Tag: mining engineering

Congratulations Spring 2024 Graduates!

Spring 2024 Grads
Spring 2024 Commencement Ceremony

Bravo, graduates! Here’s to your endless potential and the adventures awaiting in your future.

Degrees Awarded

Master of Science in Geological Engineering
Clayton H. Donajkowski
William T. Webster

Master of Science in Geology
Hayden M. Chaisson

Master of Science in Geophysics
Sunday Joseph
Aimee Zimmerman
Morgan Wilke

Master of Science in Mining Engineering
Emmanuel Wolubah
Alfred Yeboah
Enoch Nii-Okai

Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering
Karina K. Constant
Braxton J. Murphy

Bachelor of Science in Applied Geophysics
Brendan Harville

Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering
Ian G. Repic
Olivia K. Rouleau
Nathan J. Seidel
Maxx D. Tartamella

Award Recipients

AIPG National Student Scholarship – Natalie Sorensen
Outstanding GTA Award Spring ‘24 – Aimee Zimmerman
Outstanding GTA Award Fall ’23 – Dakota Locklear
Outstanding Scholarship Award Sp’24 – Morgan Wilke
Outstanding Scholarship Award Fall ‘23 – Ian Gannon
Department Scholar – Sam Jensen
Field Geophysics Spiroff Book Award – Clarissa Gordon
Field Geology Spiroff Book Award – Anton Smirnov
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) – Sam Jensen
Estwig Rock Hammer Award – Max Stange

Certificate Graduates

Geoinformatics – Oluwatosin O. Ayo, Clayton H. Donajkowski, Sunday Joseph,
Ashish Mahaur, Eli A. Paulen, William T. Webster, Morgana M. Wilke, Emmanuel L. Wolubah
Natural Hazards & Disaster Risk Reduction – Hayden M. Chaisson, Ryan M. Cocke,
William T. Webster, Morgana M. Wilke

GMES Spring 2024 Graduates

GMES Awards Seven Degrees in Fall 2023 Commencement Ceremony

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences is pleased to award five bachelor’s, and two master’s degrees this December.

Two graduate degrees awarded:
Breen, Dillon MS Geology
Advised by Dr. Luke Bowman
Metts, Isabella MS Geophysics
Advised by Dr. Greg Waite

Five undergraduate degrees awarded:
Hawes, Jack W. BS Geological Engineering
Johnson, Samuel A. BS Geology
McClelland, Elliz E. BS Geology
Myaard, John S. BS Geological Engineering
Verran, Maria E. BS Mining Engineering

Congratulations, and best of luck on all future endeavors!

John Myaard, Elliz McClelland, Samuel Johnson, Maria Verran, and GMES Department Chair Aleksey Smirnov.

Elliz McClelland Interns for EarthScope and Presents at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting

This summer, Elliz McClelland interned in the URISE (Undergraduate Research Internships in Seismology) program, funded by EarthScope (formerly known as IRIS). This internship experience gave them professional research experience, guidance about graduate schools, and the opportunity to work with an institution they’d like to work at during their career. As part of their internship experience, they will also present at the annual national American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in December 2023, a completely new experience for them.

During Elliz’s internship, they conducted research into a volcanic caldera using geophysics in New Mexico. Elliz worked under the mentorship of the United States Geological Survey and spent part of their summer working in the USGS office in Denver, Colorado. This internship was a multi-faceted experience where they had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling. Elliz spent their first couple of weeks performing fieldwork in New Mexico in their study area, then moved into Denver to work at the USGS office. They were also lucky enough to work on a separate USGS project where they traveled to Hawaii to help their mentor conduct field research. Their summer was full of new experiences and cultures!

Elliz preparing to get on a helicopter for field work in Hawaii.

The URISE internship was highly targeted toward providing research experience and preparation for graduate school. While Elliz intends on taking a least one gap year before attending graduate school, the information the internship coordinators provided them about graduate school was instrumental in making their decisions about furthering their education. 

When reflecting on the value of the URISE internship, Elliz says, “For my needs, this internship was also immensely useful in determining my career path. I ‘put my boots on the ground’, so to speak, working directly with the USGS under a position I might like to hold myself in the future. My summer experience really confirmed for me that I love doing field work and I would enjoy working for an institution like the USGS.”

