Category Archives: outreach

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.

By Sponsored Programs


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.


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.


Simon Carn Discusses the Ambae Volcano

Ambae Volcano
Ambae Volcano

Simon Carn (GMES) was cited in the article “Ambae volcano ERUPTION: Mass evacuations ordered as volcano threatens to blow,” in Express. The article deals with the increased activity and potential evacuation of thousands of households near the Ambae volcano on the island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

Ambae volcano ERUPTION: Mass evacuations ordered as volcano threatens to blow

A large sulphur dioxide plume was emitted from Ambae in early April and it may have emitted the most sulphur dioxide of any eruption since the 2015 eruption at Calbuco in Chile.

It was noted by Simon Carn, a volcanologist and professor at Michigan Tech.

Dr Carn said a significant amount of ash was emitted during one of these eruptions and pictures on Twitter show the extent of ash on the island, which suggested it was a pretty large eruption.

Ambae volcano is a very large volcano and is frequently active. In its recorded history there have been many eruptions – every 10-50 years over the past 150 years.

All these eruptions have been from the summit craters, except one recorded in the 1670s.

Read more at Express.


Jackie Huntoon on Teaching Earth Science

Earth Science illustration of pollution.

Michigan Tech Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jacqueline Huntoon was interviewed for the article “The Importance of Teaching Earth Science,” reprinted in teachmag.com. The article originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. 2018 edition of TEACH Magazine.

The Importance Of Teaching Earth Science

Earth science has long been the poor cousin of STEM programs. It takes a back seat to technology and even among the straight sciences, rocks and rivers get short shrift alongside the physical sciences—properties of matter, motion, gravity.

“A lot of the topics that are part of an earth science curriculum are relevant to a person’s daily life,” said Jacqueline Huntoon, provost at Michigan Technological University. She has been helping to develop the new middle school science curriculum Mi-STAR, for Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform.

Her approach relies heavily on hands-on experience.

“In the past students would be asked to memorize 50 different minerals or some set of chemical formulas. That’s not really intriguing or interesting to every kid on the block,” she said. “We like to start with something tangible and concrete, so that all the students can have a shared experience. We’ll look at those ‘helicopter’ seed pods, for example. When you drop them, they spin. Why do they spin? You can make a model of that. You get the kids to figure out as of much of this on their own, with the teacher as a guide, before you start lecturing about the concepts.”

Read more at TEACH Magazine, by Adam Stone.

Jackie Huntoon
Jackie Huntoon

Hamburg Meteorite in Mineral Museum

Hamburg Meteorite appears in the news video feed.Shortly after 8 p.m. on the evening of Jan. 16, 2018, a meteor fireball was witnessed from lower Michigan to as far away as eastern Wisconsin. You can view a news video of the fireball on YouTube.

Within two days of the fall, meteorite hunters found fragments on frozen lakes around Hamburg, Michigan, a small town Northwest of Detroit. One of the fragments that was found on Strawberry Lake has been donated to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum by the Michigan Mineralogical Society.

The Hamburg meteorite has been classified as an ordinary chondrite by the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Ordinary chrondrites are the most “primitive” type of meteorites and were formed about 4.5 billion years ago from dust and small grains in the early solar system. It is generally agreed that the Earth and other rocky planets formed from the same material as chondrites.

The Hamburg meteorite is only the 11th identified meteorite to fall in Michigan and is now on public display in the Introduction gallery at the Museum as a result of the generosity of the Michigan Mineralogical Society, southeast Michigan’s premier mineralogical club.

The society hosts the Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral show held annually in October at which the museum is a regular exhibitor.

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Greg Waite Presents on Tracking Lava Lakes

Greg Waite
Greg Waite

The work of volcano seismologist Greg Waite (GMES) was mentioned in the article “Hawaii Volcanoes National Park March 2018 Events” in Hawaii 24/7. Waite will give a presentation on March 27, 2018, at Volcanoes National Park. His presentation “Tracking Lava Lakes with the Sounds from Bursting Gas Bubbles” will feature Waite’s work with volcanoes in Guatemala, Chile and Hawaii.

