Carleton Geology Alums In The News

Posts tagged with “Alumni” (All posts)

  • Two geology professors at Appalachian State University, Jamie Levine and Gabe Casale, were recently awarded a $139,895 grant by the National Science Foundation to study dome formations in the Tallulah Falls area in Georgia and the Toxaway Gorge area in Western North Carolina.

    Mountains are formed by the collision of tectonic plates. Dome formations are elliptical features found in some mountain ranges across the globe, where the ranges seem to be compressing or extending. Casale said this is counter-intuitive to their very nature. [...]

    “If these domes do in fact form from shortening, they’d be different from a lot of other domes around the world,” Levine said. “So if that were the case, the Appalachians would be unique in some way.”

    There are a number of techniques Casale and Levine will use when conducting their research. Samples of rocks are taken from the sites and then studied. They look at how the rocks moved over millions of years, use radiometric dating to determine the age of the rocks, and they measure the temperatures of the rocks.

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  • In this summer of record heat, roughly 30,000 firefighters and their staffs are battling wildfires across the country. Fires have incinerated 3,000 acres of Washington’s North Cascades National Park, 4,000 acres of Montana’s Glacier National Park, and 5,000 acres of the Sequoia National Forest, which borders John Muir’s beloved Sequoia National Park. Climate change is fanning the flames with early snowmelt, hotter summers, and historic drought. Today, fire season lasts 78 days longer on average than it did in 1970.

    In years past, wildfires have wreaked havoc on the budget of the Department of the Interior and, by extension, the National Park Service. For national parks, that has meant reduced funding for maintaining trails, restoring habitats or aquiring new lands. Parks all over the country have been affected. “You might be borrowing funds from a trail maintenance project in New York that has nothing to do with a fire in Montana,” said Ani Kame’enui, Director of Natural Resource Policy at the National Parks Conservation Association. As a result, nature lovers have been left with less healthy, less expansive, less well-maintained parks.

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  • For more than a million years, the bones lay out of sight, buried under layers of sediment that had accumulated over the eons in San Timoteo Canyon in Riverside County.

    It was only through a lucky twist of fate that they came to light in 2009 when Southern California Edison (SCE) began building the El Casco Substation.

    The discovery ultimately became one of the largest collections of fossils found in Southern California for a geologic period that predates the finds at the La Brea Tar Pits by at least 1 million years.

    Now, after about a year of preparation and nearly four years housed at the Western Science Center in Hemet, the first of the more than 15,000 El Casco fossils will go on display as part of the center’s “Stories from Bones” exhibit opening on Halloween.

    “The fossils tell the story about the life of the animals,” said Alton Dooley, the center’s executive director. “The condition of these bones tell us if an animal was eaten by a predator or was injured or lived to be old and had arthritis.”

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  • Long before the Obama administration cracked down on coal-fired power plant pollution, Colorado acted by itself. The state's pollution regulations made it a leader years ago. The state's Democratic governor still favors those rules, but the Republican state attorney general is on the other side and may join a lawsuit against the latest federal steps. [...]

    HOOD: The Obama administration says the plan will save the average family money. It may turn out that the politics over clean power are more complicated than actually producing cleaner energy. Stacy Tellinghuisen is an analyst with the conservation group Western Resource Advocates. She estimates the state is already committed to meeting three-fourths of the final goal.

    STACY TELLINGHUISEN: With no additional actions that aren't already in utilities' plans.

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  • OAKLAND -- A magnitude-4.0 temblor that rattled nerves in the East Bay on Monday morning was a very shallow but routine geologic shrug in an area notorious for seismic risk -- and yet another reminder of the threat lurking from a fault that's the Bay Area's most overdue for a major quake.

    A locked-up patch of rocks a mere 3 miles under Piedmont suddenly broke loose along the Hayward Fault, triggering a wake-up call felt from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz.

    "Because it was shallower than normal, people in the vicinity felt more intensified shaking than usual for an earthquake of this magnitude," said Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the Earthquake Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

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  • Highline College will increase its support for geoscience education in community colleges nationwide, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    The NSF has awarded a four-year grant of $1.34 million to Highline College for support of the collaborative research project titled, “Faculty as Change Agents: Transforming Geoscience Education in Two-year Colleges.” The project will focus on improving geoscience education in community colleges across the country and is under the direction of Dr. Eric Baer of the Highline College Physical Sciences and Geoscience Program. Geoscience, or earth science, includes any of the sciences that deal with the earth, such as geology, geography, oceanography and hydrology. The grant award begins September 1, 2015, and ends August 31, 2019.

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  • While crews begin the arduous task of cleaning up Colorado’s Animas River — where contamination by heavy metals and toxins leaked from an abandoned hard rock mine turning the water orange — thousands of other natural sites across the American West remain at risk from similarly hazardous defunct quarries. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that there are currently 2,700 abandoned hard rock mines in need of environmental clean up. Nevada, nicknamed the “Silver State,” has the most, with an estimated 1,100 sites raising environmental concerns.  [...]

    Given how old a lot of the abandoned mines are, Kim Hannula, a geologist professor at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, said it’s impossible to blame any one party for the environmental dangers they pose.

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  • you may remember the family of four that left Nome back in March to start their trek up the Seward Peninsula. We caught up with Bretwood “Hig” Higman at the beginning of June to hear how the trip went.

    “I think it is a really different thing for the adults and kids,” Hig says. “The way it’s different is we just think more slowly and bigger. We think about the experience we’re getting this week or this month, but for our kids their scale is like the next 20 minutes. It’s right here. I think they had a fabulous experience.”

    Listen above to this KNOM profile featuring Hig’s reflections as well as soundscapes and self-interviews they collected while out on the land. You can learn more about their trip and ongoing adventures at

    Listen To Their Story


  • University of Oregon geologists have seen ridges and valleys form in real time and — even though the work was a fast-forwarded operation done in a laboratory setting — they now have an idea of how climate change may impact landscapes.

    On a basic-science front, the findings, which are in the July 3 issue of the journal Science, provide a long-sought answer to why some landscape features appear so orderly, with distinct and evenly spaced valleys and ridges. [...]

    "In our experiments we were able to dictate the processes involved and observe the landscapes that arise," Sweeney said. "We were able to directly control the various processes. Previous research has only attempted to replicate channel processes — what the rivers do. We essentially started from scratch, working to see the movement of sediment slopes in a realistic way.

    "Ridges and valleys are part of a fundamental landscape pattern that people easily recognize," she said. "From an airplane, you look down and you see watersheds, you see valleys, and they tend to have very regular spacing. Explaining this pattern is a fundamental question in geomorphology."

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  • SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Marian Ware Director of Physical Education and Athletics Adam Hertz has announced Karin Brown as the new head swimming coach at Swarthmore College. Brown, who will assume coaching duties for both the men's and women's swimming programs, was most recently the acting head coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Karin stood out among a talented pool of candidates," said Hertz. "She has a firm grasp of what it takes to lead this program, and an intellectual curiosity that will complement the culture at Swarthmore. We are very excited that she has chosen to join our family."

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