The Heiland Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines, is given each week by a distinguished speaker from academia, industry, or government on a topic pertinent to the geosciences. The lecture series is a public event open to all members of the Mines community and beyond.

Unless otherwise noted, lectures take place 4 p.m. Wednesdays in Coolbaugh Hall (CO) 209.


January 10, 2018

“Scalable seismic monitoring with fiber optics beneath our feet”

Eileen Martin, Ph.D. Candidate, Geophysics Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Continuously recording, dense seismic arrays could help us better understand earthquake and landslide hazards, permafrost thaw, our hydrological cycle, and near surface changes at energy production sites. But such arrays have typically been expensive to maintain long-term and are logistically difficult to install in populated areas. We combine two methods to make continuous subsurface monitoring significantly cheaper: estimating wave equation Green’s functions from random vibration recordings in the area of interest, and measuring vibrations as meter-scale strain rate profiles along fiber optic cables. In addition, the continuously recorded data from fiber optics can be used to analyze ground motion during earthquakes. 

These methods can make continuous high-resolution subsurface imaging a possibility where it was previously impossible, but there are several challenges I will address: (i) algorithms must be modified for real-time analysis of streaming data from many sensors, (ii) the theory for Green’s function estimation must be altered to account for new sensors measuring tensor strain rates as opposed to particle velocity vectors or pressure scalars, and (iii) existing Green’s function estimation theory assumes independent, uncorrelated vibration sources (which is far from the reality of urban and infrastructure noise sources). These issues will be shown in the context of two data sets: a buried fiber array near a road in Alaska for monitoring permafrost thaw, and a fiber network in existing telecom conduits under the Stanford campus for earthquake hazard analysis. The fundamental issues behind working with noisy, streaming data for weak signal detection, imaging and inverse problems are common to a wide range of Earth science problems.

January 17, 2018

 “Advanced imaging for practitioners”

Dr. William W. Symes, Rice University, Houston, TX

Seismic migration has been a core geophysical technology for more than 50 years and continues to evolve in its capacity to reveal detailed quantitative information about the sedimentary earth. Integration of ever more accurate and complete seismic wave physics, more precise numerical methods, and rapidly improving computer hardware and software environments have made formerly “advanced” methods such as prestack reverse time migration (RTM) relatively routine.

This lecture will discuss two variants of RTM aimed at enhancing the significance of image amplitudes. Both true amplitude migration and least squares migration (LSM) are being actively researched; singly and in combination, they have many applications, some surprising. I will describe a number of these applications and illustrate them using synthetic and field data examples.

January 24, 2018

“Apprenticeship programs to foster student’s professional development”

Dr. Hendratta Ali, Associate Professor of Geosciences (Petroleum Geology)

Geoscience related disciplines serve interests in various applied fields and provide unique opportunities for learning in a variety of settings including; classroom, laboratory, outdoors, and internships. However, challenges persist in our ability to engage incoming students whose first encounter with geosciences and related fields often occur in college. Few students have experience with, or the opportunity to engage with apprenticeships. Unlike other learning opportunities, apprenticeships, take students out of the classroom into a professional environment early in a student’s tenure. Industry supported geosciences apprenticeship programs (GAP) offer the possibility to inspire and foster development early in students.

GAP is highly successful for students, companies/organizations (supervisor/mentor), and academic departments/programs. For a student, GAP enhances the academic experience, promotes retention, and increases degree attainment. Sponsors grow a larger pool of qualified applicants who are ready to fill high-skilled positons. GAP benefits academic departments with information related to local and general industry trends, the needs and expectations of potential employers. GAP aids in curriculum development/enhancement, as students and mentor surveys provide valuable information that can be leveraged to improve curricula and help departments address critical skills needed in the work place. Ultimately, with GAP graduates at all levels are better prepared to meet the demands of industry or further education.

This presentation will describe best practices, stakeholder (faculty, student, professional supervisor/mentor) roles and summarize our experience implementing the apprenticeship program at FHSU. It will end with examples of the benefits of apprenticeships in learning, research and professional development.

