a year, has used the latest tools of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran will formally launch the Landslide Atlas of Kerala at the Department of Geology on the Karyavattom campus of the university on September 19, 2017. The Geological Society of India is the publisher of the atlas.

Read more at Nyoooz.



Effect of Earthquakes on Volcanoes

Earthquakes VolcanoesDulcinea Avouris’s, who was advised by Simon Carn (GMES), lead research published in the journal Geology and was highlighted in a Focus article along with a news brief in EARTH Magazine.

What effects do earthquakes have on volcanoes?

The interaction between earthquakes and volcanoes intrigues the public and provides a complex and cascading hazard that challenges scientists across a spectrum of disciplines. The key to understanding earthquake-volcano interactions is the response of gas and magma to earthquake-imposed stresses.

Read more at GeoScienceWorld Geology, by Ben Kennedy.


Mark Kulie Presents at Radar Meteorology Conference

Mark Kulie
Mark Kulie

Mark Kulie (GMES/GLRC) is attending the American Meteorological Society 38th Conference on Radar Meteorology this week (August 28 to September 1, 2017) in Chicago.

He will present a talk entitled “Seasonal Variability of Shallow Cumuliform Snowfall: A CloudSat Perspective” in the “Moving Platforms. Vehicle, Airborne, Shipborne and Spaceborne: Satellite” session. He is also co-chairing the “Cloud Studies Using Radars” conference session.

Founded in 1919, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the nation’s premier scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic sciences.



2017 American Geophysical Union HONORS Program Recognizes a GMES Alumna

An alumna of GMES is one of seventy-five distinguished scientists to receive the distinction from groups representing their disciplines within the American Geophysical Union.

Lauren N. Schaefer, University of Canterbury, is a recipient of the 2017 Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. Lauren earned her Ph.D. in Geological Engineering from Michigan Tech in 2016 under the advising of Dr. Thomas Oommen.

Congrats, Lauren! We’re all cheering for your continued success. 

https://eos.org/agu-news/2017-agu-section-and-focus-group-awardees-and-named-lecturers

 


NSF Funding for Chad Deering on Magma Storage Assessment

Chad Deering
Chad Deering

Chad Deering (GMES/EPSSI), is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $250,718 research and develop grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is titled “Assessing Changes in the State of a Magma Storage System Over Caldera-Forming Eruption Cycles, a Case Study at Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project which could total $349,665.

By Sponsored Programs.

ABSTRACT

The largest volcanic eruptions are rare events but can represent a global catastrophe. Smaller eruptions may still have significant (billions of dollars) economic impacts and may affect the lives and livelihoods of large numbers of people, even in places distant from the erupting volcano (e.g., the relatively small eruption in Iceland in 2010). This project focuses on the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) in New Zealand as a case study of a large and very active volcanic system, and will focus on developing a better understanding of how the temperature and mobility of a magma body below the surface changes before, during, and after a major eruption. This study will contribute to our understanding of the volcanoes that produce such large eruptions (for example, Yellowstone volcanic system in the US), and will provide critical context for interpretation of real-time hazard monitoring at these and other active volcanoes. In addition, the project will include research experience for a K-12 teacher and development of new standard-based physics, chemistry and mathematics curriculum that will be disseminated broadly.

Read more at NSF GeoPRISMS.


63rd Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology

Institute on Lake Superior Geology

The Ontario Geological Survey, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum teamed up to co-host the 63rd Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology held in Wawa, Ontario May 8-12.

This professional meeting consisted of two days of technical sessions with 29 oral and 22 poster presentations. There were three geological field trips before the technical sessions and three after.

The meeting was attended by 137 geologists from the US and Canada. Academic institutions (58 members), government agencies (28 members), and mining and consulting companies (36 members) were well represented among attendees.

Margaret Hanson, museum assistant director, served as registrar for the meeting while Ted Bornhorst, museum executive director and professor, organized the meeting sessions, handled finances and decided on travel awards to students.

The Institute publishes technical volumes in hard copy for each meeting and offers them open-access online after the meeting is completed.

Bornhorst and Hanson co-edited the Institute on Lake Superior Geology, Proceedings Volume 63, Part 1: Program and Abstracts (97p.). They also compiled Part 2: Field Trip Guidebook (204p.).

The Institute is well regarded for its high quality field trips having recently won a national award from the Geoscience Information Society for the Outstanding Geologic Field Trip Guidebook Series.

