Tag: research

Tech Researcher Gets Mine Safety Grant

The iStock_000006629083Large_0US Mine Safety and Health Administration has awarded $10,537,000 in mine safety grants, including $249,257 to Michigan Tech. The funds are intended to reduce mining accidents, injuries, and illnesses by supporting safety and health courses and other programs.

Grant recipients will use the funding to provide miners with the federally mandated training required for all miners working at surface and underground coal and metal/non-metal mines.

Principal investigator on the grant at Michigan Tech is Matthew Portfleet (GMES), assistant director of the University’s Mine Safety Program.

(Original post by Jenn Donovan in Tech Today, November 20, 2017)

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. 


News Briefs in GMES Department

The National Science Foundation (NSF) posted a news story on its website about an open-vent volcano that erupted at Fuego, near Guatemala City. It quoted Greg Waite (GMES), who is studying the volcano under an NSF CAREER award.

Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and Dr. Chris Poulsen, chair of the department of Earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan, published an article titled: “Michigan Mineral Alliance” in the September issue of the international journal Rocks & Minerals. The article establishes a name for the legal agreement between Michigan Tech and the University of Michigan that provides for co-ownership and shared responsibility of the University of Michigan’s mineral collection. The collection is now at the museum and there is an introductory exhibit in the museum’s Thomas D. Shaffner exhibit hall.

Chad Deering (GMES) received a $77,039 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a research and development project titled, Understanding Basaltic Volcanic Processes by Remotely Measuring the Links Between Vegetation Health and Extent, and Volcanic Gas and Thermal Emissions using HyspIRI-like VSWIR and TIR data. This is the first year of a potential two-year project totaling $212,448.

Aleksey Smirnov (GMES/EPSSI) received a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a research and development project titled, Paleointensity of the Paleoproterozoic Geomagnetic Field as Recorded by Single Silicate Crystals: Testing the “Proterozoic Dipole Low.” This is a three-year project.

GMES student Priscilla Addison received the Best Student Paper Award for “Rail Embankment Investigation Using Remote Sensing for a Permafrost Region” which she presented at the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Cold Regions Engineering Conference: Developing and Maintaining Resilient Infrastructure, held earlier this month in Salt Lake City. The thrust of Addison’s paper was to look at remote sensing as a site investigative tool for the portion of the Hudson Bay railway embankment underlain with discontinuous permafrost in northern Manitoba, Canada. This research is jointly supported by OmniTRAX Inc. and National University Rail (NURail) Center funded by the U.S Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (USDOT-RITA). Addison is co-advised by Associate Professor Thomas Oommen (GMES) and Assistant Professor Pasi Lautala (CEE).

The US Peace Corps’ Peace Car was on the Michigan Tech campus July 9th. An eco-friendly Smart Car, the Peace Car enables Peace Corps staff to share their mission while limiting their carbon footprint. See the photo here

The Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG) featured Lauren Schaefer, a PhD student in Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, as its AEG Featured Scholar for June 2015.

Jason Gulley (GMES) has received a $194,940 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation for the collaborative research project: What Hydrogeochemical Processes Control Weathering in the Deep Critical Zone of Unburied Karst Landscapes. This is a two-year project.

Colleen Mouw (GMES/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a student fellowship project that has received a $30,000 grant from NASA. The project is titled, CDOM Variability and its Influence on Phytoplankton Distribution in a Sub-Arctic Basin. Also involved with the project is Co-PI Bruce Grunert (GMEW/GLRC).

Jason Gulley (GMES) has received a $23,673 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “Collaborative research: Visualization, Analysis and HPC Modeling of Subglacial Hydrology from High-Resolution 3D Conduit Scans Acquired with a Novel Sensor.” This is a two-year project.

An article by PhD candidate Lauren Schaefer (GMES, Geological Engineering) and adviser Thomas Oommen (GMES), “Geomechanical rock properties of a basaltic volcano,” has been chosen to be featured on the homepage of Frontier’s website. The article can be found under the ‘Earth Science’ category here.

Geohazards International published an interview with College of Engineering Dean Wayne Pennington, about preparing for earthquakes in Nepal. The interview was conducted by Science Around Michigan.

Technology Century, a science and technology news website published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, reported on a visit by ESD executives to Michigan Tech and plans to establish a student chapter of the ESD at Michigan Tech.

Technology Century, a science and technology news service published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, ran an article about Associate Professor Aleksey Smirnov’s research into the ancient earth’s core. Science360, the National Science Foundation’s science news website also published an article about Smirnov’s research into the earth’s ancient core.

Lauren N. Schaefer, PhD candidate in geological engineering, has been selected as the 2015 Marliave Scholar by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geology (AEG) Foundation. The $4,000 scholarship recognizes outstanding scholarship and professional dedication by students in Engineering Geology or Geological Engineering. Schaefer’s PhD advisor is Thomas Oommen.

