Archives—July 2015

Lake Superior Day at Copper Harbor 2015

img_0099by Joan Chadde

The beauty and bounty of Lake Superior was celebrated Sunday July 26th at the Third Annual Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor. Community volunteers, along with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, organized the festival with lots of special activities at the 6th Street Dock along the Copper Harbor Boardwalk. Activities included:

Community picnic ($5 donation suggested)
Canoe races and kayak demonstrations
Interactive art (paint the model freighter)
Remotely-Operated-Vehicle demonstrations by Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center
Presentation on the health of Lake Superior by Great Lakes scientist Martin Auer (CEE)

Live music, poetry and more
From 1-4 p.m. a special highlight is the opportunity for festival attendees to find out how scientists study the Great Lakes by taking a 40-minute scientific excursion aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, Agassiz. The excursions are part of the Ride the Waves Program funded by a grant from General Motors. The Agassiz went out every 45 minutes from the Isle Royale Queen dock.

The Agassiz made seven trips for a total of 118 passengers with 82 adults and 36 youth. Participants from many places throughout Michigan and beyond, including a family from France taking the year to bike across North America.

Lake Superior Day is celebrated throughout the Lake Superior basin on or close to the third Sunday in July in many communities around Lake Superior.

Daily Mining Gazette Lake Superior Day

Channel 6 News Video Clip

Find out more:

Lake Superior Magazine

Lake Superior Day 2015
Lake Superior Day 2015
Lake Superior Day
Lake Superior Day
Lake Superior Day
Lake Superior Day

Scientific excursions aboard MTU’s research vessel Agassiz at Strawberry Festival


Nearly 100 community members went home on Saturday afternoon with a greatly enhanced understanding of Great Lakes science and were inspired to care for the lake. Several youth are super engaged now and want to learn more.

This was the 10th year at the Strawberry Festival, and the outreach program continues to reach new people locally and visitors to the area! 7 excursions went out on the Agassiz.

See Photo Gallery

Here are a few highlights from the evaluation responses:
“The Agassiz program is great as is; no improvement needed!”
“Fun & educational”
“New info they learned—many said plankton & bloodworms”
“Importance of good quality water”
“Share info with others, will teach my children & grandchildren, encourage them to take care of our water resources”
“This sounds like a type of job that I’d like to do when I’m older” (13 years old)
“How to save the Great Lakes ecosystem”
“Would like to learn more about interdependence & effects on other organisms”

The outreach program shows ‘How do scientists assess the health of Lake Superior’ as the focus of these free scientific excursions that were offered at the Strawberry Festival.

The public was invited to sign up for FREE 40-minute scientific excursions aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel Agassiz.

On each scientific excursion, a Dr. Marty Auer, an MTU Great Lakes scientist, demonstrated the use of sampling equipment to collect plankton and sediment, evaluate water clarity, temperature, and turbidity that tell us about the health of the lake, i.e. Chassell Bay. Participants saw the connection between land uses and the health of the Great Lakes.

Remotely-Operated-Vehicle (ROV) demonstrations were also be conducted from the Chassell Marina dock throughout the afternoon.

“Copper Country residents and visitors are encouraged to learn how scientists study the Great Lakes and what factors contribute to a healthy lake,” explains Joan Chadde, education program director. “These scientific excursions for the public have been offered at the Strawberry Festival since 2006 and have been extremely popular. Youth and adults enjoy the opportunity to interact with Great Lakes scientists and get their questions answered.”

The event is coordinated by the Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. This year, the program is funded by the GM Ride the Waves Program putting more than 500 Copper Country youth and adults on the water each year to learn about the Great Lakes and promote STEM careers, along with support from the Michigan Tech Center for Water & Society, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, and the Chassell Lions Club.

Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics & Environmental Education:
Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center
Michigan Tech Center for Water & Society
Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative





Seminar: The Enigmatic Biscayne Aquifer

IMG_18352Friday, July 10, 11 AM – Noon; GLRC 202

The Enigmatic Biscayne Aquifer

Michael Sukop, PhD, PG, CHg; Professor, Florida Climate Institute Executive Board Member and liaison to Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact; Lead Principal Investigator South Florida Water, Sustainability, and Climate Project; Florida International University, Miami FL


The karstic Biscayne Aquifer is an eastward-thickening wedge of limestone that serves as a designated sole-source aquifer for 5.5 million people. Its karst is eogenetic (formed during early burial) and in many cases characterized by thick and laterally extensive zones of touching-vug porosity from burrowing shrimp. The vugs are commonly about 2 cm in diameter and the porosity is commonly 50% or more, leading to very high permeability. Given its importance, the Biscayne Aquifer may be the best-studied aquifer of such high permeability, but consistent values of its hydraulic conductivity (K) have been elusive.

Our work has approached this problem with numerous methods and over a broad range of scales, including

● detailed Lattice Boltzmann Models (LBM) at pore scale,
● LBM and laboratory measurements at core scale,
● high-resolution borehole scale geostatistical and flow modeling based on borehole images,
● borehole scale slug testing, and
● aquifer test meta-analysis

Results indicate that there are systematic variations of 5 orders of magnitude in typical maximum K values obtained from these different techniques. Naturally, some of this is due to real variations in the physical samples tested, but the method used is the principal source of variation.

Frequently overlooked limitations of laboratory permeability measurements of core samples truncate the distribution of core K values. Slug tests in appropriately-constructed wells are generally underdamped and appear to underestimate K in this aquifer (returning maximum results comparable to those of a sand aquifer), possibly due to the Darcian flow assumption that underlies the available analyses methods for such tests. Aquifer tests are difficult to conduct in this aquifer and are often inconclusive.

LBM applied at numerous scales tend to converge and agree with simple pipe flow expectations and specialized laboratory measurements on a 0.1 m diameter core. LBM K results at small scale are consistent with LBM K from 2.72 m3-volume scale explicit pore/solid aquifer models based on novel geostatistical extrapolation of borehole optical images.


Keweenaw Geoheritage Tours

geoheri2The Keweenaw Peninsula is a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local expert Bill Rose in reading the landscape to learn how the Copper Country came to be the way it is today.

Each one-day field trip explores one of four major events in Earth’s history that make up the strong geoheritage of the Keweenaw: Lavas, the Keweenaw Fault, the Jacobsville Sandstone and Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior. Participants can expect to cover a lot of ground and be outside all the time.

The trip dates are as follows:


July 27 – Lavas and the Keweenaw Rift
July 28 – The Keweenaw Fault
July 29th – Jacobsville Sandstone
July 30th – Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today

Travel is a combination of van transport, short walks and trips aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, the Agassiz. Trips are limited by boat capacity to 17 people. Each day trip costs $145 and includes lunch and snacks, boat and van transport.

For more information, trip descriptions and registration please visit the Keweenaw Geoheritage website. For specific questions, please email Erika Vye at