University of Michigan EARTH eNews: November 2018

Dear Alumni and Friends,
Here in Ann Arbor, we're past the halfway point of our fall semester and snow is already falling. The November 6 election had the highest mid-term turnout since the early 1960s and returns a Democrat to the governor's mansion and makes cannabis legal. Wow, that is a return to the 1960s. Here, we share news about earthquakes in the Big House, the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction, and ocean acidification at the seafloor. As always, we welcome news from 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

More news, events, and general interest articles can be found on the department web site. You can follow the field trips, research, and Camp Davis on Twitter and Instagram

Giving BlueDay is One Week Away-November 27, 2018
For three years in a row your Giving BlueDay generosity earned the Department the #1 spot for the 60+ units in LSA. Gifts to the Department or Camp Davis help make it possible for us to continue providing our students with a world-class Earth science experience.

On November 27th, give online to the Department Strategic Fund or the Camp Davis Strategic Fund

Photo: Nikolas Midttun.

Crowdsourced Water Sampling-an Invitation to Pitch In
Grad student Phoebe Aron is collecting crowdsourced water samples in order to generate a dataset of triple oxygen isotopes in the hydrosphere. In May 2018, we asked members of the MichiganEarth community to collect waters during their summer travels. The response was fantastic. Over 70 people have collected more than 600 water samples from 5 continents and 27 countries. We have measured the δ18O and δD values of these waters in the Poulsen Lab, and next we’ll analyze a subset of these waters to determine their Δ17O values in the IsoPaleoLab. Sample collection is still ongoing and we are recruiting people to collect waters from North American rivers. If you are interested in helping, please contact Phoebe ( or click here for more information about the crowdsource #17Owatermap project.

See the locations sampled so far and where you can help collect water for the project.

Seismometer Measures the Ground Shaking When the Big House Celebratesl
A portable seismometer was installed inside Michigan Stadium for the 2018 U-M football season as part of the Michigan Shake project devised by geologist Ben van der Pluijm. The seismometer measures the ground shaking that occurs when the Big House crowd celebrates U-M touchdowns and other big plays.

Van der Pluijm will use the findings to teach his introductory geology students that all sorts of events, both natural and human-caused, shake the Earth to varying degrees and produce characteristic vibration patterns that a digital seismometer can detect and record.

Read more at Michigan Today.

Photo: Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography.

John Geissman: The Gumshoe and the Great Dying
Alumnus and Camp Davis faculty John Geissman's work in South Afirca's Karoo Basin was featured the fall 2018 issue of LSA Magazine.

Read More.

Fall Preview, 2018
On Oct 25-27 the department hosted 15 prospective students for our Fall Preview program, which is an all expenses paid visit to Ann Arbor which gave the students a chance to meet with faculty, interact with current graduate students, participate in a department admissions workshop and get a sense for campus. These students were selected from 100 applicants for both their academic excellence and their demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the Earth and environmental sciences. This is the 5th year that we are running the program, and it has improved as we get more and more applicants, including those recommended by UM alumni. Three of our first year graduate students attended this program last year, and we're hoping to see some this year's attendees next year in our grad program. We will run the program again next year. Applications are due in mid September.

Photo: Dale Austin.

First Michigan Earth Graduate Student Retreat
In November, we held the first Michigan Earth graduate students' retreat! Twelve students spent a snowy weekend on Lake Michigan to get to know each other better, discuss how the department can improve, and explore the (icy, windy) Third Coast. After driving out on Friday evening, we started the weekend with Saturday morning pancakes and a venture down the bluff. Gale-force winds the night before meant the beach was covered in lake-tumbled rocks - sadly, no Petoskey stones. After an excursion into the little town of Frankfort and exploring the lighthouse, we spent the afternoon and evening watching Michigan v. Rutgers, chatting about the department, and cooking up a stir fry. We headed back on Sunday after a last snowy walk and, of course, snapping a group photo. All in all, it was an excellent weekend and we all look forward to the next retreat!

Photo: Nikolas Midttun.

Alumni News: David Trossman on Ocean Acidification
“Just as climate change isn’t just about polar bears, ocean acidification isn’t just about coral reefs. Our study shows that the effects of human activities have become evident all the way down to the seafloor in many regions, and the resulting increased acidification in these regions may impact our ability to understand Earth’s climate history.”

Read More at Michigan News.

Alumni News: GSA Alumni Reception
Sixty of our alumni and friends gathered for the Department reception at the GSA Annual Meeting in Cincinnati Ohio on Monday, November 5th. It is always a pleasure to catch up with old friends. The meeting was also an opportunity to chat with almost 100 prospective graduate students.

A Reminder: Camp Davis Alumni Reunion, August 16 to 22, 2019
We are finalizing plans for the Camp Davis Alumni Reunion. If you have not already done so, please fill out this form to receive notifications as more information becomes available.

Upcoming Alumni Receptions
Alumni Reception, American Geophysical Union: 12 December, 2018, 6:00-9:00pm
National Press Club Ballroom, 13th Floor, 529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045

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