Ted Bornhorst, executive director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, attended the 61st annual meeting of the Institute on Lake Superior Geology held May 15 and 16 in Dryden, Ontario. As past Chair, he is a member of the Board of Directors and participated in its annual meeting.

The Michigan Tech Vice President for Research Office announces the Research Execellence Fund Awards. Thanks to the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process. Research Seed Grant: Snehamoy Chatterjee, GME; Link to full list

A Q&A with George Robinson, retired curator at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and geology professor, was published in EARTH. The recent donation of a significant Russian tourmaline to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum was highlighted, along with a color photo, in the magazine Rocks and Minerals, Museum Notes published January/February 2015. The tourmaline was donated to the museum by long-term museum supporter Bill Shelton of Tucson, Arizona, who specializes in collecting Russian minerals.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was quoted in a story “Can Open Source Really Work

Associate Professor Aleksey Smirnov’s (GMES) research on the rapid movement of the North American tectonic plate a long time ago was reported on the science news website Science Around Michigan.

Technology Century, a news wire published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, featured a story about Assistant Professor Jason Gulley’s (GMES) research in ice caves in the Arctic.

Simon Carn (GMES/EPSSI) has received $9,892 from the University of Maryland College Park for the first year of a potential three-year project that will total $107,472. The title of the research project is “Extending NASA’s Long-Term Satellite Data Records: Advanced SO2 and NO2 Measurements from Suomi NPP OMPS.”

Alexandria Guth published “Volcanic Volumes Associated with the Kenya Rift: Recognition and Correction of Preservation Biases” in Geological Society, London, Special Publications.

Simon Carn (GMES/EPSSI) has received $13,485 for the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $167,600 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center. The project is titled “Volcanic SO2 and Ash Products from EPIC Observations.”

GMES PhD student, Elisa Piispa, has won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting. The title of Elisa’s presentation was “Paleomagnetism of the 1.1 Ga Baraga-Marquette dykes (Michigan, USA)”. The AGU Annual meeting was held in San Francisco, CA, December 15-19, 2014. Piispa’s PhD advisor is Aleksey Smirnov.

Upper Peninsula Second Wave, a website featuring UP news, published an article about the under-ice research being done by Tech’s GLRC.

Assistant Professor Thomas Oommen (GMES/CEE) is mentioned in the December 2014 issue of the ASCE’s Civil Engineering Magazine. Oommen is collaborating with researchers from the University of Arkansas and Idaho State University to develop a device that could help detect post-wildfire landslides through remote sensing.

Thomas Oommen (GMES/MTTI) has received $116,864 from the University of Arkansas for a two-year research project, “Remote Sensing Based Assessment System for Evaluating Risk to Transportation Infrastructure Following Wildfires.”

C2E2 Fund Awards Announced: Vice President for Research David Reed has awarded the following Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund (C2E2) awards at the recommendation of the C2E2 Committee.In GMES Department: Thomas Oommen, Jason Gulley and Jeremy Shannon (GMES): ground penetrating radar 100 MHz PulseEKKO PRO

Robert Shuchman and Colin Brooks (MTRI) have received $2,600 from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for a research and development project, “Feasibility of Using Remote Satellite Imaging to Remotely Identify Lake Trout Spawning Sites.”
Technology Century, an online and print publication of the Engineering Society of Detroit, featured editor Matt Roush’s interviews with faculty and graduate students from the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, the first stop on his annual Tech Tour of university campuses in Michigan.

Informed Infrastructure—a news website about the infrastructure industry—and the University of Arkansas’s Newswire published articles about the the USDOT-funded research of Assistant Professor Thomas Oommen (GMES). Oommen and colleagues are developing a sysrem to assess risk of mudslides, rockfalls and other natural shifts in the ground underlying highways and railroad tracks.
See Informed Infrastructure and University of Arkansas’s Newswire.

Chad Deering (GMES) has received $83,622 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a two-year research and development project titled “Collaborative Research: RUI: Probing Caldera-Forming Magmatism: Crystal Accumulation in Large, Upper Crustal Silicic Magma Chambers.”

PI Colleen Mouw (GMES) was awarded $256,946 from NASA for her research “Implications of Changing Sea-Ice on Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Biomass and Community Structure in the Bering Sea.”

PI Simon Carn (GMES) and Co-PI Verity Flower (GMES) were awarded $30,000 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for their project “Identification of Volcanic Cycles Using a Multi-Sensor Satellite Data Analysis Technique.”

PI Thomas Oommen and Co-Pis Rudigar Escobar Wolf and Greg Waite (GMES) have been awarded a $100,000 research grant from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation for “Building Local Capacities for Monitoring Eruptive and Catastrophic Landslide Activity at Pacaya Volcano (Guatemala), through International Partnership and Collaboration.”

Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund Awards Announced: The Vice President for Research Office is pleased to announce the 2015 REF awards and would like to thank the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.
Infrastructure Enhancement Grants: John Gierke, GMES
Research Seed Grants: Chad Deering, GMES; Thomas Oommen, GMES

Robert Shuchman, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute, has been reappointed to the North Slope Science Initiative Science Technical Advisory Panel. He has served on the interdisciplinary panel, which studies and makes recommendations for research and science policy on the North Slope of Alaska, since its inception in 2007.

Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ news website reported on three new Geoscientists Without Borders projects, including one in Guatemala led by assistant professor Thomas Oommen (GMES).

Simon Carn (GMES) has received a $16,772 grant for “Improving Constraints on Volcanic CO2 Emissions from the Vanuatu Arc” from the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Guy Meadows (GLRC) has received $25,000 for the first year of a potential two-year project from the University of Michigan for “Restoring, Retrofitting and Recoupling Michigan’s Great Lakes Shorelands in the Face of Global Climate Disruption.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES/GLRC) has been awarded a four-year, $82,739 research grant from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Continuation and Enhancement of MPOWIR.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES) has received $228,117 for the first year of a three-year $667,117 research grant from NASA for “Parameterizing Spectral Characteristics of Optically Active Constituents in Inland Water for Improved Satellite Retrieval.”

PI Thomas Oommen (GMES) and co-PIs Colin Brooks (MTRI) and Pasi Lautala (CEE) have been awarded $735,367 for a two-year project, “Sustainable Geotechnical Asset Management along the Transportation Infrastructure Environment Using Remote Sensing” from the US Department of Transportation.

Peace Corps Masters International Environmental Engineering Program graduate Cara Shonsey has published a paper titled, “Quantifying available water supply in rural Mali based on data collected by and from women,” in a special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production on Water, Women, Waste, Wisdom and Wealth. Her advisor, John Gierke (GMES), co-authored the paper that can be viewed online

A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Director Ted Bornhorst presented an invited banquet talk on copper-dominated deposits of the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the 6th annual Precambrian Research Center Professional Workshop Series Short Course at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Bornhorst and Bob Barron, GMES department facilities manager, led a field trip to the Caledonia Mine for workshop participants. Bornhorst, Barron and Richard Whiteman, Red Metal Minerals, published a guide for the field trip in the workshop volumes titled “Caledonia Mine, Keweenaw Peninsula native copper district, Ontonagon County, Michigan.”

Work by PhD student Lucas Bowman (GMES) is featured in the Environmental Monitor article, “Landslide Monitoring, Social Research Protect San Vicente in El Salvador.” Link to the article

PI Judith Perlinger (CEE/CWS) and Co-PIs Shiliang Wu (GMES/CWS) and Emma Norman (SS/CWS) have been awarded a $1,450,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation for “CNH: Managing Impacts of Global Transport of Atmosphere-Surface Exchangeable Pollutants in the Context of Global Change.”

PI Thomas Oommen and Co-PI Lauren Schaefer (GMES) have been awarded a $30,000 grant/student fellowship from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for “Application of Remote Sensing and Numerical Modeling to Volcanic Hazard Monitoring.”

Daniel Cerminaro (CEE) and Thomas Oommen (GMES) have received $22,000 from the National Science Foundation for a potential three-year research project “Graduate Research Fellowship.”

PI Colin Brooks (MTRI) and Co-Pi’s Thomas Oommen (GMES), Timothy Havens (ECE), and Tess Ahlborn (CEE), have been awarded $240,899 for Evaluating the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for transportation purposes, by MDOT.

Colleen Mouw (GMES) has received $19,031 from the University of New Hampshire for a potential three-year research project “Development of Novel Detection and Prediction Algorithms for Microcystis Blooms.”

Thomas Oommen (GMES) has received $325,030 for a three year research project “A Crowdsourced Knowledge Base for the Damage Assessment of Extreme Events” from the National Science Foundation.

Colleen Mouw (GMES) has received $64,631 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the first year of a potential three-year, $213,363 project, ” Interpreting Ecological Variability Using Remotely Observed Optical Properties and Ocean Models.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES) has been awarded a $9,374 research grant for “Development of Novel Detection and Prediction Algorithms for Microcystis Blooms” from the University of New Hampshire, as part of a three-year project totaling $98,284.

PI Simon Carn (GMES) has been awarded $58,114 for the first year of a five-year, $661,458 research grant for “Multi-Decadal Sulfur Dioxide Climatology from Satellite Instruments” from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

New Funding: Aleksey Smirnov has been awarded a one-year research grant totaling $334,200 for “Early Career: Acquisition of a High Sensitivity Superconducting Rock Magnetometer for Paleomagnetic and Paleointensity Research,” from NSF.

