Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • Dr. Lloyd Pray '41 a widely respected sedimentologist and Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, passed away on April 5, 2016 at the age of 96. 

    His obituary (full text here) said, in part:

    After attending public high school in Ashland, Lloyd's geological education began at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota under famed scientist and explorer Larry Gould. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1941. He earned a Masters degree at Cal Tech in Pasadena, California, in 1943. Near the end of WWII, Lloyd enlisted as an officer in the Navy to help survey Japanese harbors to determine if they were navigable. After a year with the USGS, where he completed a now-classic dissertation on the stratigraphy of New Mexico's Sacramento Mountains, he returned to Cal Tech, was awarded his Ph.D. in 1951, and became an associate professor. Lloyd moved his family to Littleton, Colorado, in 1956, where he initiated carbonate research at Marathon Oil Company's Denver Research Center. In 1968, he made Madison his permanent home as a tenured geology professor at the University of Wisconsin for 35 years.

    During his professional career, Lloyd earned an international reputation as a leader in the earth sciences. He had a profound and lasting effect on the study of sedimentary geology and the origin and characteristics of carbonate rocks. An outspoken proponent of getting away from desks and computers and out into the field, he made critical discoveries along the cliffs of the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas, where he led field trips for graduate students and geologists for years. Although his fieldwork took him around the world, from the deserts of Libya to the coral reefs of Australia, he never lost his love and appreciation for the geology of his home state of Wisconsin.

    As a geologist, Lloyd will be remembered for his maverick approach, which required the scientific community to step outside of its normal boundaries and conventions. As an educator, he had a unique ability to communicate complex scientific concepts and discoveries with logic, wit, and unbounded enthusiasm. Year after year, he mesmerized the students in his popular Geology 101 class, and inspired many graduate students who went on to make groundbreaking contributions to industry and academia. Lloyd received numerous awards during his career, including one for Distinguished Achievement at his 50th reunion for Carleton College; a prestigious University of Wisconsin teaching award in 1988, and the award he was most proud of, the Wallace Pratt Stewardship Award, for his work at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. He also won the Society for Sedimentary Geology's highest honor, the Twenhofel Medal, in 1999.

    A video tribute to Dr. Pray has been posted by his son Doug, who wrote, "In 1988 I joined my father on one of his last UW geology field trips to the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. I was a young UCLA film student at the time, and made this 20-minute documentary as a tribute to his love of field geology, teaching, and the Guadalupes. Lloyd passed away on April 5, 2016 at the age of 96. He will be missed by the many that he inspired."  Watch The Video

  • Moose recovering in the Arctic may be benefiting from higher shrubs than were present in the past 150 years, according to a new study.

    “If you’re a moose you’ve got to be near those shrubs both for forage and for cover from predators,” said Ken Tape, an assistant professor and ecologist at University of Alaska Fairbanks and lead author of a study published yesterday in PLOS ONE.

    But the warming climate seems to be affording shrubbery north of the tree line in Alaska to grow higher, which may be ushering in a growing moose population in the state.

    Read The Whole Story

  • Lydia Staisch gave a one-hour presentation on the deformation history of the Yakima fold province and implications for seismic hazard in central Washington: new constraints from geochronology, structural interpretation, and stream profile inversion.

    Watch The Video

  • Artic Thawing Is Significant Concern - University of Alaska Fairbanks Artic researcher Ken Tape and colleagues recently published a paper with Nature Geoscience (April 2016, Volume 9) discussing their research into Artice permafrost melting.

    The research team discussed the work and significant concerns with The Washington Post in an article recently, highlighting the rate at which the top layer of Artic permafrost is melting and the impact this melt will have on the hydrology of the region, as well as the potential for catastrophic green house gas emissions.

    Read The Whole Story

  • We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to Zach's family, friends, and all who are impacted by his passing.

    A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the Church of St. Dominic [104 Linden St N] in Northfield.

