Earth & Space Sciences Newsletter

From Chair Winglee

Chair Winglee When I think of the 2012 academic year, the word that comes to mind is "exciting". We had an extremely fruitful year, one that kept everyone on their toes helping to advance the activities, research, and teaching associated with our department. Our research efforts continue to make national news—which you can read about on our website—and other stories about present research are listed throughout this newsletter.

We spent much of our time and energy involved in four new faculty searches in the fields of crustal materials, space sciences, applied geosciences, and geodesy. The department has never been involved in so many searches simultaneously, which of course proved to be demanding. A big thank you needs to go out all the faculty, staff and students who participated in the many different aspects of the interview process. Details of the new hires are listed below and the department is thrilled to have new capabilities in these arenas.

This year also saw the launching of the new Masters in ESS: Applied Geosciences (MESSAGe) program. The first cohort of students has been selected and will start their studies in the upcoming academic year. This program offers a much needed avenue for students interested in honing their skills that will have direct applications in the private sector. This program is being developed under the auspices of its director, Prof. Juliet Crider.

The department's alumni, friends, and partners continue to provide significant and much appreciated private support benefiting our faculty and students. Read here to learn about such recent commitments.

If you have not yet made your annual gift please consider supporting the field experience of our students through a gift to the Undergraduate Field Support Fund. This fund helps our students gain invaluable field experience key to their educational and professional growth. To make a gift, please visit the UW Foundation's secure website here.

Many thanks to all the people who helped organize and participated in the department's 2nd Annual Family Day, especially to David Rupp who took the lead to formally organize the event into a huge celebration of departmental activities. Over 200 participants joined us for the 2 1/2 hours of interactive displays and demonstrations. I hope to see more of you at the next event—please stay tuned.

It was also a great year for many of our faculty and students, who were acknowledged for their numerous academic achievements. Congratulations to Joshua Bandfield who was promoted to Research Associate Professor, David Catling to Full Professor, Gerard Roe to Full Professor and Terry Swanson to Principal Lecturer, and to Professor Kate Huntington, Geological Society of America's 2012 Young Scientist Award. Notable student accomplishments are listed below, including two NSF graduate fellowships, two NASA Earth and Space Science graduate fellowships, College of the Environment Dean's Undergraduate Medalist, front cover article in Science and in UW Columns Magazine, and student awards from national societies including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America.

Also, a note of good luck and congratulations are in order to Professors Bernard Hallet and Ron Sletten working with JPL on NASA Curiosity rover, and to Professor David Montgomery on his new book The Rocks Don't Lie.

A few of our talented faculty moved on this year to other enterprises—we are sorry to see them go, but wish them all the best. Associate Professor Bachmann moved to ETH Zurich; Lecturer Brittany Brand will join the Boise State University as an Assistant Professor; Professor Alan Gillespie resigned to become a Research Professor with Quaternary Research Center so he could dedicate more time to research efforts and to the support of the journal Quaternary Research.

We continue in our teaching efforts to emphasize field and laboratory work. Many of these efforts have now found their way onto YouTube and we hope to see more additions in the near future. Finally congratulations to the class of 2012. Please stay in touch.

I hope you all have a great year. I am sure that within the department there will be more many successes and I look forward to sharing these stories with you again in next year’s newsletter.

Robert Winglee


Department of Earth and Space Sciences



Drilling for Waves in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet


The Super Nondestructive Acoustic device for Kryospheric Exploration, "SNAKE" (Named by Erin Pettit and Alessio Gusmeroli, U. Alaska Fairbanks) about to be lowered into the WAIS divide borehole.

