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.
We are pleased to announce that the Heiland Lecture will be continue to be available remotely this spring, both for the safety of our speakers and attendees, and to enable you to see each lecture from wherever you are in the world. The Spring 2021 schedule is given below–check back with us as we add abstracts and relevant links.
Spring 2021 Schedule
January 13, 2021
No Lecture Scheduled
January 20, 2021
Good Geoscience in Dire Places: Searching for Water in Humanitarian Crises
2020-2021 CSEG Distinguished Lecturer
Dr. Paul Bauman
CSEG Distinguished Lecturer
The number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), worldwide, is about 80 million. Most refugees are fleeing water-stressed and conflict-torn countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Generally, the host countries for refugee populations are also arid or semi-arid, such as Kenya, Chad, and Jordan. In the marginal landscapes where refugee camps are usually sited, groundwater is often the only practical source of water for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. A lack of access to adequate water supplies is directly tied to increasing occurrences of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, trachoma, and other diseases. Today, with Covid-19 outbreaks already occurring in overcrowded refugee camps, improving hygiene is critical. A well-targeted geophysical exploration program can make the difference between a successful water supply program and one doomed to failure.
In this talk, I lead you on the geophysical search and then the discovery of water in a few of the refugee camps and conflict zones in East Africa. In each of these settings, the cause of human displacement is distinct, the geology and hydrogeology vary, the landscapes are strikingly different, but the need for water is equally desperate.
In one of the largest refugee camps in the world, in the Turkana desert of Kenya, seismic and resistivity surveys helped to increase the water supply to the camp and, simultaneously, a previously unrecognized public health crisis was addressed. In Northern Uganda, in the devastation left behind by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, village water supplies were restored following geophysical surveys and hydrochemical testing. More importantly, the local Ugandan crews were trained to carry on with this technical work. Finally, in the midst of a civil war in the world’s newest country, South Sudan, an emergency mission relying on resistivity surveys took advantage of a cessation of hostilities to find water in villages stranded by the conflict.
Water for Rohingya refugees, an escape tunnel from a Nazi death camp, Pablo Escobar’s billions of buried drug money, or Holocaust mass burials, Paul Bauman has searched for all of these and much more. Paul is the founding Technical Director of the Near Surface Geophysics group of Advisian, which is based in Calgary, but has undertaken work on all seven continents. Paul has more than 35 years of geophysical exploration experience in the water resources, environmental, engineering, oil and gas, mining, and humanitarian and archaeology sectors. He has a BScE in Geological Engineering and a minor in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, and an MSc in Hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo. Since the early 1990’s, Paul has directed water exploration programs in some of the most water-stressed locations on the planet including Yemen, post-tsunami Aceh, and refugee camps and conflict-affected areas in East Africa and Bangladesh. Some of these geophysical projects have been featured in movies and television documentaries by National Geographic, NOVA, the Discovery Network, and the History Channel.
January 27, 2021
Studying the behavior Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) using Deep Underground Laboratories
Dr. Hansruedi Maurer
DUGLab, Department of Earth Sciences
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are an attractive option for generating electricity and for storing and retrieving heat. However, deep commercial EGS plants were so far rarely successful. The main reason for these failures is the lack of understanding of the physical processes associated with the creation and maintenance of EGS reservoirs and the generation of induced seismicity. Deep Underground Laboratories (DUGLabs) offer powerful and exciting means to address some of these issues. In DUGLabs, deep-seated existing infrastructure is employed. A key feature is their large overburden, resulting in stress conditions mimicking those of a realistic EGS. Consequently, “in-situ” studies of critical processes, such as stimulation of geothermal reservoirs and circulation of fluids, can be performed. DUGLabs allow deploying dense 3D sensor networks, with which these processes can be monitored in unprecedented detail. I will present results of a small-scale (tens of meters) experiment that we performed recently at the Grimsel Test Site, an underground laboratory located in the Central Swiss Alps. Furthermore, I will report on first results and on-going activities in the newly established Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geonergies and Geosciences (BULGG). A key aspect for the success of all our experiments included a close collaboration between different research disciplines, for example, applied geophysics, seismology, rock mechanics, hydromechanics and geology.
Hansruedi Maurer is professor for exploration and engineering geophysics at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. His research interests span from algorithmic developments for geophysical tomography to innovative field studies concerned with natural hazards, storage of dangerous waste, geothermal energy, cryosphere research and several other areas, where geophysical techniques provide useful information. A key aspect of his research is the tight coupling of latest developments in numerical modelling and inversion theory with solution of problems that arise in field applications of magnetic, geoelectric, inductive electromagnetic, georadar and seismic methods. Moreover, he is one of the leading scientists in geophysical experimental design. His contributions in this relatively new research discipline were awarded with the Best Poster Award at the 1997 meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysics and the 2004 Best Paper Award in Geophysics, the leading journal in applied geophysics. He serves as an Editor for Geophysics, and he is an active member of several national and international scientific boards. Since 2008, he is chairman of the executive committee of the IDEA League Joint Master Programme in Applied Geophysics.
