Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • Recently while sifting through family photographs, Murzyn, now a Star Tribune reader in Fridley, began to wonder: Is Lake Itasca the true headwaters of the Mississippi River or can we trace it to another source?

    That’s the latest question for Curious Minnesota, our community-driven reporting project that invites readers into the newsroom to ask questions they want answered. Readers then vote on which query we should investigate — and Murzyn’s was the winner of a recent round.

    “There’s two parts to the answer,” said Connie Cox, the lead interpretive naturalist at Itasca State Park. “One is a cultural story. The other one is a science story.” [...]

    Wendell Duffield, a geologist and native Minnesotan, argues that the Minnesota River should be considered an alternative source. By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota.

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  • Happy Mother’s Day! For all you ladies who have children or have given birth to children but don’t want to let that stop you from achieving your academic dreams, there is money out there specifically for you. Aside from applying for federal student aid and checking for institutional scholarships, you can also consider applying for the scholarships for moms listed in this blog post.

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  • Since the start of the Trump administration, the Department of the Interior has offered more than 17 million acres of public lands for oil and gas development — in critical wildlife habitat, next door to iconic national parks, and throughout archaeologically-rich landscapes. In the rush to spur an energy free-for-all, Interior has neglected basic legal tenets. Now the courts are pushing back, dealing repeated setbacks to President Trump’s energy agenda.

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  • BAR HARBOR — Paleoclimate scientist Bess Koffman will talk about her research using mineral dust to track wind patterns over thousands of years May 3 at the College of the Atlantic. The free talk is open to the public and takes place at 4:10 p.m. in McCormick Lecture Hall.

    Koffman’s research focuses on learning about past changes in Earth’s atmospheric circulation by analyzing mineral dust from the ice cores.

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  • There will be a lot of fun and entertainment for students and visitors to enjoy as the 2019 Mankato Area International Festival is set to take place Sunday.

    The event, one of the largest in Minnesota, will showcase multiple different cultures that continue to grow each year. MNSU has hosted the International Festival for over 40 years now. This year, the event will be featured on Minnesota Public Radio’s Art Hounds. [...]

    This year’s theme is Fusion and Inclusion which Alissa Morson, the interim programming and retention advisor for MNSU’s Center for International Student Services, says is because with the growing diversity on campus and Mankato in general, the CISS wanted to make sure every student is welcomed at the university.

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  • The beginning of the end started with violent shaking that raised giant waves in the waters of an inland sea in what is now North Dakota.

    Then, tiny glass beads began to fall like birdshot from the heavens. The rain of glass was so heavy it may have set fire to much of the vegetation on land. In the water, fish struggled to breathe as the beads clogged their gills.  [...]

    Richards and Walter Alvarez, a UC Berkeley Professor of the Graduate School who 40 years ago first hypothesized that a comet or asteroid impact caused the mass extinction, were called in by DePalma and Dutch scientist Jan Smit to consult on the rain of glass beads and the tsunami-like waves that buried and preserved the fish. The beads, called tektites, formed in the atmosphere from rock melted by the impact. [...]

    “When we proposed the impact hypothesis to explain the great extinction, it was based just on finding an anomalous concentration of iridium — the fingerprint of an asteroid or comet,” said Alvarez. “Since then, the evidence has gradually built up. But it never crossed my mind that we would find a deathbed like this.”

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    New York Times version

  • Global warming is melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, but for millions of people, ice is vanishing closer to home as lakes lose their winter cover.

    In a study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists for the first time quantified the effects of rising temperatures on ice cover across 1.4 million lakes in the Northern Hemisphere. They found that, from Wisconsin to Japan, thousands of lakes that used to freeze reliably every winter already see some years without ice, and that “an extensive loss of lake ice will occur within the next generation.”

    The vanishing ice will affect cold-water ecosystems and be felt by millions of people who live near northern lakes, the study said.

    “Ice cover acts as a temperature reset for a lake every winter,” said Catherine O’Reilly, an associate professor of geology at Illinois State University and a co-author of the study.

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  • UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Greenland ice sheet melted a little more easily in the past than it does today because of geological changes, and most of Greenland's ice can be saved from melting if warming is controlled, says a team of Penn State researchers.

    "There is geologic data that suggests the ice sheet was more sensitive to warming and temperature variations in the past million years, and not so much in the more recent past," said David Pollard, research professor in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State. [...]

     Other researchers on the project include [...] and Nick Holschuh, postdoctoral scholar, University of Washington.

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  • Glacial retreat in the Canadian Arctic has uncovered landscapes that haven't been ice-free in more than 40,000 years and the region may be experiencing its warmest century in 115,000 years, new University of Colorado Boulder research finds.

    The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, uses radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of plants collected at the edges of 30 ice caps on Baffin Island, west of Greenland. The island has experienced significant summertime warming in recent decades.

    "The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe, so naturally, glaciers and ice caps are going to react faster," said Simon Pendleton, lead author and a doctoral researcher in CU Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).  [...]

    Additional co-authors of the study include Scott Lehman, Sarah Crump and Robert Anderson of CU Boulder; Nathaniel Lifton of Purdue University; and John Southon of the University of California Irvine.

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  • The Grand Canyon is a gigantic geological library, with rocky layers that tell much of the story of Earth’s history. Curiously though, a sizeable layer representing anywhere from 250 million years to 1.2 billion years is missing.

    Known as the Great Unconformity, this massive temporal gap can be found not just in this famous crevasse, but in places all over the world. In one layer, you have the Cambrian period, which started roughly 540 million years ago and left behind sedimentary rocks packed with the fossils of complex, multicellular life. Directly below, you have fossil-free crystalline basement rock, which formed about a billion or more years ago.

    So where did all the rock that belongs in between these time periods go? Using multiple lines of evidence, an international team of geoscientists reckons that the thief was Snowball Earth, a hypothesized time when much, if not all, of the planet was covered in ice.

    Read The National Geographic Story

    Read The Technical Article