ESS Professor Ed Waddington and student Dan Kluskiewicz, along with Penn State Professor Sridhar Anandakrishnan, traveled to the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide this winter to measure sound wave speeds in the ice that surrounds the recently completed WAIS divide ice-core borehole. Their goal was to measure the speeds of waves with decimeter-scale vertical resolution throughout the 3.4-km borehole depth to give high resolution information about the evolution of the ice sheet over the last 100,000 yrs. These wave speeds are a proxy for the associated mechanical properties of ice that control ice flow rates in that vicinity. Preliminary analysis following several successful complete-borehole logs suggests an abrupt event at 3000-m depth which should provide insight into how the system evolves during rapid global change and provide insight into how it might evolved under present conditions.

IsoLab Investigates Climate Change over Thousands of Years


UW Graduate student Peter Neff examines a 50,000 year old Antarctic ice core sample. Neff, who completed his M.S. this year with Eric Steig, was the chief scientific advisor for the sampling of the WAIS Divide core at the National Ice Core Laboratory in Colorado last summer. Peter is now working with New Zealand's Antarctic research program. (Eric Steig Photo)

Stable Isotope Laboratory or IsoLab is working on a new laser-based instrument to measure isotopes in ice  cores to investigate climate change over thousands of years. Eric Steig is a P.I. on the multi-institution WAIS Divide Ice  project, which successfully completed an ice core more than two miles deep through the Antarctic ice sheet earlier this year. This work provides a complementary view of the evolution of WAIS being provided by physical glaciology efforts described above.

Looking for Microearthquakes on Detachment Faults in Death Valley, California

Microquakes researcher Prof. Paul Bodin in the field

Paul Bodin at station "hanf" in April, when he retrieved and replaced the seismic data cards. The seismometer is shallowly buried and connected to the box by a cable. The view is east, across the playa in Death Valley. The western flank of the Black Mountains across the valley exposes the system of normal faults.

Paul Bodin and Darrel Cowan have funding from the NSF Tectonics Program to place a temporary network of up to ten seismometers in the Death Valley National Park. Darrel and his post-docs Trenton Cladouhos and Juli Morgan, and graduate students Eliza Nemser and Nick Hayman, earlier hypothesized that these unusual gently dipping normal faults have been active in the Holocene and are seismogenic—meaning capable of causing earthquakes. A further inspiration for Paul and Darrel's project is an experiment the Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology conducted in the last decade: their temporary network discovered that the Altotiberina detachment fault in the central Apennines is actively slipping and generating microearthquakes. These results, and perhaps ours, will challenge the views, still held by some, that detachment faults are mechanically incapable of slip while gently dipping, and that they are incapable of seismogenic slip.

Microquakes readings

Our three seismometers functioned constantly and perfectly for three months. We recorded the March 20 Oaxaca 7.4 earthquake; vehicles that use the roads within 100m of our sites; and in this one-hour period, a small local earthquake.

Earthquake Early Warning

Paul Bodin John Vidale

Paul Bodin

John Vidale

Who wouldn't like to know beforehand when an earthquake is about to violently shake the ground? A warning of seconds to minutes may soon be possible, thanks to ESS's Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and the United States Geological Survey. As seismometers are distributed more densely and data transmission and analysis become faster, it has become possible to recognize and evaluate earthquakes while the damaging vibrations are still racing toward vulnerable people and infrastructure. In the most favorable case of a magnitude 9 earthquake on the Cascadia coast, 1 to 5 minutes of warning is possible. With the seed of a $2,000,000 grant from the Moore Foundation, the PNSN is laying the groundwork for such an earthquake early warning system. Professors John Vidale and Paul Bodin are leading this effort.

Deep sounding of Mount St Helens

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens.

An ambitious experiment to plumb the depths of the Mount St Helens volcano, led by Professors Ken Creager, Olivier Bachmann, John Vidale, and Heidi Houston, was just funded by NSF. With a team that also includes scientists from Columbia, Oregon State, Rice, and the Cascade Volcano Observatory, the 4-year $3,000,000 effort will combine seismology, geology, and magnetotellurics in the attempt to trace the magma reservoirs and pathways from the surface all the way down to the subducting slab at 100 km depth. Previous efforts have concentrated on the upper crust, just the top 20km, leaving the deeper plumbing in the dark.