January 31, 2018

“New Frontiers of Planetary Seismology”

Dr. Philippe Lognonné, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Université Paris Diderot-Sorbonne Paris Cité, France

About 45 years ago seismology started its escape from Earth, with not only the first successful installation of a seismometer on the Moon by the Apollo missions but also with the first observations of seismic waves in the ionosphere, 250 km or more above Earth surface.
Our journey to today’s research at these frontiers of seismology will start with the Moon and the 40 years old Apollo data and will then move to Mars and finally Venus or Europa, both targets of concept studies for the 2020-2030.
We first present the most recent results obtained in the re-processing of the Apollo data since 2000: re-estimation of the lunar crustal thickness, discovery of the Lunar core reflected seismic waves, characterization of the dynamics of the deep moon quake and impacts.
We then move to Mars, where data will wait for the launch in May 2018 of the NASA InSight mission, which will carry to the Martian surface a 3 axis Very Broad Band and a 3 axis Short Period seismometer. We present the scientific perspectives of the mission and the technical challenges associated to the robotic installation of VBB instruments in an hostile and windy environment.
We then conclude with possible future missions in planetary seismology, which concepts are presently worked by the international Planetary seismology. These might either enable the seismic discovery of new bodies, like Euopa, one of the icy moon of Jupiter with an underground ocean, Venus, with remote sensing perspectives based on airglow observations, asteroides or might lead to the deployment of a new seismic network on the Moon.

February 14, 2018

“What can the data science revolution do for geoscience?”

Dr. Andrew Valentine, Australian National University

The modern world is built on machine learning and data science: an explosion of research activity has resulted in mathematical tools that underpin financial trading, enable self-driving cars, and help you select films on Netflix. Supporting this is a wealth of innovative research within the fields of statistics and computer science. How can these ideas benefit geoscience?

In this talk I will highlight a variety of areas where ideas borrowed from data science have enabled something fundamentally new—from data processing through to earthquake early warning. Geoscience is data-rich, but we often cannot directly observe the systems we care about: we must work with incomplete, sometimes contradictory measurements made at the Earth’s surface and at the present time. The tools of machine learning are designed to help untangle this kind of puzzle, and will allow new insights into the workings of our planet.

February 21, 2018

“Earth’s Rock and Roll: Understanding rotational ground motions”

Dr. Heiner Igel, Professor of Seismology, Department of Earth Sciences, Ludwig-Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

When the ground shakes from earthquakes, the oceans, or the atmosphere, it not only translates (up-down, sideways), but also undergoes rotational motions. To fully characterize seismic sources and wave fields theoreticians have insisted for decades that these motions should also be measured. However, this was hampered by the substantial technical difficulties in observing rotational motions with the necessary sensitivity. This implies that the observation of the complete ground motion is still an unsolved problem. Based on pilot studies using ring laser technology we built the first-ever large 4-component ring laser system that measures (combined with a broadband seismometer) the complete 6C ground motions. The sensitivity is such that even ocean generated noise and free oscillations can be observed. In addition we initiated the construction of the first 6C portable broadband rotation sensor. We provide answer to the question why it might be very useful to observe the complete motions, what the impact is on seismic inverse problems, why there are interesting applications for ocean bottom seismometry and earthquake engineering.

February 28, 2018

“The 3-D Magnetotelluric Array Revolution – Insights into the role of hydrous and magmatic fluids in continental evolution and natural hazards at convergent margins, along hotspot traces, at the passive margin and in the continental interior”

Dr. Adam Schultz, Professor of Geophysics, Oregon State University & Chief Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Substantial advances in 3-D inversion of electromagnetic induction data over the past decade-and-a-half, coupled with sustained support for large-scale 3-D magnetotelluric (MT) array data acquisition efforts have produced a remarkable legacy of MT data and derived data products, and of an emerging canon of 3-D views of crust and mantle electrical conductivity structure. For the past thirteen years, Oregon State University has been the lead institution for the NSF EarthScope MT Program, responsible for acquiring data from approximately 1000 long-period MT stations covering (to-date) on a 70-km interstation grid spanning more than 60% of the territory of the Conterminous US. Also under NSF EarthScope, MARGINS/GEOPRISMS and US Department of Energy Support, OSU and its collaborators have acquired high-resolution, targeted MT array data along the Cascadia margin (both onshore and offshore), in the southern Washington Cascades volcanic arc, at Yellowstone supervolcano, and a 4-D dataset including MT data from an enhanced geothermal stimulation effort at Newberry volcano in central Oregon. We have also acquired a unique, combined MT-ionospheric data set from more than two months of synchronous observations over a wide area in the interior of Alaska. In today’s Heiland Lecture, key insights into the role of fluids in the evolution of each of these differing tectonic settings will be presented, drawn from 3-D inverse models produced by researchers from various institutions that are involved in each of these projects. The serendipitous discovery that knowledge of the 3-D electrical structure of the crust and mantle plays an important role in assessing the vulnerability of the electric power grid to the effects of space weather and to risks from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) events will also be introduced.