New Funding: Colleen Mouw has been awarded a $17,945 research grant for “Ocean Basin Impact of Ambient Noise on Marine Mammal Detectability, Distribution, and Acoustic Communication,” from Penn State University, for the first year of a potential 19 month project totaling $29,963.

Assistant Professor Gregory Waite (GMES) has received $112,564, for the first two years of a three-year project totaling $126,928, from the National Science Foundation for a project, “Geophysical Investigation of the Mid-continent Rift System.”

Rail Transportation Seminar: Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology

sep8Rail Transportation Program and Environmental Engineering Geologists AEG Michigan Tech Student Chapter present Dr. Pauli Kolisoja Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland presented a seminar on rail research at TUT at Michigan Tech on Monday, Sept. 9, 12-1 p.m. at DOW 875.

The title of the seminar is: “Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology”  

The Railway Track Structures Research Team at Tampere University (TUT) of Technology consists of about 10 researchers. The research area includes track components from subsoil stability through the structural layers to sleepers, rails and wheel-rail contact. Essential parts of the research area are also bridges and the life cycle and monitoring of track structures. The main emphasis of activity is experimental research based on diverse arrangements from laboratory scale material analyses to field measurements and full-scale loading tests. Research methods are complemented by calculation analyses of performance of structures and literature reviews of international research results. The basis of the on-going track structure research is the Life Cycle Cost Efficient Track research programme (TERA) implemented in co-operation with the Finnish Transport Agency. This presentation provides an overview of research projects conducted at the TUT and related outcomes.

See Railway Track Structures Research Video

Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala,  Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech
Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala, Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech

GMES 2014 MSGC Awardees Announced

Michigan Tech faculty, staff members and students received awards tallying $71,175 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  
Graduate students receiving $5,000 graduate fellowships are:

Emily Gochis (Geological and Mining Engineering): “Increasing Native American Involvement in Geosciences Through Interdisciplinary Community-Based Student Investigations”

Brice Grunert (Geological and Mining Engineering): “Impacts of Physical Drivers on Phytoplankton Community Composition in the Bering Sea”

Faculty and staff members receiving $5,000 or more for pre-college, public outreach, teacher training, and/or augmentation programs are:

Alexandria Guth (Geological and Mining Engineering): “Teacher Institute: Exploring the Geology of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula”

John Gierke (Geological and Mining Engineering): “Professional Development for Teachers to Incorporate Place-Based and Culturally Centered Earth System Investigations in Pre-college Curricula at Native American Community Schools” (Includes Augmentation funding)

For other awards see Tech Today

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education, and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico. As an affiliate of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for over fifteen years. For more information, please contact Robert Warrington or Paige Hackney in the Institute for Leadership and Innovation.

Former Peace Corps Volunteer and Geoscientist Welcomed as New Geoscience Communication Fellow

Alexandria, VA – The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and Schlumberger welcome former Peace Corps volunteer and geoscientist, Stephanie Tubman as the AGI/Schlumberger Geoscience Communication Fellow. Through a generous donation from Schlumberger, a global service provider to the oil and gas industry, Tubman will be working with AGI’s Critical Issues Program to disseminate geoscience information to help support decision making at the federal, state and municipal levels.  

“The goal of the Critical Issues program is to provide decision makers with clear, relevant and quickly digestible information about the geosciences, without oversimplifying the science.” Tubman said of her new post. During the first month of her fellowship she has already written a factsheet that was distributed at a congressional briefing commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake. Throughout her fellowship, Tubman will be investigating other topics and ways to deliver geoscience information to decision makers.

Tubman pursued geoscience because of her passion for connecting with the environment and her desire to help others do the same. Following her undergraduate degree at Colgate University she completed an internship at the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory and enrolled in Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Master’s International program in Geohazards Mitigation. During her two-year tour in Guatemala with the Peace Corps, she was assigned to a municipal environmental office, collaborating with local officials on water management, environmental science education and ecotourism projects. Her experience working at the municipal level made her an ideal candidate for her work with the Critical Issues program.

Tubman first heard about the fellowship when attending a reception hosted by AGI at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting.

“Science is an important tool,” Tubman stated, “I’m looking forward to engaging with different decision-making communities to understand how they use information and how we can help to meet their needs for geoscience information.”

For more information on the Center for Critical Issues: http://bit.ly/1fFF2uw


The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with
the environment.

Aleksey Smirnov Earns National Science Foundation Award

Aleksey Smirnov has been honored with a prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, commonly known as a CAREER Award. The five-year, $470,000 grant will underwrite his research on the ancient history of the Earth’s magnetic field and how it may have affected the planet’s geology and even the evolution of living things.

MORE: From the Michigan Tech Research Magazine 2013 article by Dennis Walikainen