Raindrops in Rock: Clues to the Ancient Atmosphere

Along with ESS Faculty Roger Buick and David Catling, ESS Alum Sanjoy Som's doctoral work was published in Nature this past March. This work has quantitatively constrained ancient atmospheric density using the characteristics of raindrop fossils. This work provides near insight into the evolution of Earth's ancient atmosphere. The article can be viewed here. Dr. Som, now at NASA's Ames Research Center, was also interviewed for NPR's All Things Considered last March. The article and audio story are available here.

Sanjoy Som being hooded at 2011 ESS Graduation ceremony

Sanjoy Som being hooded by David Catling at the 2011 ESS Graduation Ceremony.


Faculty Happenings

The Rocks Don't Lie!

The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood Professor David Montgomery's new book "The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood" was be published this year in August. It was just named one of the 10 best science books of Fall 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, which you can see on their website.

Prof. Montgomery also gave a TED talk in Vancouver, B.C. earlier this year. You can watch his talk here.

Young Scientist Making Waves

Kate Huntington

Kate Huntington

Congratulations to Kate Huntington as the recipient of the Geological Society of America's 2012 Young Scientist Award. The award consists of the Donath Medal—awarded in recognition of a young scientist (35 years or younger) for outstanding achievement in contributing to geologic knowledge through original research which marks a major advance in the earth sciences—and a cash prize of $10,000 endowed by Dr. and Mrs. Fred A. Donath. The official presentation of the medal will be made at the GSA Awards Ceremony, November 5th during the 2012 GSA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bruce Nelson Appointed Dean of Research

Bruce Nelson

Bruce Nelson

ESS Professor Bruce Nelson was appointed the Dean of Research for the College of the Environment by Dean Lisa Graumlich, beginning in the 2011-12 academic year. Bruce is working with the College to foster the creation of new and fundamental advances in the sciences by continuing to lead and direct the building of innovative, interdisciplinary research programs within the College's research areas.

Bruce's research areas are impressive, including direction of the Isotope Geochemistry Lab, adjunct appointment in the Department of Oceanography, and membership in the Astrobiology Program. He also leads the ESS department's Undergraduate Honors Program, working closely with our honors students and helping to foster research at the undergraduate level.

Continuing Research from Bernard Evans

Bernard Evans

Bernard Evans

ESS Emeritus Professor Bernard Evans is continuing his research on the petrogenesis of miscellaneous crystalline rocks. Serpentinites have been uppermost in his activities, but he recently finished papers with Olivier Bachmann on the Bishop Tuff and with Darrel Cowan on some seismically disturbed, subduction-zone meta peridotites in South Spain. In September, he will be a Keynote Speaker at the "Serpentine Days" Conference in South France.

Getting the MESSAGe: Applied Geology Masters Program Begins this Fall

Our new Masters in ESS Applied Geosciences (MESSAGe) launches this fall with a dozen students from UW and around the country. The intensive 12-month program is anchored in ESS's strength in the study of Earth surface processes. Students study hillslope and fluvial geomorphology, hydrogeology, engineering geology and GIS, with electives in a range of disciplines across UW's College of the Environment. "Our aim," says MESSAGe program director Juliet Crider, "is to enable the students bring this science into practice."

Juliet Crider

Juliet Crider

A handful of new courses open only to MESSAGe students sets the new program apart from typical non-thesis MS degree programs. Along with seminars in technical communication and professional practice, students will complete two off-campus field courses. The September field course, based at UW's Pack Forest field station on the flanks of Mount Rainier, surveys a variety of geomorphic and geohazards landforms and processes and the tools to document them. The June field course will present students with a number of applied geology challenges to solve.

The MESSAGe program culminates in a Masters internship in the private sector or government agency, overseen by MESSAGe program coordinator Kathy Troost. These internships provide students the opportunity to finish their degree by applying their new skills, gaining relevant experience, and building professional contacts.