In December, Elliz presented their work at the AGU national conference in San Francisco, California. This conference is one of the biggest Earth Science conferences in the nation and is an excellent opportunity for students to meet potential employers, experience the professional research conference environment, and network with fellow geoscientists. For more details about Elliz’s internship experience and the research they conducted, you can visit their summer blog at URISE. Elliz would also like to highly recommend this internship to any geoscience students with an interest in research and geophysics. Anybody can apply and prior geophysics experience is not required! You can stay updated about internship applications at URISE.

Elliz and their USGS mentor Paul setting up a field station in New Mexico.

GMES Alumni Social at the 2024 SME Annual Conference

row of students standing in front of Caledonia mine entrance
Join us for an alumni social in Phoenix!

You are invited! The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES) is hosting an alumni social in conjunction with the MineXchange 2024 SME Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ, from 5:30-7:30 PM on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

Plan to attend and network with MTU alumni from all facets of the SME community, plus take the time to meet the newest huskies as they embark on their professional careers in the industry.

Michigan Tech’s AggCelerate team, advised by Dr. Manser, has advanced to the top six nationally in the SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition. The second phase of the competition will take place during the SME Conference.

Michigan Tech will be competing against runner-up teams from the University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, University of Arizona, West Virginia University, and Missouri University of Science and Technology. Student teams will have one weekend to solve a design problem and present their findings to a panel of judges. The competition is designed to simulate an engineering project prepared by an engineering group for a company.

Michigan Tech team members, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Cassie Burch (Junior, Geological Engineering)
  • Aiden Harmon (Junior, Mining Engineering)
  • Lucas Maxon (Sophomore, Mining Engineering)
  • Ian Repic (Senior, Mining Engineering)
  • Nathan Seidel (Senior, Mining Engineering)
  • Grady Williams (Junior, Mining Engineering)

Event and Student Travel sponsorship opportunities are available at this time for 2024 in Phoenix and 2025 in Denver; please contact Nathan Manser (ndmanser@mtu.edu) for more details.

Photo: MTU participating at the 2023 MineXchange in Denver. 

Summer 2023 Laboratory Updates at GMES: Transforming Learning and Collaboration

Two laboratories at the Department of GMES underwent significant renovations this past summer

1. Upgrading the Mine Design and System Simulation Laboratory 

Thanks to the generous support of our Mining Engineering alumni, we replaced all the computers in our Mine Design and System Simulation Laboratory (Dow 709) with new cutting-edge, powerful computers with advanced mine design, planning, and simulation software packages. At the same time, the laboratory capacity was increased to 15 seats. The MDSS Laboratory supports teaching, senior design, and research activities. The lab is fully equipped with the Sharp AQUOS BOARD Interactive Display System, and advanced audio-video equipment. This lab also includes a smart interactive center room for video conferences and online communications. The MDSS Lab is created to enhance and facilitate the potential of teaching and conducting modern mining projects at Michigan Tech. This upgrade will further enhance collaboration and foster innovation among our students and researchers.

 The Mine Design and System Simulation Lab (Photo by R. Askari)

2. Introducing the Earth Explorers Computer Laboratory: A Multifunctional Hub

We converted the old seismic petrophysics laboratory into the dynamic Earth Explorers Computer Laboratory (EECL). It is a multifunctional space tailored for GMES students tailored for GMES students pursuing their research, coursework, and senior projects. Designed to foster creativity and collaboration, the laboratory is equipped with several high-performance workstations featuring AppsAnywhere technology and proprietary software. Students have access to many specialized applications, data processing tools, modeling software applications, and image processing. The computers in EECL also provide access to Michigan Tech’s high-performance computing cluster. This dynamic space now features a spacious TV screen,  a lectern, and video-conferencing equipment and serves as a geophysics reference library. Additionally, the lab serves as a multi-purpose space, doubling as a classroom for various GMES courses as well as a meeting space for research groups. The room’s ambiance was revitalized with brand-new carpeting and fresh paint, giving it an inviting vibe.

 Earth Explorers Computer Lab (Dow 619) (Photo by R. Askari)

These upgrades enhance the learning and collaboration experience within our department. They ensure more students can access our resources, and provide modern, adaptable spaces for educational and collaborative needs for everyone.

Our heartfelt thanks go to our alumni whose generous donations made these improvements possible. As we embrace the future of learning and research, we are excited about the possibilities these upgrades will bring.