March 7, 2018

“Conservation of Information in Proteins, Software, Music, Texts, the Universe and Chocolate boxes”

Dr. Les Hatton, Emeritus Professor of Forensic Software Engineering at Kingston University

Charles Darwin, jointly with Alfred Russell Wallace, introduced their theory of Natural Selection at the Linnean Society on 1st July 1858.  Today, it defines evolutionary thought through and beyond the discovery of the double helix in 1953 and the development of modern genetics.  However, there are features of life, for example the recently-discovered remarkable constancy of average protein length, the existence of surprisingly long proteins and why protein length distributions are identical to distributions of computer functions, which it does not explain.  Some hints come from the physical sciences, thanks to a remarkable theorem by Emmy Noether in 1918, whereby for the first time we understood that the grand Conservation principles of the universe such as Conservation of Energy, Linear Momentum, Angular Momentum and so on, were actually the result of symmetries.

In this talk, using concepts from Information Theory, Statistical Mechanics and with the singular help of a box of chocolates, we will demonstrate that large assemblies of discrete pieces at any scale, be they proteins (made from amino acids), pieces of software (made from textual symbols), words in books, letters in words, the Bach chorales (made from musical notes) or the distribution of elements in the known universe, have important organising principles in common deriving from a previously unsuspected Conservation principle which controls these phenomena.

In short, all systems built from discrete pieces are guided by the Conservation of Hartley-Shannon Information, and a corresponding symmetry, scale.  Finally, we will speculate on the incidence of post-translational modification of amino acids in proteins and (wildly) speculate on the nature of dark material in the universe before a grand finale where we reveal that Elvis is hiding in a yeast.

March 14, 2018

“The digital model revolution in petroleum geophysics”

Dr. Bill Abriel, Orinda Geophysical, SEG Past President

This presentation is intended to illustrate, by example, how digital earth models have revolutionized the practice of applied geophysics in petroleum management and predicts the road ahead for geophysicists. The talk tracks the evolution and future of the use of the necessary conceptual, mathematical and digital subsurface models. Examples of past, current and future model paradigms are illustrated for defining structure, stratigraphy, fluid dynamics and geomechanics.
Numerical models of the subsurface are used extensively for model-based processing, property prediction and subsurface simulation. They are foundational in their ability to communicate concepts, illustrate results, and simulate the subsurface physics to match field observations. The ability to capture realistic geology and simulate the geophysical response has advanced significantly in the past ten years, and will be illustrated by many examples. Models have always been at the core of the subsurface interpretation and analysis process, but with easier, better and faster numerical representations they now play an even greater role and are likely to become the primary method for managing the subsurface.

March 21, 2018

April 11, 2018

Heiland Lecture, James Clark

April 18, 2018

Heiland Lecture Susan Hubbard

April 25, 2018


Joana Perez
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Ebru Bozdag

The Heiland Lectures are made possible thanks to our generous industry sponsors.

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August 29, 2018

Dr. V. J. S. (“Tien”) Grauch, USGS

September 5, 2018

Dr. Ed Biegert, Shell

September 12, 2018

Dr. Guust Nolet, Nice/Princeton

September 19, 2018

Dr. Ramses Meza, BHP Petroleum | Mexico Regional Exploration

September 26, 2018

Dr. Tiziana Vanorio, Stanford University

October 3, 2018
October 10, 2018
October 24, 2018

Dr. Mark Panning,

October 31, 2018
November 7, 2018

*on HOLD*

November 14, 2018
November 28, 2018
December 5, 2018


January 16, 2019
January 23, 2019
January 30, 2019
February 6, 2019
February 13, 2019
February 20, 2019
February 27, 2019
March 6, 2019
March 13, 2019
March 20, 2019
April 10, 2019
April 17, 2019
April 24, 2019