    Visitation will be from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, February 5, 2016, at the Benson and Langehough Funeral Home [201 4th St E] in Northfield. Visitation will continue at the church on Saturday one hour prior to services.

    To leave a personal message of reflection, please visit Carleton's Farewells website at This is a public website providing an opportunity for all to share messages.

    There will be a Carleton memorial service to celebrate Zach's life Saturday, April 2, 2016, at 2:00 pm., in Skinner Chapel.

  • It is with a heavy heart that we convey the news of Zach Mitchell's passing.

    Zach was majoring in Geology with an interest in Archaeology. Zach was also active with many groups on campus including CANOE, Farm House, and Rugby. He had a love for the outdoors and spent a great deal of time in the arboretum as a Cole Student Naturalist. Zach had numerous passions and academic pursuits.

    We will remember him for the impact that he had on us all.

    There will be a remembrance service held soon at St. Dominic's- details will be updated shortly. There will also be a memorial service at Carleton Chapel on Saturday, April 2nd at 2pm.

  • Much of the oil flowing through Line 61 – the pipeline passing under the St. Croix River’s headwaters that St. Croix 360 first reported on in October 2014 – is “unconventional.”

    Unlike regular crude, it isn’t pumped out of the ground, but is mined. In its raw form, it isn’t really fluid – it resembles hot asphalt. It is diluted with other chemicals so it will flow through pipelines. The mixture is known as diluted bitumen, or “dilbit.”

    It turns out that its environmental impacts are also unconventional. [...]

    At least one pipeline safety advocate seems skeptical that the report will lead to significant change. Rebecca Craven at the Pipeline Safety Trust wrote in a blog post that changing the regulations “will be no easy feat.” She pointed to a 2011 report that called for an audit of the federal agency in charge of pipelines, reviewing its spill response program. That audit has still not been released.

    “This NAS study identifies a number of major corrections that are needed specific to improving plans that relate to potential spills of dilbit. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another four years to enact these recommendations,” Craven writes.

    Read The Whole Story


  • Lauren Andrews has done some of the most interesting work I’ve seen on subglacial hydrology — as a grad student, and with a degree of independence that would be unusual in most any PhD.

    Lauren’s idea of how science works seems pretty darn reasonable … begin with a question, gather your data, hash out possible explanations and guesses with some smart people, try to prove your self wrong, and stay open to the possibility that your interpretation might be subject to revision down the road.

    We also chat about deciding whether or not to submit to Nature (go ahead!), the frustration and value of dealing with reviewers’ comments, and the impact of having a paper in Nature. In this case, the biggest outcome for Lauren was learning to explain her science, not the career boost you might expect.

    Read And Listen

  • An Antarctic research project with close ties to the University of Minnesota Duluth has reached a major milestone in its quest to gather new scientific information from the depths of the ice-locked continent.

    The Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) — which researchers say will dramatically reduce the time required to bore deep into ice sheets — has been completed and is scheduled to be shipped to Antarctica this month.

    It'll be put to use as part of a research project involving researchers from UMD and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. John Goodge, an earth and environmental sciences professor at UMD, is co-leader of the project that received a $9 million grant last year from the Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation.

    Read The Whole Story


  • Ronald Reagan was in the White House, men wore frighteningly short shorts and Missoulians threw everything from crap to concrete in the Clark Fork River when a new organization decided some changes needed to happen.

    But since 1985, the list of things that have gone away – or come back – at the urging of the Clark Fork Coalition is balanced only by the things it still plans to do.

    Milltown Dam and its reservoir of century-old arsenic and lead tailings have been replaced by a restored river confluence and extensive state park complex. Riprap and raw sewage no longer routinely wind up in the river. But more water does, thanks to agreements with irrigators and landowners along the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork to preserve more in-stream flow. [...]

      “We became much more well-known through Milltown,” CFC science director Chris Brick said. “It’s always hard to explain what you’re doing sitting in long, legal meetings, but that’s how most of the work gets done. This was a big, visible project that raised our profile.”

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