Along with Crider and Troost, core MESSAGe faculty include Brian Collins (fluvial geomorphology and applied geomorphology), Alison Duvall (tectonic and hillslope geomorphology), Steven Walters (GIS) and Mike Brown (hydrogeology). Tom Badger, an engineering geologist for the Washington State Department of Transportation, joins us to teach Engineering Geology each spring.

You can learn more about MESSAGe at

ESS Welcomes New Faculty Members

Tom Badger

Tom Badger

Tom Badger is a part-time lecturer for geoengineering who has worked for the Washington State Department of Transportation since 1984 and is currently acting chief engineering geologist dealing with geologic hazards and transportation geotechnics. He has a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s degree in geological engineering, and is licensed in Washington State as an engineering geologist, hydrogeologist, and professional engineer (civil).

Brian Collins

Brian Collins

Dr. Brian Collins is a lecturer for the MESSAGe program and is trained in fluvial (Ph.D.) and hillslope (M.S.) geomorphology. His current research at the UW includes examining linkages between the geomorphology and ecology of rivers, hydrologic change through time and its effects on Puget Sound rivers, and sediment budgets and human-landscape interactions in southwest China. Between his M.S. and Ph.D. Brian worked in the consulting industry on applications of geomorphology to river and watershed restoration, river hazards, and the effects of various land uses on watershed and fluvial processes. For the MESSAGe program Brian will teach Fluvial Geomorphology and a new course in applied fluvial geomorphology. He also teaches an interdisciplinary UW course, Changing Rivers of Puget Sound, and teaches River and Watershed Processes for the UW Stream Restoration Certificate Program.

Alison Duvall

Alison Duvall

Dr. Alison Duvall from the University of Colorado joined the faculty this Fall as an Assistant Professor. Her research includes field, laboratory, and modeling studies of crustal deformation and mountain building over both short and longer timescales, with a particular emphasis on the geomorphic response to tectonic forcing. Previously she as a research fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder as a CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, having earned an MSc degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and a PhD from the University of Michigan, both in geological sciences.

David Schmidt

David Schmidt

Dr. David Schmidt from the University of Oregon is joining the faculty in December as an Associate Professor. His research efforts are in geodesy focusing on on the imaging of crustal deformation using geodetic and seismic data. His primary expertise is the use of satellite radar interferometry in earth science applications. This technique uses reflected radar echoes to measure sub-centimeter surface movements over time periods of weeks to years. His research group is studying a variety of geological processes and natural hazards, including a seismic slip events on strike slip faults and the Cascadia subduction zone, deformation caused by volcanic inflation, and the kinematics of earthflows. He will also contribute to efforts within the PNSN, especially the earthquake early warning system that is currently under development.

Fang-Zhen Teng

Fang-Zhen Teng

Dr. Fang-Zhen Teng from the University of Arkansas is joining the faculty in December as an Associate Professor. His research expertise is in in crustal materials focusing on the composition and evolution of the continental crust, mantle heterogeneity and the origin and evolution of the solar system. To address these questions, he studies both terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials through analyses of non-traditional stable isotopes (e.g., lithium, magnesium and iron). Dr. Teng’s techniques involve both purification of targeted elements through column chromatography in a clean sample preparation laboratory and high-precision isotopic analyses using MC-ICPMS.

