Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • I had heard stories about the 48 hour party since I started at Ohio State last summer. I’ll admit that the idea of a 48 hour party was intriguing, and perhaps a bit painful. The talk of 2-5 AM shifts had the sound of cruel and unusual punishment. The overnight shifts never materialized, however. The final plan involved manning the infrared camera from 1 PM to 10 PM, with an overnight break before resuming at 6 AM and continuing to 1 PM. Photos of one of the glaciers behind Cuchillacocha were to be taken every 15 minutes. Once every 30 minutes qualified as acceptable but not ideal. Once every hour would be considered “scandalous”. The photos would become part of a large collection of atmospheric and hydrologic data taken in the Cuchillacocha basin over a 24 hour period.

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  • Jeff Mow, a 25-year veteran of the National Park Service (NPS), has been named superintendent of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. Mow, who is now superintendent of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, will begin his assignment at Glacier on Aug. 25.

    Mow, who has led NPS management and stewardship at Kenai Fjords since November 2004, is eager to return to Glacier and Montana. "My first visit to the park was in 1988 as a wild land firefighter on the Red Bench Fire near Polebridge," he recalled. "Twenty-five years later, it is such an honor and privilege to return as superintendent and a newest member of Glacier's outstanding management team. I can't wait to join with the park staff and partners as we meet numerous challenges and opportunities facing the park in the next few years." 

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  • Nasa is finally thinking about getting its Curiosity rover on the road and heading towards the big mountain at its exploration site in Mars' Gale Crater.

    The robot has spent the past six months in a small depression, drilling its rocks and analysing their composition.

    But even as the labs do their analysis, Curiosity has started moving towards a rock feature it saw briefly on the way into Yellowknife Bay.

    Known as Point Lake, this outcrop has an unusual holey appearance - like Swiss cheese. Scientists are unsure as to whether it is volcanic or sedimentary in character.

    "One idea is that it could be a lava flow and those are gas vesicles, and you often see in volcanic rocks on Earth that those kinds of holes are sometimes filled in by secondary minerals. That's one possibility," said Dr Joy Crisp, the deputy project scientist for Curiosity.

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    Joy Also Explained The Presence Of The "Mars Rat"

  • Windmilling his kayak paddle into the pushy breeze, Luc Mehl, 34, pulls onto the sandbar at the mouth of Mexico’s Rio Antigua and squints at the novelty of a flat, seascape horizon in the hazy afternoon glare. Two days of sleepless dysentery have drained Mehl’s prodigious vigor and his hands are blanched and clammy as we high-five. Still, he’s grinning with accomplishment in the salt air.

    Eleven days earlier we’d set out pedaling bikes strapped with mountaineering and whitewater paddling gear in Cholula de Rivadavia, a ciudad 60 miles east of Mexico City. Without ever having visited Mexico before, Mehl composed a 230-mile bike/hike/packraft triathlon first to Pico de Orizaba (18,491 feet) and then descending through rain forest hamlets to a whitewater river. Now at sea level, we found the end of Mehl’s line.

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  • Did you know that Earth's solid exterior can move around over its core, causing the planet's poles to wander back and forth? Adam Maloof, associate professor of geosciences at Princeton University, discusses the consequences of these shifts, and what may be causing them.  [...]

    A new study published in the journal Nature, though, may help explain what causes this colossal slip and slide, and that's what we're talking about next.  [...]

    LICHTMAN: OK. So what are we talking about?

    MALOOF: We're talking about the rest of the Earth: the crust, the rest of the lithosphere and the entire mantle sliding over the outer core. So the way you imagine this is the core of the Earth, the outer part, is actually fluid iron, and it has about the viscosity of water. So we're literally sliding, you know, 2,700 kilometers of mantle over this so that, as perceived from space, what you'd see is the spin axis is staying the same, but all the continents are moving together to a new location.

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  • Geologists at Yale University have proposed a new theory to describe the formation of supercontinents, the epic process by which Earth’s major continental blocks combine into a single vast landmass. The new model radically challenges the dominant theories of how supercontinents might take shape.

    In a paper published Feb. 9 in the journal Nature, Yale researchers introduce a process called orthoversion, in which each succeeding supercontinent forms 90 degrees from the geographic center of its ancient predecessor. Under the theory, the present-day Arctic Ocean and Caribbean Sea will vanish as North and South America fuse during a mutual northward migration that leads to a collision with Europe and Asia.

    “After those water bodies close, we’re on our way to the next supercontinent,” said Ross N. Mitchell, the Yale doctoral student who is the paper’s first author. “You’d have the Americas meeting Eurasia practically at the North Pole.”

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  • The IAG presented its sixth Early Career Researcher Award at the Goldschmidt Conference in Prague (August 2011). Now a well-established annual event, this award is based on the abstracts submitted for presentation at either poster or oral sessions; this year the IAG’s jury had a record 1150 contributions to consider.

  • Scott Linneman, '83 Carleton College Geology graduate who has taught at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA has been named the state’s Higher Education Science Teacher of the Year by the Washington Science Teachers Association.


  • Jeff Pipes '83 & Carls Helping Carls

    Opportunity Uncorked: A Mentor Externship in Wine Country!

    California winemaker Jeff Pipes '83 admits that he wasn’t sold on Carleton’s Mentor Externship program at first. Having a student work with him and live with his family sounded like a big commitment.

    "Wine is an intense and competitive industry," explains Pipes, who owns Pipestone Vineyards with his wife, Florence Wong '84. "I’m incredibly busy. Having an extra person around to teach and train takes time."

    But once he began reading applications from eager Carleton students, Pipes couldn't help but be impressed. "There were 30 applications, and I could have happily hired every one of them. They were all great. The hardest part was narrowing it down to just one."

    That "one" turned out to be Amelia Harris '12, an Environmental Studies major with a special emphasis on food and agriculture—a perfect fit for Pipestone Vineyards, where Pipes and Wong strive to practice sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly farming.



  • To recognize exceptional work, the Geological Society of America awarded Benjamin Parks ’11, 1st place for his outstanding poster presentation. A panel of judges was very impressed with the scientific aspects of his work, as well as the polished poster presentation that he gave. Congratulations Ben!