Category Archives: outreach

AGU Bridge Program

AGU Bridge Program showing a person walking on a natural bridgeMichigan Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences was listed as a Bridge Program partner institution in the article “AGU’s Bridge Program Creates Opportunities for Underrepresented Students,” in Earth, Space and Science News.

In the first round of applications to the Bridge Program, AGU received 52 applications from institutions wishing to become Bridge Partners—these applicants represent 20% of the 250 active Earth and space science graduate programs in the United States. From those applications, 14 institutions were chosen as Bridge Program partners and will be featured on the AGU and AGU Bridge Program websites.

Read more at Earth, Space and Science News, by Chris McEntee.


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.


A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Prepares Exhibit for Kalamazoo Rock and Mineral Show

Exhibits at the rock and mineral showThe A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum exhibited at the Kalamazoo Rock and Mineral Show May 3-5, 2019. This was the 60th anniversary of the show and instead of choosing a mineral as the show’s theme, the event celebrated the hobby of mineral collecting and the history of the show. The museum’s exhibit was titled “Semiprecious Gems.” Museum staff did not attend the show and instead shipped a carefully prepared exhibit with instructions for setup by a Kalamazoo club member. This is a cost-effective method to enhance the visibility of the museum. This year’s attendance at the Kalamazoo show was about 7,500, which includes 1,000 secondary school children and chaperones.


Gem and Mineral Show Includes Wulfenite Exhibit

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum was exhibited at the 65th Annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show held Feb. 14 -17, 2019. The Tucson show is the largest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world.

The theme of exhibits this year was “Wulfenite is Loved.” The museum’s exhibit fit with the theme and was titled “How does wulfenite form?” It featured text, graphics and mineral specimens to explain and illustrate the formation of wulfenite. Mineral specimens were used to emphasize how primary sulfide minerals are oxidized to form wulfenite. In addition, a suite of mineral specimens that form in the same environment and are associated with wulfenite were included in the exhibit.

The museum’s exhibit was awarded the “most educational exhibit by an institution” from Friends of Mineralogy, a non-profit, national organization founded in 1970.


A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Co-sponsors Earth Science Education Award

MiQuakes graphKazuya Fujita, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Michigan State University, has been awarded the 2019 Charles A. Salotti Earth Science Education Award sponsored by the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA).

The award is in recognition of excellence in informal Earth science education and mentoring. This award has been made since 1999, with support of the Edith Dunn and E. Wm. Heinrich Mineralogical Research Trust, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and the Salotti family.

Chuck Schepke, a secondary teacher in Roscommon, Michigan and past MESTA President, was the MESTA Chair of the Charles A. Salotti Earth Science Education Award committee. He cites Kazuya for his “efforts in organizing and supporting MiQuakes Teacher Seismology Network through MESTA and IRIS and providing Earthquake Workshops for K-12 teachers and these only begin to show the impact Kazuya has had on geoscience education in the State of Michigan and at the National level.

Fujita’s 25 years of service has provided teachers and their students the ability to collect and analyze “real-world” data from their own backyard through installation of seismographs in their classrooms and then mentoring teachers how to interpret data.”

Seaman Museum Executive Director Ted Bornhorst said “The museum is grateful for MESTA’s efforts at soliciting candidates for the award and selecting the awardee. This year’s awardee is most deserving of the honor. We hope that Professor Fujita’s work and this recognition may further inspire others to advance Earth science education and mentoring.”

By A. E. Seaman Mineral Musuem.


Simon Carn on the 2018 Ambae Eruption

Ambae Sulfur Dioxide plumeSimon Carn (GMES) was quoted in the story “From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: ‘2018’s  Biggest Volcanic Eruption of Sulfur Dioxide,'” in sciencesprings. The story was also covered in Long Room, What’s Up with That? and Science Daily.

From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “2018’s Biggest Volcanic Eruption of Sulfur Dioxide”

“With the Kilauea and Galapagos eruptions, you had continuous emissions of sulfur dioxide over time, but the Ambae eruption was more explosive,” said Simon Carn, professor of volcanology at Michigan Tech. “You can see a giant pulse in late July, and then it disperses.”

Read more at sciencesprings, by Jenny Marder.

Related:

Simon Carn Discusses the Ambae Volcano


Ted Bornhorst Guides Marshall Academy Geologic Field Trip

The Marshall Academy students pose with Ted Bornhorst.
The Marshall Academy students pose with Ted Bornhorst (left of center).

The Michigan Earth Scientist, journal of the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (volume 52, number 4, fall 2018) cites the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and Ted Bornhorst, executive director, in an article by Richard Green of Marshall Academy which describes a student geologic field trip to northern Michigan.

Field Trip to Northern Michigan: Understanding Geological History by Witnessing It

When we saw a real basalt flow at Houghton the next afternoon, we were lucky enough to be guided by Dr. Theodore Bornhorst, executive director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan Technological University, and a recognized expert on the continental rift. He introduced the class to words like “vesicles” and “amygdules.”