Kathy Goetz Troost

Kathy Goetz Troost

Kathy Goetz Troost L.G. has 35 years of experience in applied geosciences and applied research. Her research interests include Quaternary stratigraphy and glaciations in Washington, till deposition and characteristics, paleosols, palynology, and geological hazards. Ms. Troost is completing her PhD on the Marine Isotope Stage 3 glaciation (penultimate) in the Puget Lowland, looking at climate, distribution, and chronology. Her expertise comes from 23 years of experience as a consulting environmental and engineering geologist and 12 years mapping Quaternary deposits and preparing derivative maps. She has authored or co-authored nearly 30 published or in-press geological maps of the Puget Lowland. She is active in professional associations including as the incoming president of the Northwest Geological Society, and co-chair of the upcoming 2013 Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologist's (AEG) annual meeting in Seattle. She has served on the board of directors for AEG, chaired the AEG Washington section, and chaired many committees for other associations. Ms. Troost is the leading expert on the geology of the Puget Lowland and has been invited to lead many field trips, short courses, and lectures.

Steven Walters

Steven Walters

Dr. Steven Walters is a lecturer for geographic information systems (GIS) and is a landscape ecologist, specializing in spatial modeling and analysis across a diverse range of systems and environmental phenomena. His primary research areas include exploring effects of land cover change (particularly through urbanization) on hydrology, water quality and nutrient cycling, and developing tools and strategies for monitoring biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. He has 17 years of experience working with GIS and spatial analysis, and has taught principles and techniques of GIS across numerous disciplines in the environmental and social sciences.


Making a Difference—Private Support

Jon and Carol Avent receive the Barksdale Distinguished Service Award

Jon and Carol have been staunch friends and supporters of our Department and the UW. They have been donors to the UW for a remarkable 36 years. Jon, an alumnus who holds both MS and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences, and Carol have been recognized this year as UW Benefactors, a distinction reserved for some of the University's most generous donors. Through the years they have supported the School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences, but much of their philanthropy has been focused on assisting ESS students. Jon and Carol are passionate about teaching and care deeply about undergraduate students—they believe that ESS offers the very best education for undergraduates in the field of geological sciences. They are especially excited to support field study, as they understand how crucial experiential learning is for ESS students. Through this most recent gift and their past support, they have enabled a plethora of students to participate in field camps. In May, the Department bestowed the Julian D. Barksdale Distinguished Service Award on the Avents for their exceptional contributions to ESS and the University.

Everett and Andrea Paup establish a charitable gift annuity

Through a generous charitable gift annuity, Everett (Pete) and Andrea Paup will eventually establish a discretionary endowment providing the Chair of Department of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) with precious flexible dollars to address strategic priorities and opportunities. Earlier, the Paups made a thoughtful contribution in support of the renovation of Johnson Hall, the home of ESS. We are most grateful for gifts such as these as they represent significant and enduring investments in outstanding academic programs known for producing leaders in a host of environmental fields.

Charitable gift annuities are a very attractive option for securing generous guaranteed and tax-wise income over a lifetime while also making a meaningful future gift to the program of the donor's choice.

ESS Receives Generous Estate Distribution

The Department of Earth and Space Sciences has received a $50,000 distribution from the estate Janet R. Bradley a long-time friend of the department, who passed away in 2011. The bequest will be used to provide scholarships for students with financial need who are studying geological sciences. We are grateful for the donor's generosity and honored to be a part of the philanthropic planning of her and her late husband John S. Bradley (an alumnus of the department).

Celebrating Joe Vance's career at ESS

In an emotive ceremony Emeritus Professor Joe Vance's career was celebrated during the 2012 ESS Awards Ceremony. Prof. John Garver of Union College in Schenectady NY- and former student of Joe lead the ceremony highlighting the profound impact that Prof. Vance had in the career path of many our alumni particularly the ones interested in fission track. Joe and his wife Sara Throckmorton have been active at the department even after Joe's retirement in 1990, and are one of the most generous supporters of our department. With their generosity they have established two endowments at ESS:

In 2000, the Joseph A. Vance Endowed Fellowship in Geological Sciences. Which supports graduate students who's research includes a significant component in field geology.

Later in 2006, the Joseph A. Vance Endowed Student Support Fund to support student activities like summer field courses, travel costs to conferences or to field sites.

Both of these endowments have made significant and long lasting impacts on our student's educational experience.


