Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • 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

  • Severnaya Zemlya is a forbidding place in which to conduct research. Located in the Russian High Arctic north of Siberia’s Taymyr Peninsula, it has a large population of collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus), no permanent human population, and a mean annual temperature of 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It does, however, have glaciers. More than 20 significant glaciers cover the four main islands making up this archipelago. For Dr. Joan Ramage, these glaciers are an important part of her studies into the distribution of glaciers and the impacts of environmental changes to glaciers, snowpack, and the cryosphere.

    The term cryosphere refers to any place on Earth where water is in its solid form, and includes snow, river, and lake ice; sea ice; ice sheets, ice shelves, glaciers, and ice caps; and frozen ground (such as permafrost). According to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the cryosphere covers 52-55% of Earth’s land surface. While glaciers represent only 0.5% of this total, seasonal snow cover, which is variable, can represent up to 30% of this total in the Northern Hemisphere alone, according to the IPCC.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Two centuries have come and gone since the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Baldwin Wallace is celebrating.

    In 1818, the world got it’s first look at Shelley’s haunting tale, sparking discussions about what it means to be a human, and a monster, that still prevail today.  [...]

    Carrie Davis Todd, a professor of Geology, is also lecturing in Ritter on Oct. 17. Her lecture will be science-based, but with a surprising twist.

    She will be discussing the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, a seemingly unrelated event to Frankenstein. But the effects of this volcano are more important than they appear, she said.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Illinois State Associate Professor of Geology Catherine O’Reilly is serving as principal investigator for a $1.7 million National Science Foundation grant to fund Project EDDIE, a series of classroom modules for undergraduate biology, geology, and environmental science students. This grant began October 1 and is estimated to end on September 30, 2023.

    O’Reilly will be part of a team that includes Illinois State faculty Rebekka Darner, Steve Juliano, Bill Perry, and Willy Hunter as well faculty at Carleton College, University of Arizona, and Queens College-City University of New York to develop the modules.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Kristin Bergmann, the Victor P. Starr Career Development Assistant Professor in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) has been awarded a 2018 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. Bergmann is one of 18 early-career scientists in the nation selected this year. The prestigious fellowship, which includes a research grant of $875,000, encourages researchers to take risks and explore new frontiers in their field. [...]

     Bergmann is a geobiologist who reconstructs Earth’s ancient climate and surface environments. She uses methods spanning field measurements, isotope geochemistry and microanalysis to study rocks deposited in ancient oceans before and during the evolution of early animals. [...]
    During her fellowship, Bergmann will study ancient climate dynamics and dramatic environmental changes that accompany the emergence and dominance of multicellular, complex life on Earth.

    Read The Whole Story


  • I am a geologist with interests in surface Earth history.  I use stratigraphy and geochemistry to address questions about the co-evolution of life and Earth’s surface environments in deep time.  Most of the rocks I study are carbonates, and I focus on early Paleozoic and Neoproterozoic time.  I’m especially interested in 1) the end-Ordovician mass extinction and Ordovician/Silurian icehouse, 2) carbon and sulfur cycling in deep time, 3) effects of diagenesis on stable isotope ratios of C, O, S, Ca, and Mg, and 4) the origin and geochemistry of dolomite.

    My field work has recently focused on sedimentary rocks in the Great Basin (Nevada, Utah) and modern playa lake deposits in California (Deep Springs Lake). Upcoming projects will include field work in Wyoming and Colorado. Past field work has included the Canadian Arctic, Mongolia, Italy, Atlantic Canada, and the Rocky Mountains.

    Read The Whole Story

  • The 416 Fire, which broke out 10 miles north of Durango and burned over 55,000 acres impacted Fort Lewis College in numerous ways.  [...]

    A dry winter led to perfect conditions for a wildfire, said Kim Hannula, professor of geosciences.

    It was dry in the months of May and June and the little snow that was there melted early, Hannula said.

    Read The Whole Story



  • U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has approved a 20-year ban on new mining claims in Montana near Yellowstone National Park.

    The move extends a temporary ban first put in place by President Barack Obama in 2016.

    Ani Kame’enui, legislative director for the National Parks Conservation Association, joined The Show to talk about this move.

    Listen To The Discussion (5:35 minutes)

  • It’s fall, the morning air is crisp, the leaves are turning yellow, and snow has begun to grace the mountaintops. This can only mean one thing − it’s time for Guidestone’s 12th annual Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival at the historic Hutchinson Ranch on U.S. Highway 50 between Salida and Poncha Springs.

    The highlight of the weekend of family fun is pony rides and horse-drawn wagon rides to the pumpkin patch provided by Arkansas Trail Riders. Other interactive activities include face painting, a straw bale maze, farm games, tractor-drawn rides, a working cider press, crafts and food.   [...]

    Andrea Earley Coen, executive director of Guidestone, said, “The festival is a great way to engage the community with neighbors, friends and family coming out to celebrate the harvest season in an agricultural setting. The fact that there is a place like this that families can go and spend the day together is pretty unique. I hope that families can come away having enjoyed their time together with a greater appreciation of our valley and the open space that a historic cattle ranch can provide. The connection with our agricultural heritage is important.”

    Read The Whole Story

  • If you asked a dozen people on the street what it means to be mature, you’d get a dozen different answers. Some people would tell you that someone who is mature is someone who has physically reached adulthood or old age. Some people may define maturity as an ability to listen. Others would define it as the antithesis of childishness. Still others may say that maturity is patience, graciousness, responsibility, or supportiveness. Maturity encompasses all of these things, and still more.

    I didn’t ask a dozen people on the street what maturity means to them, but I did look up half a dozen quotes about maturity, and my point still holds. Everyone thinks about maturity in a slightly different way.

    Read The Whole Story