When we first met Dr. Bornhorst at the Seaman Museum, he guided us through its many galleries, explaining the theme of each one and how that theme was reflected in the different exhibit cases. He also took us to the museum’s rock garden, where the students saw large examples of the rocks they’d previously known only as textbook pictures or small fragments used in their laboratory work. By showing how their physical appearance revealed the way they were created, he made the abstract academic knowledge many had already forgotten perceptible and memorable. We even saw a true specimen of our own Marshall Sandstone for the first time, buried by till where we live and concealed by it.

Read more at The Michigan Earth Scientist, by Richard Green.


Hampel Donates Significant Collection of Minerals to Museum

Example of silver and copper from the White Pine mine.
Example of silver and copper from the White Pine mine.

Nearly all of the world’s major mineral museums have one or more donated private collections that provide the foundation upon which they build a museum collection that is greater than the sum of its parts. With a recent and most generous donation of approximately 1,000 specimens, Lance T. Hampel, president of Hampel Corporation, a Germantown, Wisconsin-based plastics manufacturing company, has provided the museum with such a foundational collection and continues to be one of its principal benefactors. Hampel previously donated more than 1,600 superb specimens in 2006 and 2007, and also supported construction of the main museum building at 1404 E. Sharon Avenue.

The following descriptions highlight some of the more significant worldwide specimens in his recent donation and are already on exhibit in the museum’s Mineral Treasures Gallery. Perhaps the most significant individual specimen is a 50 cm wide by 30 cm tall group of calcite crystals from the Shullsburg, Wisconsin, lead-zinc mines, and is among the finest large calcite specimens ever recovered from the Shullsburg district. Another calcite of similar proportions from the Elmwood mine, Carthage, Tennessee, is particularly noteworthy for its size (43 cm tall) and golden color, making it a world-class specimen with considerable visual impact.

The Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico is a famous locality from which Hampel has donated a spectacular plate of yellow-green adamite crystals, 22 cm long. Trepca, Kosovo, is another well-known mining district, from which Hampel’s recent donation included an excellent suite of hydrothermal vein specimens of calcite, quartz and a variety of sulfide species. Tsumeb, Namibia, has been called the finest mineral locality in the world, and is underrepresented in the museum’s collection.

Since the closure of the mine, large museum-quality specimens are virtually unobtainable. This is especially true for an outstanding 23 cm specimen of bright green crystals of dioptase on white calcite in the donation, of which together with a 17 cm plate of duftite, results in a significant improvement for the museum’s Tsumeb holdings.

The quality, depth and breadth of the museum’s collection of crystallized native copper from the world’s premier locality, the Keweenaw Peninsula, is unmatched in the world. The Hampel donation contains a significant number of attractive native copper and silver specimens from the White Pine Mine, Ontonagon County, and several are better than the many high-quality specimens already in the museum’s collection.

Hampel has a long-standing personal and professional relationship with recent past curator of the museum and professor emeritus, George Robinson and past director Stanley Dyl. According to the museum’s Executive Director Ted Bornhorst, “Even long past their retirements George and Stan continue to enhance the quality of the museum because of the relationships they developed with many of the museum’s friends. George and Stan really deserve the principal credit for Lance’s donations.”

By the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.


Simon Carn Clarifies the Role of Volcanic Eruptions in Climate Change

Effusive Volcanic Flow showing lava traveling down a road.
Flow from an effusive volcanic eruption, courtesy of USGS.

Simon Carn (GMES) was quoted in the article “Why Is a Climate Change Skeptic Headlining Science Conferences?” in the Daily Beast. Carn refutes statements made by retired geophysicist Peter Ward that volcanic eruptions, not greenhouse gasses, are responsible for climate change. Ward made the comments in an address to the Geological Society of America.

Why Is a Climate Change Skeptic Headlining Science Conferences?

The Geological Society of America—the country’s premier research and professional organization for geologists—met in Indianapolis earlier this month.

Amidst the otherwise nerdy, sleepy lectures on volcanoes, rocks, and other natural formations was one from Peter L. Ward, a retired geophysicist, who delivered a talk on how volcanic eruptions—not greenhouse gases—are behind climate change.

That’s odd, since the role of greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause driving climate change is universally backed by scientists.

“Peter Ward has claimed that ‘all’ volcanic eruptions deplete ozone, including the type we call ‘effusive,’ like the eruption of Kilauea that occurred last summer in Hawaii,” volcanologist Simon Carn, an associate professor [now full professor] at Michigan Tech, told The Daily Beast.

Effusive eruptions, in which lava steadily flows out of a volcano onto the ground, typically inject gases to much lower altitudes than explosive eruptions. That means they’re highly unlikely to deplete ozone. “They don’t produce very much chlorine/bromine, and the emissions do not reach the stratosphere where the ozone layer is located,” Carn explained. “His ideas linking volcanic eruptions to ozone depletion and global warming are completely unsubstantiated.”

Read more at the Daily Beast, by Bahar Gholipour.