Skip Navigation

Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • Walter Alvarez '62 et al Dinosaur Extinction Theory Debated

    January 31, 2015

    BOSTON — BY now the image of the demise of the dinosaurs has become iconic: a luckless tyrannosaur looking over its shoulder as a colossal fireball from heaven bears down on the horizon, the monster’s death by vaporization imminent.

    Hanging above the desk of the Princeton geologist Gerta Keller, though, is a different artist’s depiction. This time it’s a pair of tyrannosaurs — still doomed — but not by an errant space rock. In this picture they’re writhing on the ground in a withered landscape as eruptions from volcanoes and fissures in the ground tear the earth apart.

    These dinosaurs were killed not by the lava itself, but by the environmental catastrophe unleashed by the volcanic gases. [...]

    At a meeting in October of the Geological Society of America, Walter Alvarez patiently looked on as Dr. Keller presented her work dismissing his asteroid theory. When it was time for Professor Alvarez’s Berkeley collaborator, Mark Richards, to present his team’s paper, Dr. Richards admitted the destructive potential of the Deccan Traps and called their proximity in the fossil record to the asteroid “the 8,000-pound gorilla in the room.” Perhaps, he said, there was even a causal link between the asteroid — which induced a magnitude 12 earthquake — and the most destructive period of Indian volcanism.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Heather Macdonald '76 recently recognized for Excellence in Geophysical Education

    January 23, 2015

    Heather Macdonald '76 received the 2014 Excellence in Geophysical Education Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 17 December 2014 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors “a sustained commitment to excellence in geophysical education by a team, individual, or group.”

    Read more here regarding the award

  • Joy Crisp '79 Describes The Discovery And Implications Of Methane On Mars

    December 17, 2014

    Is there life on Mars? It's a question asked time and time again. And NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover may be a step closer to answering the question. The rover has measured a tenfold spike in plumes of methane. They have been detected in a small area in the so called Gale Crater, that's the 154 kilometre wide crater Curiosity has been exploring. And it's the concentrated nature of the methane which has scientists wondering about the possibility of a life form being responsible.

    Radio Interview With Joy Crisp '79

  • Karen Noyce '75 Guides Minnesota's Bear Population Back To Health

    October 25, 2014

    Minnesota’s black bear population — which now numbers 10,000 to 15,000 after peaking around 25,000 — appears to have stabilized after state officials deliberately reduced the population by boosting hunter numbers.

    Bruin numbers topped out in the late 1990s and early 2000s, then fell dramatically as the Department of Natural Resources issued more permits to hunters.

    “Our bear population was increasing quite fast during the 1980s and ’90s, and the only way to control it was to increase the number of hunters,’’ said Karen Noyce, DNR bear research biologist in Grand Rapids.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Jennifer Wenner '92 Enhances Geology With Creativity

    August 1, 2014

    For Jennifer Wenner, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is where geology and creativity meet.

    Wenner is a creative and curious person at her core, she played outside a lot as a child and had parents who encouraged her to pursue education.

    “It wasn’t even a question I was going to go to college,” said Wenner, who was raised by parents with advanced college degrees.

    But Wenner, who now has a doctorate from Boston University, didn’t always know she’d pick a career choice that revolved around science.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Alton Dooley '91 Becomes Executive Director Of The Western Science Center In California

    August 1, 2014

    The Board of Directors of the Western Science Center has named Dr. Alton Dooley as the museum’s new executive director. Dr. Dooley comes to Hemet from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, where he was the Curator of Paleontology. Dr. Dooley will be taking over from Dr. Bill Marshall, who is retiring.

    Dr. Dooley is a graduate of Carleton College and Louisiana State University. In addition to his 15 years of experience at the Virginia Museum, he has also worked as a high school science teacher and as a college geology instructor.

    Read The Whole Story

  • John Goodge '80 Granted $9 Million To Probe Antarctic Ice

    July 28, 2014

    Duluth, MN ( "It's a BIG DEAL to do this. It's not easy," says Penny Morton, Associate Dean at UMD's College of Science and Engineering

    That could be said about most any trip to Antarctica, but is especially true for a UMD professor who will be joining other researchers attempting to drill deep into Antarctic ice.

    "We're able to get to parts of the ice sheet that no one has ever seen before. We can not only get deeper and older paleo climate records by drilling into the deep ice, but we're hopeful we can see what the conditions are at the base of the ice sheet," says Professor John Goodge, UMD Earth and Environmental Sciences.

    Professor John Goodge is spearheading the project and he says those conditions have been widely speculated because they're up to two miles under ice.

    Thanks to a nearly nine million dollar grant to UMD, a new drilling platform called the Rapid Access Ice Drill, or RAID will be constructed to be transported to Antarctica. The project speaks highly of UMD researchers.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Art Rodriguez '96 Named Dean Of Admission And Financial Aid At Vassar

    July 16, 2014

    After a national search Vassar has named Art Rodriguez to be the college’s new Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. Rodriguez is currently the Senior Associate Dean and Director of Admissions at Pomona College (Claremont, CA), and he will begin his new position on September 1.

    As the senior member of the Pomona admissions staff Rodriguez’s roles range from day-to-day management of the Office of Admissions to development and implementation of admissions policy. He also has been responsible for incorporating new technologies to support the college’s admissions efforts. Rodriguez began his career at Pomona in 2000 and has also served there as assistant, associate, and acting dean of admissions.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Jennifer Macalady '91 Probes Early Life Through Bacteria

    July 1, 2014

    Bacteria are everywhere, in numbers we can scarcely imagine.

    We may think of them as agents of disease and filth, the cause of cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy, bubonic plague, and tuberculosis. But we can’t live without them.

    Our debt to bacteria goes back to a time when Earth’s early atmosphere had no oxygen, but consisted of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. Without oxygen, multicellular life wasn’t possible. The exact form of the very earliest life remains a puzzle, but the earliest fossils of life, dating back 3.5 billion years, are colonies of bacteria. “Microbes ruled the world,” says Jennifer Macalady ’91, an associate professor of geosciences at Penn State University. These bacteria took energy from waterborne chemicals, such as sulfide and iron. Sometime later, bacteria learned how to manufacture their own food through photosynthesis, probably increasing the mass of Earth’s biosphere by orders of magnitude. Cyanobacteria—photosynthetic bacteria that expel oxygen as waste—appeared more than 2.7 billion years ago, and slowly oxygen began accumulating in the atmosphere.

    Read The Whole Story

  • David Lewis '89 Leads Marin County Extension Service Into Its Second Century

    April 23, 2014

    Novato, CA – Long before people began virtual farming in Farmville, real farmers raised crops and livestock in California with the help of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisors. Today, California produces about 400 agricultural commodities with an annual value of about $44 billion.

    This year, UC is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension. On April 29, UCCE Marin will commemorate the centennial at a regular meeting of the Marin County Board of Supervisors at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael.

    “This will be an opportunity to enjoy state and local history for UC Cooperative Extension,” said David Lewis, UCCE Marin Director, “and also recognize partners as part of expressing our appreciation for the privilege to serve all of Marin.”

    Read The Whole Story