Tag Archive for Earth and Environmental Sciences

Grad student Bennum Honored by Petroleum Geologists

Earth and environmental sciences graduate student George Bennum ’08 received an honorable mention for his student research poster titled “3D Modeling of Synsedimentary Faults in the Capitan Reef, Guadalupe Mountains, NM/TX” at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists “Rocky Mountain Rendezvous of Geoscience Students and Employers.” Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, is Bennum’s advisor.

Blakemore ’65 Speaks on Psychologies of Global Warming

Bill Blakemore '65, an ABC News Correspondent, will speak on "The Many Psychologies of Global Warming," during a talk at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel.

Bill Blakemore '65, an ABC News Correspondent, will speak on "The Many Psychologies of Global Warming," during a talk at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel.

Four weeks before the nations meet in Copenhagen to try to avert the catastrophes that global warming may bring, ABC News Correspondent William Blakemore ’65 will identify many surprising psychological factors at play as people in all walks of life deal with the latest “hard news” on climate.

Blakemore will speak on “The Many Psychologies of Global Warming,” during a talk at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel.

He’ll explore new definitions of sanity that may pertain, and give examples displaying different “psychologies, as well as manmade global warming’s place in “the long history of narcissistic insults to humanity itself.”

Two new time-line graphs of rapid and dangerous climate change will give fresh global context to the psychological challenges and experiences he has observed in the five years since he began focusing on global warming for ABC News.

Computer modelers trying to project the speed and severity of global warming’s advance often say that “the biggest unknown” in their equations is not data about ice or atmosphere, carbon or clouds, but “what the humans will do.” This talk probes that field and many states of mind already engaged.

The talk is sponsored by the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, Department of Psychology, and the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.

A follow-up discussion will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Wasch Center on Lawn Ave.

Freshwater Resources Topic of Where On Earth Are We Going Symposium

Patrick Osborne

Patrick Osborne, executive director of the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, will speak on climate change during the Where on Earth Are We Going symposium Nov. 7.

During the last 50 years, humans have degraded rivers and lakes through excessive water abstraction, pollution and by over-harvesting aquatic organisms. River flow has been impeded by dams, and floodplains have been converted for agriculture and urban areas.

The human population has doubled to nearly 7 billion and, per capita water availability has declined on all continents. During the past 50 years, global climate change has further impacted water resources.

On Nov. 7, three climate experts will speak on “Global Environmental Change And Freshwater Resources: Hope For The Best Or Change To Prepare For The Worst?” during the annual Where On Earth Are We Going? Symposium. The event is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.

At 9 a.m., Patrick L. Osborne, executive director of the Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will look at ways climate change and global warming have altered river and lake function and the water resources on which humans rely. He has 30 years experience in tropical ecology research, education and environmental consultancy and was the head of the biology department at the University of Papua New Guinea and deputy director of the Water Research Center at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

At 10:15 a.m., Frank H. McCormick, program manager of Air, Water and Aquatic Environments at the Rocky Mountain Research Station,

Filmmaker Speaks to Wesleyan About Water Crisis

Eco-activist. filmmaker and reality television star Shalini Kantayya spoke about the global water crisis during Wesleyan’s Earth Day Celebration April 15. Her production company, 7th Empire Media, is committed to using media to give a powerful voice to the unheard.

Kantayya captured the attention of the nation during the television series “On the Lot,” a reality show created by Steven Spielberg for the purpose of finding Hollywood’s next great director. Out of over 12,000 filmmakers, Kantayya was the only woman to finish in the top 10.

(Photos by Alexandra Portis ’09)

Varekamp Watching Alaskan Volcano Closely

Ascending eruption cloud from the Mount Redoubt volcano in 1990 as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula. The mushroom-shaped plume rose from avalanches of hot debris that cascaded down the north flank of the volcano. A smaller, white steam plume rises from the summit crater. (Photo by R. Clucas)

Ascending eruption cloud from the Mount Redoubt volcano in 1990 as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula. The mushroom-shaped plume rose from avalanches of hot debris that cascaded down the north flank of the volcano. A smaller, white steam plume rises from the summit crater. (Photo by R. Clucas)

About 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the ground around Mount Redoubt has begun to shake and a smell akin to rotten eggs tinges the air. The last time this happened the 10,197-foot volcano erupted for five months, venting hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide gas and spewing ash into the air. Professor Johan Varekamp remembers it well. He was among scientists who analyzed the direct effects of the 1989-1990 eruption.

The ash he examined was ejected more than 40,000 feet into the sky; the resulting ashfall covered nearly 8,000 square miles of the surrounding landscape.

