Carleton Geology Alums In The News

  • Operated by the UW and the University of Oregon, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) monitors volcanic and seismic activity across the United States.

    The PNSN also keeps a detailed history of Mount St. Helens’ activity. Mount St. Helens had a major eruption in 1980 that famously blew its top off, giving the volcano its distinct appearance. In addition, Mount St. Helens had a series of smaller eruptions between 2004 and 2008. [..]

    Mount St. Helens also won’t erupt without warning. 

    “We would see a number of things happening over days to weeks before a large eruption, such as increased gas emissions, steam eruptions, increased ground inflation, and much shallower seismicity,” said Carl Ulberg, a graduate student in the earth and space sciences department.

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  • The discovery of stone tools alongside mastodon bones in a Florida river shows that humans settled the southeastern United States as much as 1,500 years earlier than scientists previously believed, according to a new research. This site on the Aucilla River -- about 45 minutes from Tallahassee -- is now the oldest known site of human life in the southeastern United States. It dates back 14,550 years. [..]

    Other researchers on the study are Angelina Perrotti and David Carlson from Texas A&M, Ivy Owens from the University of Cambridge, Joshua Feinberg and Mark Bourne from the University of Minnesota.

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  • For many, the New Testament Book of Revelation is associated with dark, apocalyptic imagery. But Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, is working to reclaim an image that appears twice in Revelation: the tree of life for the healing of the world. Using the image of the tree of life—along with the metaphor of abundant life found in the Book of John—Rossing is working to create a positive, constructive vision of the future that we can move toward with hope.

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    Short Video Introduction To The Subject

  • On Monday, the City Council submitted a resolution to become a GreenStep City. Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program that encourages cities to achieve cost savings through energy use reduction and encourage civic innovation.

    “Albert Lea is known for its nation-leading Blue Zone work, which involves active living, community design and parks, to name a few aspects,” said Philipp Muessig, GreenStep coordinator for the State of Minnesota. “The GreenStep program welcomes the city and looks forward to reading of its many accomplishments on a new GreenStep web page created for the city.”

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  • The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a polar desert in coastal Antarctica, where glaciers, permafrost, ice-covered lakes, and ephemeral summer streams coexist. Liquid water is found at the surface only in lakes and in the temporary streams that feed them.

    Past geophysical exploration has yielded ambiguous results regarding the presence of subsurface water. In 2011, we used a helicopter borne, time-domain electromagnetic (TDEM) sensor to map resistivity in the subsurface across the Dry Valleys.

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  • 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.

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  • London's first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality this week after researchers presented Mayor of London Boris Johnson with conceptual plans for an 80-storey, 300m high wooden building integrated within the Barbican.

    Researchers from Cambridge University's Department of Architecture are working with PLP Architecture and engineers Smith and Wallwork on the future development of tall timber buildings in central London[...]

    Dr Michael Ramage, Director of Cambridge's Centre for Natural Material Innovation, said: "The Barbican was designed in the middle of the last century to bring residential living into the city of London -- and it was successful. We've put our proposals on the Barbican as a way to imagine what the future of construction could look like in the 21st century.

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    A Douglas fir tree is a marvel of natural engineering. The trunk, made mostly of slender dead cells each a few millimeters long, can reach heights of 100 meters. It's supple enough to sway in windstorms without snapping, yet strong enough to support its weight—up to 160 metric tons. Kilogram for kilogram, a wooden beam made from this fir is 3.5 times stronger than steel. A single tree can store half its weight in carbon and can replace itself, given enough time. Its luminous, patterned wood can be sculpted into virtually any shape[...]

    In April, Michael Ramage, an architect and structural engineer at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, unveiled a plan for a needle-thin, 80-story skyscraper in London, one of four designs he's creating with architects in three different cities. There's no imminent plan to build any of them. But Ramage predicts that wooden towers this tall could go up within a decade, and he and his colleagues are now testing the kinds of beams and steel connectors that could support a supertall wooden structure.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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