The Carl Heiland Lecture Series takes place on Wednesdays at 4:00 PM during the fall and spring semesters.  Each week, we are joined 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.

This fall, some Heiland lectures will be offered in person on campus in CTLM 102 and others will only be offered virtually via Zoom. A Zoom link will be available for all presentations so that you can attend from wherever you are in the world.  Locations are indicated in the Fall 2021 schedule below. 

Fall 2021 Schedule

September 1, 2021

Geological Knowledge Discovery using Machine Augmented Intelligence

Dr. Eun-Jung Holden 
School of Earth Sciences, The University of Western Australia

Virtual presentation


Geological interpretation is a complex task where an interpreter’s bias plays an important role.  As a result, interpretation outcomes are variable and uncertain; nevertheless, these outcomes form the basis of decisions with significant environmental, social and financial implications.  With the increasing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in our daily lives such as for information search, online shopping, and virtual assistant AI, the geoscience domain has also been active in the uptake of machine learning and AI to assist in interpreting geology from data.

This talk presents innovative machine-assisted technologies that improve the efficiency and the robustness of geological interpretation of different types of geodata used in the resource industry.   A number of applications of machine learning were developed in collaboration with the mining industry for the analysis and integration of multi-modal drill hole data.  These applications integrate the algorithms and workflows to assist human decisions.  The approach is to provide end users the control of the algorithmic process as much as possible and to enable a seamless integration of algorithms in the interpreter’s workflow using interactive visualisation.  This talk also presents on-going AI research that extracts geological insights from documents using machine reading of text.  It applies advanced text mining methods and constructs a graph based knowledge base called a knowledge graph to store and access geological information.  Case studies on different mineral deposits demonstrate the effectiveness of the methods for rapidly and robustly transforming text data into structured information that faithfully represents the contents of the source reports.

Speaker bio

Professor Holden received her BSc, MSc and PhD in computer science from the University of Western Australia (UWA).  Her postgraduate and postdoctoral research focused on developing visualisation, automated image analysis and machine learning techniques for hand gesture recognition.  Then in 2006, she made a transition to geoscience and currently leads the Geodata Algorithms Team at UWA.  The team effectively spans the boundaries of computational science and geoscience and links academia and industry.  The team’s research resulted in the commercialisation of three software products, namely CET Grid Analysis and CET Porphyry Detection extensions for Oasis Monaj, and televiewer image analysis methods in the Image & Structure Interpretation workspace for ALT’s WellCAD.  These products have had significant uptake by the resource industry globally.   Recently, their research has resulted in two industry driven patent applications on machine assisted drillhole data interpretation methods.  Professor Holden leads a major industry funded research engagement named the UWA-Rio Tinto Iron Ore Data Fusion Projects.  Her team won the UWA Vice Chancellor Award in Impact and Innovation in 2015 and she was a winner of the Women in Technology in WA (WiTWA) Tech [+] 20 Awards in 2019.

To receive the Zoom link for this presentation contact Ge Jin at or Noelle Vance at



September 8, 2021

Development of an Ice Forecast System for Navigational Support and Emergency Response

Eric Anderson
Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

In person: CTLM 102


Decreasing trends in seasonal ice duration and concentration have a range of impacts on the ecosystem and coastal communities. In response to changes in ice conditions, commercial shipping is looking to expand its season in several areas around the world, including along the Alaskan coast, the Arctic Sea, and in the Great Lakes. Consequently, this leads to an increase in Coast Guard operations including search and rescue, spill response, and ice-cutting for safe navigation. For each of these cases, accurate information on weather, sea, and ice conditions is critical to protect life and property. However, often forecasts for ice conditions are not available or have limited forecast skill. In the Great Lakes, an operational ice forecast system currently does not exist; thus, commercial shippers and the Coast Guard must rely on satellite-based information or shipping reports, which can be several hours or days out of date. For marginal ice zones or under dynamic conditions, these observations may not reflect current or near-future conditions and can lead to ships beset in ice, contaminant spills, or loss of life. We have developed a coupled hydrodynamic and ice forecast system for the Great Lakes that provides short-term predictions of ice concentration, thickness, and other parameters. This system relies on short-range weather forecasts to drive computer models of the lakes based on the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) and the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE). Recent research has shown that inclusion of overwater precipitation and formulation of landfast ice dynamics can improve ice prediction and provide commercial, recreational, and operational stakeholders with the information needed to avoid catastrophe.