“As is often quoted in the newspapers, ash is an unpleasant substance for human lungs as well as jet engines, given the sharp edges of small glassy ash fragments,” says Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, who studies volcanoes and their effects. “Inhalation of volcanic ash leads to lung irritation and possibly lung damage. It is often compared to silicosis, which is a lung condition that many workers

‘Father of Environmental Justice’ Keynote at MLK Celebration

Robert D. Bullard.

Robert D. Bullard.

Robert D. Bullard, a leading authority regarding environmental justice and the author of Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality, will lead the Celebration of the Life of Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. keynote address. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 27 in Memorial Chapel.

Bullard is the Ware Distinguished Professor of Sociology and director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. Prior to joining the faculty at CAU in 1994, he served as a professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, as well as visiting professor in Center for Afro-American Studies at the University of California Los Angeles. His scholarship has distinguished him as one of the leading experts on environmental justice and race and the environment. He is one of the planners of the First and Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.

“Robert Bullard, an activist and academic, is considered to be the father of environmental justice,” says Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor and chair of earth and environmental sciences, director of the Service Learning Center and member of the MLK celebration Planning Committee. “We’re very honored to have someone of his stature speak

NASA Grant to Fund Study on Venus’s Landscape

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Holding a globe model of the planet Venus, Martha Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environmental science, and Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, will study an area on Venus that contains the oldest rocks on the planet’s surface. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

Thanks to NASA, two Earth and Environmental Science faculty are going to spend the better part of their next three summers on Venus looking at volcanoes and mountain ranges.

Specifically, Martha Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environment science, and Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, will be using a three-year NASA grant to examine an area of Venus called the Tellus Regio, which is contains some of the oldest rocks on the planet’s surface.

“It’s an area of interest for two reasons, primarily,” says Gilmore, who has done work on Mars and Venus missions, among others for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “First, it’s an area that is high on NASA’s list of

Thomas Published in Science Magazine

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, is a co-author of an article on the “long record of the Ca-isotope composition of seawater,” published in Science Magazine Dec. 15.

Wesleyan, Community Design Festive Greens

The Center for Community Partnerships hosted a "Green Your Holiday" craft event Dec. 6 for the Wesleyan staff, faculty and students and the local community. Volunteer Shelia Gray Smith, at left, taught participants how to make festive centerpieces using fresh pine greens.

The Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) hosted a "Green Your Holiday" craft event Dec. 6 for the Wesleyan staff, faculty and students and the local community. Volunteer Sheila Graham Smith, at left, taught participants how to make festive centerpieces using fresh pine greens. Elisa Del Valle, assistant director of student activities and leadership development, is pictured at right.

Thomas Paper Designated as ’Current Classic’

A paper by Ellen Thomas was identified as one of the most highly cited papers in the field of geosciences.

A paper co-authored by Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and enviornmental sciences, titled “Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present,” published in Science, 292, in 2001, has been identified by Thomson Reuters Scientific’s Essential Science Indicators as one of the most highly cited papers in field of geosciences, and has been designated as a “Current Classic” for October 2008.

For more information go to: http://sciencewatch.com/dr/cc/08-octcc/’Article.

Thomas Author of 3 Geology, Palaeogeography Articles

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and enviornmental sciences, is the author of “Research Focus: Descent into the Icehouse,” published in Geology, 36: 191-192, 2008. She is the co-author of “Depth-dependency of the Paleocene-Eocene Carbon Isotope Excursion: paired benthic and terrestrial biomarker records (ODP Leg 208, Walvis Ridge),” published in  Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst, 9 (10): Q10008, 2008; and “Effects of Oligocene climatic events on the foraminiferal record from Fuente Caldera section (Spain, western Tethys),” published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 269: 94-102. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.08.006, in press.

Seniors Project Takes Student Researchers to Puerto Rico

At left, Hannah Hastings ‘’08 and Andrea Pain ‘‘08 snorkeled the Puerto Rico shoreline to collect seagrass as part of their earth and environmental sciences senior research seminar.

In January, Hannah Hastings ‘’08 and Andrea Pain ‘‘08 collected seagrass from the ocean floor to study nutrient content in a dinoflagellate-rich ecosystem off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. The seniors returned to Wesleyan and analyzed their samples for carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus levels. They discovered a high ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus compared to the normal ratio in the ocean.

“”We discovered that high dinoflagellate concentrations are directly associated with elevated nitrogen to phosphorus ratios,”” Pain said during Part I of the Earth and Environmental Science Department’s Senior Seminar Research Project colloquium March 6. Part II of the colloquium is scheduled for March 25.