Student Life

Congratulations to the Class of 2012! We wish you every success and happiness on your continuing journey, and we are so proud of you!

2012 ESS Undergraduates graduates

2012 Graduating ESS Undergraduate Students

2012 ESS Masters graduates

2012 Graduating ESS Masters of Sciences

2012 ESS PhDs graduates

2012 Graduating Doctors of Philosophy

See all the graduation photos here.

Record ESS Graduation Ceremony

For the first time in recent history, our graduation ceremony was not able to be held in our beloved Johnson Hall, due to a record number of graduates. So we relied upon the hospitality of our neighbors in Bagley Hall, the Chemistry Department. Fortunately, at the last moment, they had a lecture hall large enough to accommodate our participating graduates and their myriad friends and family who came to celebrate their accomplishments.

Please see all graduation pictures here.

And a video of our ceremony here.

ESS Field Camp 2011

With the phenomenal growth we are experiencing in our undergraduate program, 2011 marked the last year that we offered only one section of our ESS 400: Field Geology course! This six-week course in Dillon, Montana, which can be described as a kind of enjoyable geologic boot camp, gives students the comprehensive field experience and skills they need to move on in their academic and career in our disciplines.

Beginning in Summer 2012, we will offer two sections of our summer field course—the traditional six week program, and a new program which includes six weeks in Dillon collecting geologic data, and six weeks analyzing the data back in Seattle using computer technology.

2011 ESS Fieldcamp

ESS GeoClub Storms Hawaii for Spring Break 2012

After a big effort at fund-raising by GeoClub, and with support from the ESS field-trip fund, twelve students headed for a Big-Island Hawaii spring-break field trip led by Ph.D. student (now Dr.!) Theresa Kayzar and Professor Jody Bourgeois. Students prepared for the trip by becoming familiar with different topics ranging from lava flows to Hawaiian culture and biology. Of course Kilauea was a focus of the trip, but we also examined effects of the 2011 tsunami on the Kona coast, toured the City of Refuge historical park, studied the geomorphology of the steep and deep Waipio Valley, and visited old cinder cones, ghost forests, green-sand (olivine) beaches, lava tubes and petroglyphs. The trip culminated in enthusiastic guided tours by several staff of the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory, including ESS Affiliate Professor Don Swanson and UW ESS Ph.D. Wes Thelen. While we could only view from a distance the active lava lake, Pu`u `O`o (still exciting!) we all were thrilled to participate in a long hike, led generously by Michael Poland of HVO, across recently cooled, glassy lava flows till we arrived at an active, glowing-hot flow!

Geoclub in Hawaii at the volcano observatory

Led by (ESS Affiliate Professor) Don Swanson from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, student solve some puzzles on a Kilauea lava flow.

Geoclub in Hawaii at the Kilauea lava field

UW ESS and Central Washington students on a joint trip to the active lava field below Kilauea.

Notable ESS Student Accomplishments

Katy Atakturk

Katy Atakturk in the field.

ESS Undergraduate, Katy Atakturk, was awarded the College of the Environment Undergraduate Dean's Medal. This award is granted to students who have shown outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to leadership and service. Katy's nominators wrote glowing recommendations, citing her curiosity and drive as a student and researcher, her engagement as a teaching assistant, and her committed involvement with GeoClub and the Seattle Animal Shelter. Every few years a student comes along whose proactive engagement and leadership makes the department, University, and community a better place for all, and Katy is that student!

Jill Schleicher

Jill Schleicher conducting a microscope demonstration at ESS Family Day.

ESS Graduate Student, Jill Schleicher, received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship this year to fund her work in the Galapagos Islands. She is studying lava flows of the Galapagos to understand the dynamics of the magmatic mush sourcing these volcanoes. She will be traveling to the islands this July to conduct field work and collect samples of the flows.

