University of Michigan EARTH eNews: March 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends,
We are midway through our winter academic term here on campus and enjoying unseasonably warm weather that has us all itching to get out into the field. Punxsutawney Phil was on target this year. In this newsletter, we announce the hiring of two new faculty who will join us in the fall of 2016, share some alumni news, send a special thank you to Ted Huston who retired last year, and highlight one faculty member's participation in an international volcano-natural resources field school. As always, we welcome news of our alumni and friends. Please email us and let us know what you're up to, and if you have any news you would like to share.

Sincerely, Adam Simon and Kacey Lohmann

Alumni Notes
Our alumni are keeping busy in the Oil Patch. Jim Rodgers (BS ’52, MS ’53, left) and Dick Kettler (PhD ’89, right) recently completed a monumental study of the Geology of the Late Paleozoic Yuma Arch, Nebraska and Colorado. This study examined the regional stratigraphy, structure and salt tectonics to provide insight into the source rocks, migration pathways and reservoir characteristics. Great contribution!!! Take a look at the entire report. Citation: Rogers, J.P., Longman, M.W., Pearson, W.C., Wahlman, G.P., Kettler, R.M., Wlseth, J., Dixon, J., and Thomasson, M.R., 2015, Late Paleozoic Yuma Arch, Colorado and Nebraska: Implications for Oil Exploration in Pennsylvanian Carbonate Reservoirs:, The Mountain Geologist, v. 52, no. 1, 58 pp.

Ted Huston Retires from the Department
For many of you who have delved into the field of minor element geochemistry while at Michigan, you probably have fond memories of Ted Huston, who as an analytical chemist spent 26 years supporting the research of faculty and students.  Ted began in 1989 as Lynn Walters’ laboratory manager.  He had spent many years in this capacity with Lynn at Washington University in St. Louis and made the transition to Michigan when she was hired into the Sedimentary Geology group.  In 1996, he transitioned to become the “Head Honcho” of the Keck Elemental Geochemistry Laboratory, which extended the Department’s analytical capabilities with High Resolution Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometers.  This laboratory continued as a productive facility under his guardianship until Ted retired in 2015.  New instrumentation is planned for the rejuvenation of our elemental microanalytical facilities which are now under that direction of Prof. Ingrid Hendy.  We all miss Ted and his many contributions to the Department’s research programs.  Ted, we hope you enjoy your well earned retirement!!

Arc Volcanoes in Chile
Associate Professor Adam Simon co-taught a 10-day field school in the Chilean Andes with colleagues Philipp Ruprecht and Einat Lev from Columbia University, and Julia Hammer from the University of Hawaii. Students from Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, Universidad de Chile, and Universidad de Conception focused on the evolution of arc volcanoes and their relationship with metal ore deposits. The group spent most of their time at Volcan Quizapu, a crater on the flanks of the larger Cerro Azul volcano. Quizapu formed in 1846 during an effusive eruption of mafic to intermediate lavas. The volcano experienced many small eruptions in the early 20th century, and in 1932 there was a explosive Plinian eruption that ejected almost 10 cubic kilometers of dacitic magma and is the largest erupion in South America in recorded history.  The group used a drone to map lava flows and conducted two high-density sampling campaigns with the goal to assess spatial variability with the several-km long flows.  Among the highlights was being completely off the grid for the duration of the field school, which was wonderful mental therapy. 

Naomi Levin to Join Departmemnt
We are happy to announce that Naomi Levin will join our faculty as an associate professor in the fall of 2016.  Naomi focuses on understanding how landscapes and terrestrial organisms respond to past climate change. She primarily uses stable isotopic records to study interactions between mammals, vegetation, and climate in past ecosystems. Her research involves a combination of geologic field work and stable isotope laboratory work. Active projects include reconstructing Plio-Pleistocene environments from sedimentary and isotopic records preserved in the East African rift, isotope hydrology in Ethiopia, paleoecological and sedimentology of mid-Pleistocene sites in South Africa, and mass-dependent Δ17O variation in the sedimentary record and the hydrosphere.

Ben Passey to Join Departmemnt
We are happy to announce that Ben Passey will join our faculty as an associate professor in the fall of 2016. Ben is interested in the history of, and interrelationships among, Earth's climate, ecosystems, tectonics, and biogeochemical cycles. Sedimentary rocks and fossils preserve a great deal of information about the ancient Earth. Ben's research seeks to extract new kinds of information from these archives through the development and application of techniques in stable isotope biogeochemistry. 

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