Tracking Lava Lakes with the Sounds from Bursting Gas Bubbles

Other volcanic systems around the word are similar to Kīlauea Volcano’s Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and Halema‘uma‘u craters. These churning lava lakes continuously emit gas bubbles that burst when they reach the surface. Volcano seismologist Greg Waite from Michigan Technological University uses the sounds of these bursting bubbles to investigate the rise and fall of lava lakes in volcanic conduits. Learn about his fascinating work with Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala, Villarrica Volcano in Chile and Kīlauea. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., March 27 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium


Mineral Museum Exhibit Wins Award at Tucson Show

Tucson 2018 exhibitor hall.

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum recently exhibited at the 64th Annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show held Feb. 8-11, 2018. The Tucson show is the largest and most prestigious mineral show in the world with an international audience. The exhibit theme for this year’s show was “Crystals and Crystal Forms.” The museum’s exhibit, titled “Classic Keweenaw Copper and Calcite Crystals,” paired outstanding specimens from both Michigan Tech and the Michigan Minerals Alliance with antique wooden models of ideal crystal forms. Among the multiple museum exhibits from around the world, the Mineral Museum’s exhibit was awarded the Betty & Clayton Memorial Trophy for the best museum exhibit.

The museum’s award winning Keweenaw exhibit was collaboratively designed by Chris Stefano, associate curator, John Jaszczak (Physics), adjunct curator, and Ted Bornhorst, museum executive director. Jaszczak and Bornhorst installed the exhibit.

The museum had a second exhibit at the show titled “Merelaniite: 2016 Mineral of the Year.” Jaszczak, who designed and installed the exhibit, was a principal author in the naming of merelaniite in 2016, which subsequently was selected as Mineral of the Year by the International Mineralogical Association.

In addition to participating at the show, Jaszczak gave two presentations at the Mineralogical Symposium on Crystals and Crystal Forms sponsored by Friends of Mineralogy, Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and the Mineralogical Society of America. His presentations were titled “Sphalerite and Wurtzite Polytypism and Morphology” and “Breaking the Law: Exceptions to the Classical Laws of Crystallography.”

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Chemistry Rocks Event

VolcanoChemistry Rocks!, a day of fun and learning, takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 11, 2017) in the Forestry Building atrium. Participants can:

  • Make Mineral Snowflakes
  • Grow Mineral Crystals
  • Explore “Copper and More”
  • See Local Rocks and Minerals
  • “Why do gemstones have different colors”
  • Other Fun Geochemistry Activities

There will be a volcano contest, so bring and erupt your volcano and compete against other schools for prizes.

Chemistry Rocks! is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society, Portage Lake District Library, Quincy Mine Hoist Association, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative and the Geology Club at Michigan Tech.

By the American Chemical Society Upper Peninsula Local Section.


Sullivan Mineral Collection Donated to Museum

A. E. Seaman Mineral MuseumThe A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum announces the recent generous donation of a mineral collection by Kate Sullivan of Ann Arbor. Sullivan’s late husband, Don (DJ) Sullivan, assembled the collection of about 500 specimens over several decades.

The collection consists mostly of minerals, but also a few fossils including a fossil dinosaur egg from China. There are a variety of mineral specimens such as polished spheres and freeforms, amethyst geode slices and an outstanding polished agate slice.

Among the more notable specimens are emerald in matrix from China, tourmaline in quartz from Pariaba, Brazil, chalcopyrite on calcite from Romania, a beautiful pink gemstone variety of spodumene, kunzite from Afghanistan and multiple specimens of boulder opal from Australia. There will be multiple specimens from this collection that will be accessioned into Michigan Tech’s permanent mineral collection after evaluation is completed.

DJ Sullivan attended Michigan Tech in the late 1950s. He earned a MS in Industrial Engineering at Wayne State University followed by a career in healthcare management. His company, DJ Sullivan & Associates, focused on surgical suite design and management throughout the US and Canada.

By Ted Bornhorst, A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum