The ERS 315 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy class, taught by Prof. Dan Belknap, went on a field trip October 22nd to look at sedimentary rocks and sediments in downeast Maine. Stops included Lewis Cove in North Perry to see Perry Formation, a Devonian conglomerate, Lubec tidal flats, Jasper Beach, Peasley Corner, and Hay Creek bog.
Department of Earth Sciences and Climate Change Institute Ph.D. student Bess Koffman was recently awarded an NSF travel grant to support development of a postdoctoral research proposal. After she completes her doctoral degree, Koffman plans to continue work on using particulate matter in snow and ice cores to better understand the complex relationships between atmospheric circulation and climate, with a focus on the southern hemisphere. As part of her planning, she visited Cornell University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
This grant program is a component of the NSF-OPP Polar Regions Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, which “supports training and research for recent doctoral degree recipients in any aspect of scientific study of the Antarctic and/or the Arctic within the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) program areas (http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=OPP). The program also provides travel grants to those eligible for fellowships for the purpose of meeting prospective mentors and colleagues, presenting seminars, discussing mutual research and/or education interests, evaluating facilities and professional development opportunities, and initiating collaborative relationships.”
More details of Bess’s award are at: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1143661
Research Professor Edward Grew, now in his 27th year at the University of Maine, was recently selected to chair the Subcommittee on Garnet Nomenclature for the International Mineralogical Association-Commission on New Minerals, Mineral Names and Classification (http://pubsites.uws.edu.au/ima-cnmnc/). The task of the subcommittee is to review existing nomenclature of the 32 approved species of garnets and closely related minerals, ten of which were discovered in the last year and a half. One of those recent discoveries, menzerite-(Y), was by former Ph.D. student Jeffrey Marsh, now a postdoc at the University of Texas – Austin, and described by Grew, Marsh, and others in 2010.
Due to its prevalence and chemical and mechanical properties, garnet is one of the most used minerals in interpreting petrological and microstructural aspects of rock histories. The garnet supergroup includes not only the familiar species almandine, pyrope, grossular, andradite and spessartine, but also species containing uranium, antimony and tin, elements not usually present in garnet. The subcommittee will be proposing a classification and procedure for recognizing species. The subcommittee currently is composed of 7 members representing Russia, Sweden, Australia and Canada as well as the U.S.
There are books about seashells and beach plants and birds, but no books about the geology of beaches. That is there were no books until Orrin Pilkey (Duke University), Bill Neal (Grand Valley State University), Andrew Cooper (University of Ulster) and Joe Kelley from the Department of earth sciences at UMaine wrote “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline. The book, published by University of California Press, was recently reviewed in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/science/16scibks.html?ref=science). There are hundreds of color photos, yet owing to a grant from the Santa Aguila Foundation, the book sells for under $30. Topics in the book range from the very small (bubble marks where air escapes from between the sand grains) to very large (the origin of beaches as a result of sea-level rise.
JohnRyan MacGregor, an M.S. student working with Research Professor Ed Grew, took two trips in May and June, 2011 related to his investigations into boron-bearing minerals in granulite facies rocks and the crustal boron budget. The first trip was to the Geological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Association of Canada spring meeting in Ottawa, where he presented a poster on his recent observations on the microstructural relations among three borosilicate minerals in granulite-facies rocks from the Larsemann Hills, Prydz Bay, Antarctica near Australia’s Davis Station. Unfortunately he has not gotten to this remote field site where his samples came from. But following the GAC-MAC meeting, JohnRyan toured similar rock types along with Ed Grew and Dr. Richard K. Herd, Curator of the National Collections of the Geological Survey of Canada. Dr. Herd guided JohnRyan to the classic locality for prismatine near Kazabazua, Quebec, north of Ottawa. Prismatine is one of the three borosilicate minerals JohnRyan is studying, and here he could collect this mineral, which is readily seen in highway road cuts.
JohnRyan’s second trip was to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he spent two weeks in the Ion Microprobe Facility in the School of Geosciences, Grant Institute at the University of Edinburgh, measuring boron isotope ratios in the three borosilicate minerals tourmaline, prismatine and grandidierite from the Larsemann Hills. His objectives were to measure the distribution of the two naturally occurring isotopes of boron among the three minerals and learn what the isotopic ratios tell us about metamorphic processes and origin of the unusually high concentrations of boron in the Larsemann Hills rocks. JohnRyan learned to operate the Cameca ims-4f ion microprobe on his own with lab staff to assist only if a problem arose. Following the lab work JohnRyan presented his poster at the 11th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences, which was held on another campus of the University of Edinburgh. This gave JohnRyan a chance to meet scientists who had worked in the Larsemann Hills and nearby areas and hear their presentations.
On Monday, May 16th, Marty Yates was honored for 25 years of service to the University. Below is the text written to recognize his contributions.
The Department of Earth Sciences welcomes the opportunity to recognize 25 years of service by Dr. Martin Yates to the University of Maine. Marty is the manager of the Department’s electron microprobe and X-ray diffraction laboratories and also serves as an Instructor. Marty is an indispensable member of our Department: if there is a job to be done, as likely as not, Marty steps forward to do it.
Marty joined the professional staff of the University of Maine in 1986 as manager of the laboratory for a MAC 400S electron microprobe. As a Co-Principal Investigator, Marty’s input was critical to the successful proposals for funding from the National Science Foundation for upgrade of the MAC 400S in 1990, and for acquisition of a used ARL SEMQ electron microprobe in 1994, an automated X-ray diffractometer in 1997, and a brand new Cameca SX100 electron microprobe in 2001. Marty’s phenomenal knowledge of electronics, computer software and mineral chemistry has not only kept these instruments in excellent working order, but also served to train numerous students in getting useful, meaningful and publishable data from them. Marty has co-authored with students and faculty 40 scientific papers published in international, peer-reviewed journals, and co-edited the guidebooks for field trips for the 92nd and 102nd New England Intercollegiate Geological Conferences in 2000 and 2010.
Marty played a leading role in planning, organizing and executing the Department’s move from Boardman Hall to the Bryand Global Science Center in 1997. He was instrumental in deciding how the interior of Bryand would best be set up for laboratories, offices and classrooms, and has served as building manager since the move. That every student, staff and faculty member has access to the department’s server as well as the Internet is the result of Marty’s selfless work in maintaining and upgrading the department’s computer infrastructure. Thanks to Marty, the latest data from our seismic, climate and solar panel stations are on display. Marty regularly offers a course in analytical techniques, so that students learn not simply how to use the microprobe, diffractometer and scanning electron microscope; he also teaches them the principles behind this technology. Marty has an active and curious intellect and is not deterred by challenges such as the complex mathematics of data processing.
The university is not the only beneficiary of Marty’s prodigious energy. He has been an active leader in Maine Boy Scouting for 16 years, and received the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award. He served 14 years as Treasurer of the Old Town United Methodist Church and is Finance Committee Chair. He has distinguished himself as a first class chef as any guest at his wonderful dinners can testify. It is with great pleasure that we join with the University of Maine in honoring Marty Yates for 25 years of outstanding service.
Bess Koffman, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth Science and the Clmate Change Institute, and undergraduate major Eliza Kane were featured in the May 11, 2011, video on the government website science360. Link to the video.
We are pleased to announce that several ERS students and faculty have received College-wide awards. Congratulations!
Karl Kreutz is this year’s winner of the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, sponsored by the Graduate Student Government. According to the Graduate Student Government nomination criteria, “Graduate mentors offer their time, advice, encouragement and resources that aid graduate students in their professional development and goals beyond their graduate coursework and completion of their graduate program.” Karl’s dedication to graduate student professional development is truly commendable.
Gordon Bromley has received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student award (Advisor: Brenda Hall). Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award and Outstanding Master’s Degree Student Award were established in 2008 to recognize outstanding graduate students at the master’s and Ph.D. levels who have distinguished themselves in multiple ways.
Bess Koffman has received the Outstanding Service Student (Advisor: Karl Kreutz). Outstanding Service Award was established in 2008 to recognize graduate students with a distinguished record of service to the university in the form of teaching and/or other university and professional service.
For more information about the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, see here: http://www2.umaine.edu/gsg/?page_id=1834
For more information on the student awards, see here: https://nsfa.umaine.edu/graduate-student-awards/graduate-student-award-descriptions/
Earth Sciences major Peter Strand will spend his summer at the highest point in the northeast – the Mt. Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. Peter was offered a position as a summer intern at the station, where he will assist with weather recording, ongoing scientific studies, and educational programs.
For more information about the internship program, please see: http://www.mountwashington.org/about/jobs/intern.php
More information about the Mount Washington Observatory is at: http://www.mountwashington.org/
Calvin Mako, an ERS major and member of the Honors College, has been invited to participate in a highly selective undergraduate research program run by the Keck Geology Consortium. The Consortium organizes several projects each summer in which undergraduates have the opportunity to work with faculty from around the country on cutting-edge research projects.
Calvin will work with several other students as well as Professors William Peck from Colgate University and Steve Dunn and Michelle Markley from Mt. Holyoke College on the Central Metasedimentary Belt Boundary Zone in Ontario, Canada. Calvin will work with Assistant Professor Christopher Gerbi upon his return to campus. As part of the project, Calvin will complete a thesis on his chosen research area and present his results at a spring meeting of the Consortium.
For more information about the program, see http://keckgeology.org/