The Institute initiated a new annual award for 2017, Pioneer of Lake Superior Geology, to recognize those individuals who made significant contributions to the understanding of the geology of the Lake Superior region primarily prior to the Institute’s awarding of the prestigious annual Goldich Medal in 1979.

The first Pioneer of Lake Superior Geology is Douglass Houghton (1809-1845). Bornhorst nominated Houghton for the award and wrote, along with Larry Molloy, President of the Keweenaw County Historical Society, the two-page biographical sketch published in the Proceedings Volume. As the first speaker for the technical sessions, Bornhorst provided the highlights of the important attributes that contributed to Houghton’s success.

By Ted Bornhorst, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


ERUPT: Report Identifies Grand Challenges for Scientific Community to Better Prepare for Volcanic Eruptions

Despite broad understanding of volcanoes, our ability to predict the timing, duration, type, size, and consequences of volcanic eruptions is limited, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Meanwhile, millions of people live in volcanically active areas around the world.

 

ERUPT - NAP report
ERUPT: A National Academies report published in April 2017

Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing (ERUPT) identifies grand challenges for the scientific community to better prepare for volcanic eruptions. Michigan Tech volcanologist Simon Carn (GMES) was an author on the report, and served with 11 other volcanologists and scientists on the Committee on Improving Understanding of Volcanic Eruptions that prepared the report. Their goal: improving eruption forecasting and warnings to save lives.

According to the NAP media release on the report, “Volcano monitoring is critical for forecasting eruptions and mitigating risks of their hazards. However, few volcanoes are adequately observed, and many are not monitored at all. For example, fewer than half of the 169 potentially active volcanoes in the US have any seismometers–an instrument to detect small earthquakes that signal underground magma movement. And only three have continuous gas measurements, which are crucial because the composition and quantity of dissolved gases in magma drive eruptions. Enhanced monitoring combined with advances in experimental and mathematical models of volcanic processes can improve the understanding and forecasting of eruptions.”

“This report was requested by NASA, NSF and USGS, the three main sources of funding for volcano science in the US, to identify some of the grand challenges in the field,” says Carn. “It was a privilege to serve on this distinguished committee and help craft a document that we hope will guide and strengthen future research efforts in volcanology.”

“The National Academies convenes committees of experts to review the current understanding of pressing issues and identify priorities for future progress in addressing the issues,” adds Michigan Tech  Department Chair John Gierke (GMES). “Committee reports play important roles in formulating government policies and setting priorities for funding scientific research. Dr. Carn is a global leader in remote sensing for monitoring volcanic emissions and surely contributed a comprehensive assessment of the state of knowledge and recommend how different disciplinary fields could bring new perspectives and approaches to advance the understanding of volcanic hazards.”

Electronic (free) and hard copies ($40) of Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing are available online. More information is available in the NAP media release about the report.

The 2016– 2017 Eruption of Bogoslof Volcano, Aleutian Islands, United States

Bogoslof, a remote, mostly submarine volcano in the Aleutian Island arc began erupting in late December 2016 and activity continues as of February 2017. The Bogoslof eruption highlights several of the challenges facing volcano science. Over one month, the volcano produced numerous explosions with plumes rising 20,000–35,000 ft, posing a significant hazard to North Pacific aviation. There are no ground-based instruments (e.g., seismometers) on the volcano, and so the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has been relying on distant seismometers, satellite data, infrasound, and lightning detection to monitor activity (Challenge 3). Bogoslof’s submerged vent obscures any preemptive thermal or gas signals, and infrasound and lightning are detectable only after eruptions have begun (Challenge 1). AVO has been unable to provide early warning of these hazardous events. The eruption also highlights our limited understanding of magma–water interactions and raises important questions regarding the controls on phreatomagmatic explosivity, column altitude, ash removal, and pauses (Challenge 2). In more than 20 discrete events, the emerging volcano has reshaped its coastlines repeatedly, providing snapshots of volcano–landscape interactions. The figure below shows the first evidence for an ash-rich (brown-grey) plume, almost one month into the eruptive activity.

Excerpted from Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, April 2017

 

Bogoslof Volcano
Image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite showing an eruption plume from Bogoslof volcano on January 18, 2017. The red dot at the base of the eruption cloud is a thermal anomaly on the volcanic edifice. Inset shows a high-resolution image of the volcano from January 11, 2017, with subsequent morphological changes indicated (image courtesy of USGS/AVO).