Isabella Metts Geophysics MS Defense

Isabella Metts achieved success in defending her geophysics MS research on November 11, 2023.

Metts pictured with her research poster at AGU.

Advised by Dr. Greg Waite, with Dr. Luke Bowman and Dr. Simon Carn serving as committee members.

Title: An Investigation of Microseismicity During the 2018 Kīlauea Caldera Collapse

Abstract: The 2018 Kīlauea volcano eruption and incremental caldera collapse was accompanied by more than 60,000 seismic events cataloged by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory as well as 62 caldera collapse events. The majority of seismicity occurred on the eastern side of the caldera between daily collapses. However, the majority of caldera subsidence occurred to the west. To understand the collapse mechanics behind this variance in subsidence and seismicity across the caldera region, repetitive waveforms and source properties can be studied.

Repeating seismic events suggests a common source that is not moving or destroyed. At Kīlauea, clusters of repeating events can indicate source processes throughout collapse cycles. REDPy, a repeating earthquake detector tool for Python, cross-correlates seismic events to determine repetition. Events are separated into families or listed as orphans if no matches are found. We used data from HVO network stations surrounding Kīlauea’s summit. Possible events were identified using an STA/LTA trigger algorithm with a long-time average trigger of 8 seconds, a short-time average trigger of 1 second, and a trigger on/off range of 1-2.5. A minimum correlation coefficient of 0.7 was used to group over 167,000 recognized events from April 29th to August 2nd into nearly 6,000 families. Of these families, 697 were chosen as ‘clusters of interest’ for including >100 events or persisting for 7 days or more. P wave first motions were manually picked for waveforms associated with clusters of interest. These clusters were then located using P wave arrival times, and focal mechanisms were modeled for viable events to learn more about their source processes and relationship to collapse mechanics.

Dilatational first motions dominate our catalog and indicate crack-closing sources with possible relationships to conduit collapse after magma withdrawal and crack closure due to fault motion. Focal mechanism models produced mismatched station polarities indicative of non-double-couple sources, further aiding the hypothesis that dominant events involve a negative volumetric component. Focal spheres show evidence of ring faulting that is likely responsible for these non-double-couple events through the motion of concave fault structures presenting as repetitive crack closure along caldera margins.

Brendan Harville Presents at the Michigan Space Grant Consortium Annual Conference in Kalamazoo, MI

From his first weeks in the GMES Department, Brendan Harville was interested in getting involved in research. Through a handful of well-timed events in Brendan’s first semester, he seized an opportunity to submit a research proposal with Dr. Greg Waite to the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) undergraduate fellowship to conduct research regarding “Seismic Amplitude-based Lahar Tracking for Hazard Risk Mitigation at Fuego Volcano in Guatemala.” Brendan’s proposal was selected, leading him to plan fieldwork in Guatemala with fellow PhD student Gustavo Béjar-López. Brendan and Dr. Waite used seismic data to create a model that
can locate and track how lahars propagate down drainages from Fuego’s flanks. The work took many twists and turns (as research often does!) and resulted in an improved understanding of how the morphology of Fuego and its many drainages influence lahars and their impacts. Brendan’s work was accepted by MSGC for an oral presentation at the MSGC Annual Conference on October 21, 2023. GMES student Conor Large accompanied Brendan for his presentation over MTU’s Fall Break.

Reflecting on the entire MSGC experience, Brendan says, “My experience with undergraduate research through MSGC was invaluable. I met, connected, and collaborated with many admirable and inspiring peers and mentors for which I am truly grateful for. Special experiences like these are what invigorate and propel students like me toward future goals and aspirations. I would never have enjoyed this opportunity if I hadn’t pushed through my initial fears and feelings of self-doubt.”

GMES celebrates Brendan’s accomplishment and is proud to have submitted four new MSGC proposals this week for the Consortium’s annual call.

Check out Brendan’s day-to-day field campaign journey in Guatemala through his personally made slideshow: Field Campaign Slideshow (bit.ly/Harville_Guatemala_FieldCampaign)

Pictured L to R: Brendan Harville, Conor Large

Dakota Locklear Receives the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

Dakota Locklear received recognition as an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant for exceptional work during the spring 2022 semester in GE2000 Understanding the Earth. Dr. Snehamoy Chatterjee advises Dakota as he pursues a Ph.D. in geology.

