Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • Adam Denny '12

    May 24, 2018
  • Cody-Phelps Lake, also known as Twin Lakes, off Union Lake Trail southwest of Lonsdale, is a shallow lake lacking in live fish, partially or completely. Although the lake wasn't aerated over the winter, weather conditions and other factors ultimately contributed to the fish kill.

    “Certain lakes over the winter, shallow lakes or lakes with a lot of nutrients, can run out of oxygen,” said Amanda Yourd, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hydrologist who coordinates the Statewide Aeration Program.

    Yourd said long winters, especially, contribute to a lack of oxygen, so the result is fish dying, or winter kill. To prevent this, an aeration system brings warm water to the surface.

    Read The Whole Story

  • RICHLAND, Wash. – Lindsay Lightner, a Ph.D. student in mathematics and science education and coordinator of the Alternate Route Teacher Certification program at Washington State University Tri-Cities, has received the 2018 European Science Education Research Association Summer School in Finland scholarship from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

    Lightner is one of two recipients nationwide to receive the scholarship, and she will spend one week at the University of Jyväskylä in Jyväskylä, Finland, for an institute program that will allow her and other students to collaborate and network.

    Read The Whole Story

  • NPR's Scott Simon talks to Laura Veirs of Portland, Ore., about her new album, The Lookout. She says it addresses the fleeting beauty of life in a chaotic post-election America.  Laura Veirs on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday

    Before the release of her latest LP, The Lookout, Laura Veirs revealed some stats about its creation, in the form of hand scribbled post-it notes shared on Instagram. Among those are the first word sung on the album ("scuttling"), the last word ("fire"), and the number of children who appear on the recordings (three).

    And then, a plot twist for the number of songs written: 117. Only 14 of those were recorded, and only 12 made the final cut. The rest, she says, are crumpled up somewhere in the writing room of her home in Portland, Ore. Ah, the life of a career songwriter.  Laura Veirs On NPR's World Cafe

    If The Lookout has a central concept, it lies in the sometimes desperate pursuit of stability and comfort: Veirs fills the album with allusions to our own fragility in the face of chaos, and to the ways in which we might protect ourselves from an angry and forbidding environment. With the calm and approachable sound world of The Lookout, she and Martine craft yet another much-needed buffer against the din outside our doors.  Laura Veirs On NPR's First Listen

    Many songwriters have absorbed and reflected on the angst of 2018, and Laura Veirsis no exception. But what a welcome feat of alchemy she performs. The title track from her new album, The Lookout, picks up threads of unease and alienation, then weaves them into a tight, sunny tribute to Veirs' husband, the producer Tucker Martine. By tapping into a love that doesn't have to be pursued or pined for, she conveys complete emotional availability.  Laura Veirs Sings An Ode To Stable Love

  • Two senior U.S. Geological Survey officials have stepped down after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke asked that they provide his office with confidential data on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska before it was released to the general public.

    Murray W. Hitzman and Larry Meinert — who had served as the agency’s associate director for energy and minerals and acting deputy associate director for energy and minerals mission area, respectively — charge that the request violated the USGS’s scientific integrity policy because such commercially valuable data should not be shared in advance. Section 3c of the policy states, “Particularly sensitive results, however, such as energy and mineral resource assessments and mineral commodity reports that typically have significant economic implications are not disclosed or shared in advance of public release because pre-release in these cases could result in unfair advantage or the perception of unfair advantage.”

    Read The Whole Story:  Washington Post       Mother Jones

  • Who's Bretwood Higman '99?

    January 30, 2018

    Dr Bretwood Higman from Seldovia, Alaska, lives a life most people can only dream of. But it all comes at a cost. Behind his studies and wilderness experiences, lies the firm desire to save the world from disasters such as tsunami.

    "We looked ahead and saw this darkness out there. I'm not sure if you've seen that old movie – The NeverEnding Story – where they have the idea that this fantastic world is dissolving into nothing. It had a similar effect. Everything was brilliant white and there was this hole in the world. It was just open water. It was so much darker than the ice. It had an apocalyptic look."

    Bretwood Higman can’t forget that sight. Though everyone talks about global warming, he saw its impact and it wasn’t pleasant at all.

    Read The Whole Story (with allowances for the writing and editing which aren't Hig's)

  • “Over the last few decades, Canada geese have been wintering further and further north, which was interesting, because the winters have gotten a little more mild over the last few years, but still it’s pretty cold out there and there’s still snow.”

    University of Illinois ornithologist Mike Ward.

    “So you would wonder why these geese are deciding to spend the winter in Chicago, when they could have the opportunity to fly down to Arkansas, Louisiana, somewhere warmer.”

    Hear The Whole Story

  • Even as climate change shrinks some populations of arctic animals like polar bears and caribou, beavers may be taking advantage of warming temperatures to expand their range. But as the beavers head north, their very presence may worsen the effects of climate change.

    The issue isn’t just that the beavers are moving into a new environment — it’s that they’re gentrifying it.

    Take the dams they build on rivers and streams to slow the flow of water and create the pools in which they construct their dens. In other habitats, where the dams help filter pollutants from water and mitigate the effects of droughts and floods, they are generally seen as a net benefit. But in the tundra, the vast treeless region in the Far North, beaver behavior creates new water channels that can thaw the permanently frozen ground, or permafrost.

    “When you start flooding areas with permafrost you immediately trigger permafrost degradation,” said Ken Tape, an assistant professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks who has researched the beavers. “You start thawing the frozen ground that’s holding the soil together, and that water and soil and other things are washed away.”

    Read The Whole Story

  • On Dec. 21, assuming there’s no cloud cover, Kalispell won’t see the sun rise until about 8:25 a.m., and then it’ll dive back behind the horizon by 4:45 p.m., giving valley residents a little more than eight hours to glimpse the sun.

    It’s the shortest day of the year, with the shortest period of daylight, and is now considered the official start to the winter season. [...]

    Anita Ho, associate professor of geology and geography Flathead Valley Community College, said we have the Earth’s tilted axis is to thank for the shifting length of days throughout the year, as well as the four seasons.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Deep in the dense jungle of Mexico, pools of water that dot the thick vegetation may resemble the shallow ponds found in forests all over the world. But these seemingly boring puddles are actually deep sinkholes, or cenotes as they are known locally, and form portals to another world.

    Thomas Iliffe and David Brankovits aren’t hesitant to enter these watery portals. Clad in wet suits and headlamps, and lugging multiple oxygen tanks and sample jars, the two biologists and their colleagues have plunged into the murky cenote waters many times. [...]

    “Caves are really beautiful windows into this underground world,” says Jennifer Macalady, a geomicrobiologist at Pennsylvania State University, who was not part of the Ox Bel Ha research team. There are crevices and pore spaces all over the world that probably contain similar biological processes, she explains, but caves are “human-sized voids” where scientists can actually explore and conduct experiments.

    Read The Whole Story