Speaker bio

Dr. Eric J. Anderson (BS, PhD in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University) recently joined the Colorado School of Mines as an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Before joining Mines, Dr. Anderson spent fourteen years at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he and his team studied physical oceanographic and meteorological processes to support development of numerical forecast models for NOAA operations. For this work, he has received three Department of Commerce Bronze Medals, and in 2019, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

A Zoom link will also be available for this presentation. To receive the link contact Ge Jin at or Noelle Vance at


September 15, 2021

Radar Modelling of Asteroid Bennu and the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission

Michael Nolan
OSIRIS-REx Science Team Chief
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ

In person: CTLM 102


Arecibo and Goldstone radar imaging of asteroid 101955 Bennu produced predictions about the shape and surface properties used in planning the OSIRIS-REx sample return mission. I will compare the observed properties of Bennu with predictions and discuss the implications for interpretation of other radar-observed asteroids.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Michael Nolan is a Research Professor at the University of Arizona and has been the Science Team Chief for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission since 2015. For the 20 years preceding that, he was a staff member at the Arecibo Observatory working with the Planetary Radar, primarily in the study of asteroids and comets. He was observatory director from 2008 to 2011.

A Zoom link will also be available for this presentation. To receive the link contact Ge Jin at or Noelle Vance at

September 22, 2021

Watching Rocks Recover: Monitoring Velocity Changes During Wave Propagation

Dr. Alison Malcolm
Associate Professor of Geophysics, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Virtual Presentation


When there is a large earthquake, or any large wave passing through a rock, it subtley changes the velocity of the rock.  This results in a delay in the traveltime of other waves traveling through the rock simultaneously.  These changes in traveltime are highly sensitive to the small-scale properties of the rock.  I will show how we monitor these property changes with lab experiments and discuss some of the many factors that influence these changes.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Alison Malcolm is an associate professor of Geophysics at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).  She studies wave propagation, with particular interest in uncertainty quantification for seismic imaging as well as nonlinear elasticity.  She enjoys lab work as well as computation, and she is particularly excited to work with young scientists to solve problems related to CO2 sequestration and to improve our physical understanding of waves and how they interact with materials and other waves.  Before joining the faculty at MUN, she spent six years as an assistant professor at MIT.  She obtained her PhD from the Center for Wave Phenomena at the Colorado School of Mines in 2005 and her BSc from the University of British Columbia in 2000. When she is not in the office or lab, she is outside with her family and friends.

Use the following Zoom link to view this presentation:

If you have questions, please contact Ge Jin at or Noelle Vance at

September 29, 2021

No Heiland lecture scheduled due to the SEG conference being held in Denver.

October 6, 2021


October 13, 2021

Geophysical Sustainability Atlas

Maria Angela Capello



October 20, 2021

Earle Wilson


October 27, 2021

Roelof Snieder
Professor of Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines


November 3, 2021

Frederik J. Simons
Princeton University


November 10, 2021

Mark Haynes


November 17, 2021

John Bradford
Professor of Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines

November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving Break – No Heiland lecture scheduled. 

December 1, 2021
Geophysical insights into Paleoproterozoic tectonics in the southern Superior Province, Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Dr. Benjamin Drenth
Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey


The southern part of the Archean Superior Province in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was a nexus for key Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic tectonic events involved in the assembly and subsequent rifting of supercraton Superia, followed by complex orogenic processes related to the assembly of Laurentia. Interpretations of the region’s tectonomagmatic history have historically been hampered by extensive Pleistocene glacial and Paleozoic sedimentary cover and a lack of appropriate geophysical data. New aeromagnetic and gravity data provide a critical means of mapping and interpreting the complex geological framework through cover, allowing development of significantly richer geographical and process-based perspectives on all these tectonic events. This presentation will focus on recent USGS research along the southern margin of the Superior Province, as well as related topics of interest in the broader region. A major point of emphasis will be the contributions of modern potential field data to understanding the tectonomagmatic evolution of this important region.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Ben Drenth is a Research Geophysicist in the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center in Denver, Colorado. His research is focused on the interpretation of gravity and magnetic geophysical data, in conjunction with other types of geophysical data and geologic information, to address geologic framework problems at a variety of scales. Ben earned a BS in geological engineering from Michigan Technological University, a MS in geophysics from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a PhD in geophysics from the University of Oklahoma.


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