Locklear’s dedication and hard work, which did not go unnoticed, led to his nomination by the GMES Department. To be eligible for recognition as an Outstanding GTA, the candidate must have had sole responsibility for instruction in a lecture or laboratory course or section at any level within the past academic year. His praise as an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant is a testament to his passion for geology and commitment to helping students learn.

Congratulations, Dakota, on this well-deserved recognition!

Ian Gannon Receives the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship

Ian Gannon (GMES) recently received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship. The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship is given to students who excel academically and have demonstrated originality in their research, leadership skills, and professionalism.


Advised by Dr. James DeGraff, Ian successfully defended his MS thesis titled “Integrating LiDAR, Aeromagnetic, and Geological Field Data to Identify Structural-Lithologic Elements Within the Archean Carney Lake Gneiss Complex” on August 3, 2023.


Ian contributed significantly to the U.S. Geological Survey under the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) project. He helped the survey to understand the complex geological makeup of a section of the Minnesota River Valley subprovidence.


Gannon’s achievement is an inspiration for all the students who are passionate about research and innovation. Congratulations, Ian!

Ian Gannon

Luke Bowman and Erika Vye Represent Michigan Tech at the GSA Annual Meeting

Assistant Teaching Professor Luke Bowman (GMES, PhD ‘15) and Research Scientist Erika Vye (GLRC/GMES, PhD ‘16) represented Michigan Tech at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA, October 14-18, 2023. They participated in a session titled “Field-Based Geoscience Education: Advances in Research, Program Evaluation, Pedagogy, and Curriculum”.

Bowman shared an oral presentation titled “Community Involvement in Building and Testing A Flash-Flood Model for Simulating Flood Frequency” (with co-authors Natalea Cohen (GMES, MS ‘23), John Gierke, Vanessa Bailey, Hannah Lukasik, Shannon McAvoy, Mario Hugo Mendez, Susan Toivonen, and David Yates).

This research, which involves several MTU researchers and students, is part of a multi-year project that addresses climate change-induced, water-related challenges in the Central American Dry Corridor, focusing on agricultural community adaptations to extreme hydrometeorological events in El Salvador. This project is a collaboration of Michigan Technological University (MTU), CUAHSI, and Lutheran World Relief (LWR) in El Salvador, funded as a National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students (IRES).

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 55, No. 6, 2023
doi: 10.1130/abs/2023AM-394917

Bowman also participated in a workshop on Positive Mental Health in the Geosciences sponsored by GSA and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC). The workshop shed light on the challenges experienced by many geoscientists, explored the common signs that indicate when geoscientists are struggling with their mental health, and showcased best practices to create a safe and supportive working environment.

Vye shared an oral presentation titled “The Keweenaw Geoheritage Summer Internship: Exploring Our Shared Relationships with Land and Water” (with co-author Amanda Gonczi).

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 55, No. 6, 2023
doi: 10.1130/abs/2023AM-395861

Vye also supported and co-authored two first-time student presentations in a session titled “The Stories of Geoheritage”: “Connecting Geology, Mining, & Fish Sovereignty in the Keweenaw” by Naomi Smith (Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College),” and “Bridging Knowledges – Using Geospatial Technology to Support Place-Based Geoheritage Learning” by Steph Fones (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) with co-authors Daniel Lizzadro-McPherson and Naomi Smith. Fones and Smith participated in an 8-week Keweenaw Geoheritage internship at Michigan Tech in the summer of 2023. This work was supported by NSF Award # 2136139 – EAGER: Geoheritage and Two-Eyed Seeing – Advances in Interdisciplinary Earth Science Research, Learning, and Inclusion through Shared Ways of Knowing (PI Vye).

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 55, No. 6, 2023
doi: 10.1130/abs/2023AM-395218

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 55, No. 6, 2023
doi: 10.1130/abs/2023AM-395408

The Department of GMES also co-sponsored the Michigan Colleges/Universities Joint Alumni Reception at the GSA conference (together with Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, Hope College, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Albion College, and Central Michigan University). It was good to see and chat with our alumni, colleagues, and friends. This gathering was a testament to the enduring camaraderie within our geoscience community.


Pictured from R to L: Frederic Wilson (BS ’71), John Yellich, Luke Bowman (Ph.D. ’15), Erika Vye (Ph.D. ’16), Steph Fones, Naomi Smith, and J. Schneider