Perry Spector

Perry Spector

ESS Graduate Student, Perry Spector, received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship this year to fund his work on how the Antarctic Ice Sheet has changed over the past few million years. Prior to the last glacial period we have very few constraints on the size and thickness of Antarctic ice. Over the past two years we've collected bedrock samples from the Transantarctic Mountains, and now in our lab, I'm measuring the concentration of certain cosmogenic nuclides in each sample. These cosmogenic nuclides accumulate in bedrock when it's exposed above the ice during interglacial periods, and measuring the concentrations will allow us to place constraints on the history of ice thickness changes in Antarctica.

Kelly Hillbun

Kelly Hillbun

ESS Graduate Student, Kelly Hillbun, who completed all her analyses through the Isotope Lab in ESS, took first place in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Student Oral Awards Competition for her poster and presentation "Quantitative Characterization of Modern Carbnate Platforms to Improve Geologic Modeling."

Cover of Science Magazine, Vol. 336

ESS Graduate Student, Twila Moon, was recently published with Ian Joughin of the Applied Physics Laboratory in Science: Moon, T., I. Joughin, B. Smith, and I. Howat (2012). 21st-century evolution of Greenland outlet glacier velocities, Science, vol. 336 (6081). They were also featured on NPR's All Things Considered in July. You can read the article here.

Joshua Carmichael

Joshua Carmichael

ESS Graduate Student, Joshua Carmichael, has recently published a paper with ESS Professor Bernard Hallet and others in the Journal of Geophyiscal Research: Carmichael, J. D., E. C. Pettit, M. Hoffman, A. Fountain, and B. Hallet (2012), Seismic multiplet response triggered by melt at Blood Falls, Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, J. Geophys. Res., 117, F03004, doi:10.1029/2011JF002221.

Jonathan Bapst Megan Smith

Jonathan Bapst

Megan Smith

ESS Graduate Student Megan Smith and Jonathan Bapst were selected for the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship-Planetary Sciences. Meg was selected on her proposal "Understanding the Second Rise of Oxygen through Biogeochemical Modeling" and Jon was selected on his proposal "Laboratory and Theoretical Investigations into the Long-term Behavior of Martian Ground Ice."

ESS Graduate Student, Charles Plummer, was recently featured in UW Columns Magazine. Charles was also elected President by his peers all over campus for the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.

Charles Plummer as featured in Columns Magazine

ESS Graduate Student and GPSS President Charles Plummer featured in Columns Magazine.

ESS Graduate Student, Danika Globokar, has been selected for the 2012 Arthur D. Howard Research Award on behalf of the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America. She will be presented with the award at the GSA convention in Charlotte, NC in November 2012.

New Microscope Brings New Opportunities in ESS Department

The Earth and Space Science (ESS) department has recently acquired a cold-cathode cathodoluminescence (CL) microscope and accessory equipment, partially through the Student Technology Fee (STF). The STF is a fund supported by student fee that provides for technology and equipment for use primarily by the student body. In previous years the STF fund has provided new computers, cameras, GPS equipment, and similar items for the ESS department graduate and undergraduate students. This year several graduate students in ESS, including Tom Tobin, Bret Buskirk and Sarah Bergman, spearheaded an effort to make a larger purchase of a computerized camera attachment to a previously acquired cold-cathode CL microscope. This microscope was purchased through departmental and faculty grants, but was mostly ineffective as a research tool without an attached camera. Prior to acquiring this equipment, the closest similar facilities were in Davis, CA or Boulder, CO. This facility is the only one of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, opening research opportunities for students, and potentially making the department a destination for other outside researchers.

CL Microscope image vs optical microscope

The CL microscope is used in multiple fields within geology, including paleontology and petrology, as well as carbonate, marine, petroleum and structural geology. Through electron excitation, a researcher is able to see structure and detail that is invisible via traditional optical microscopy, as different chemical constituents, such as iron and manganese, luminesce different colors. For example different carbonate crystal zones can be seen due to their differing cations in the image below, which compares the same sample under CL and optical views. The camera is particularly important for research, as without it, these images could never be compared side by side. Though funding has been tight within the university, the development and construction of this microscope facility demonstrates that, through coordinating efforts of the department, faculty and graduate students, research can continue and even improve in the ESS department.

Not 99 Red, but 1 White Balloon

In Spring quarter 2012, Professor Robert Holzworth lead his students in ESS 205: Access to Space to design and launch a balloon to help them investigate the outer reaches of the atmosphere. Erinn McGraw, one of the students in the course, created a video of the balloon launch, which can be seen here.

Students preparing for balloon launch

Students in ESS 205 preparing for the balloon launch.

ESS Rockets Fly High Over Nevada Again!

Each year, ESS Professor and Chair Robert Winglee leads students in his ESS 472: Rockets and Instrumentation class to Blackrock, Nevada. Students represented from majors within and outside of ESS spend their quarter building rockets, which are launched with great enthusiasm in Nevada. This year the rocket students were featured in UW Today. You can also see a video of the rocket launch here.

Students posing as a group during rocket launching trip

Budding Rocket Scientists in Nevada.

Exploring the Lunar Crust

On July 12 and 16, 2012 Professor Stewart McCallum led field trips to the Stillwater Complex, Montana for a group of NASA scientists who were attending a conference in Bozeman, MT on the "Origin of the Lunar Highlands Crust". The group was photographed in front of the classic outcrop of igneous layering characterized by inch scale doublet layers. McCallum is in white cap in back row. The Stillwater Complex has long been considered an excellent analog for the lunar crust.

Students in front of igneous rock


Department Happenings

2nd Annual ESS Family Day!

Family Day invitation

On May, ESS hosted its 2nd annual Family Day. Family day was started in 2011 as the brain child of ESS staff, David Rupp. This year we expanded on last year's event and more than 300 of our friends and community members stopped by to explore our different exhibits. Our science fair atmosphere included about 13 exhibits—allowing families to explore soils, temperature extremes, mars and the moon, rockets, rocks and minerals, lightening, and earthquakes—not to mention tasting ice cream made with liquid nitrogen right before your eyes, and taking a spin on the rock wheel, hosted by our friends from the North Seattle Lapidary and Mineral Club!

Nathan Peters answering questions at Family Day

ESS Graduate Student Nathan Peters answering questions at ESS Family Day.

We ended the day by launching water rockets to demonstrate the conversion from potential to kinetic energy, and by simulating a volcano with a Cryo-Volcano to demonstrate the eruptive behavior of volcanos. You can watch a video of the Cryo-Volcano here.

A huge "thank you" goes out to all our volunteers, exhibitors, and to everyone who came to join us at Family Day 2012!

Husky Fest 2012: Celebrating 150 Years of UW

In April, ESS joined the College of the Environment and the UW campus community to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University of Washington in a 3-day celebration highlighting the amazing research, work, and communities of UW. ESS faculty, staff, and students came together to display our Solar Death Ray, demonstrate Rocket Cars, and provide other demonstrations and exhibits for the community.

Rocket Car at Husky Fest

ESS Undergraduate Taryn Black demonstrating Rocket Cars

Johnson Courtyard gets a Facelift

Between September 2009 and April 2012, we here in Johnson Hall have been awaiting new neighbors as we watched the construction of the Molecular Engineering Building progress. Beginning with the demolition of the then existing barn, and ending with a lovely new courtyard between Johnson Hall, the Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysics Building, and the new Molecular Engineering building, we're happy that the construction is finished! Welcome to our new neighbors!

Demolition of courtyard in 2009

Demolition of the courtyard and the building area in 2009.

Our new neighbors in MOL E

Our new neighbors—the Molecular Engineering Building.

Johnson Hall, ATG Building, and our new courtyard

Johnson Hall, the ATG Building, and our new courtyard area.