February 3, 2021
Overcoming Computational Hurdles in Large-Scale Passive Seismology
Dr. Eileen Martin
Department of Mathematics
Seismology has undergone a radical shift recently; new seismic sensing technologies (e.g. low-cost and low-power nodes, distributed acoustic sensing, and MEMS accelerometers) have made data acquisition much easier, enabling higher resolution, larger regions and extended durations. The development of ambient noise interferometry, which allows near-surface imaging from the naturally-occurring seismic noise field, have further reduced the barriers in seismic data acquisition for imaging. These developments are permitting studies in new locations for a variety of infrastructure, safety and environmental questions about fine-scale processes over long distances (e.g. urban environments and in remote Arctic regions). However, many geophysicists do not have the computational resources to analyze these data, particularly for high-throughput ambient noise interferometry, and few geophysicists have access to these larger data quantities that present a challenge for public seismology archives. We have designed new algorithms applicable when the user aims to calculate surface wave dispersion or body wave double beamforming, both of which compute these transforms directly from raw ambient noise (skipping explicit cross-correlations in the interferometry process) and only grow linearly with respect to the number of sensors, rather than quadratically, and are embarrassingly parallel. For analyses that require explicit interferometry (e.g. for picking arrivals in a tomographic imaging method) we designed new algorithms that can operate directly on low-rank compressed data and wavelet-compressed data, which reduce data archive requirements and compute requirements during analysis. Beyond seismology, these compressed cross-correlation algorithms can be adapted for event detection or to find trends and lagged correlations in time series data from any large-scale sensor network.
Eileen Martin is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in the Department of Mathematics and Division of Computational Modeling and Data Analytics. She is a Luther and Alice Hamlett Junior Faculty Fellow in Virginia Tech’s Academy of Integrated Science. She is an affiliated faculty in Virginia Tech’s Department of Geosciences, and an affiliated scientist in the geophysics department at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. She serves as an associate editor for Computers & Geosciences, and a steering committee member of the DAS Research Coordination Network. She earned her PhD in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford in 2018, where she was a member of the Stanford Exploration Project seismic imaging group. She holds an MS in geophysics from Stanford, and a BS with a double-major in mathematics and computational physics from UT-Austin.
February 10, 2021
Uncertainty Quantification for Large-scale, Nonlinear Inverse Problems
Dr. Andreas Fichtner
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich
During the past decade, seismic tomography has advanced substantially, thanks to rapidly growing seismometer networks, increasing computational resources, and methodological developments. The combination of these allows us to model wave propagation through 3-D complex Earth models, exploit full waveforms, and account for nonlinearity. However, despite these advances, our ability to assess the quality of tomographic Earth models has seen relatively little progress.
In this presentation, I will introduce a novel and unconventional approach to the solution of tomographic inverse problems, including complete uncertainty quantification. It rests on the construction of an artificial mechanical system where a model (of the Earth) is treated as a high-dimensional particle moving along some trajectory, much similar to a planet revolving around a star. Both a probabilistic and a deterministic mode of operation are possible.
The deterministic mode is a new method to explore the nullspace of nonlinear inverse problems without Monte Carlo sampling. Depending on its initial momentum, the artificial particle (model) evolves along a trajectory that traverses the effective nullspace, thereby producing a series of alternative models that are consistent with observations and their uncertainties. Variants of the nullspace shuttle enable systematic hypothesis testing, e.g., by adding features or by producing smoother or rougher models.
The probabilistic mode consists in repeated launches of the nullspace shuttle with random take-off directions and initial momenta, and is known as Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC). HMC provides the complete posterior distribution, i.e., full uncertainty information, for order of magnitude 10,000 model parameters using not more than a standard laptop in the case of 2D traveltime inversion. Using derivatives of the forward equations, HMC is able to make long-distance moves from the current towards a new independent model, thereby promoting model independence, while maintaining high acceptance rates.
We demonstrate the combination of HMC with adjoint techniques, which allows us to solve a fully nonlinear, elastic full-waveform inversion in 2D, without any need for supercomputing resources. This proof of concept opens the door to 3D probabilistic full waveform inversion and a comprehensive solution to the uncertainty quantification challenge.
Andreas Fichtner is Professor of Seismology & Wave Physics at ETH Zurich. He received his PhD in 2010 from LMU Munich for his work on full seismic waveform modelling and inversion. After spending three years as a postdoctoral researcher, he joined ETH Zurich in 2013.
His research interests include theoretical and computational seismology, inverse theory, the translation of seismic imaging techniques to medical ultrasound, and distributed acoustic sensing in environments where conventional seismometer arrays are difficult to install.
Andreas Fichtner is the author of four books on topics ranging from applied mathematics to general geophysics and inverse theory. He received the 2011 Keitii Aki Award from the American Geophysical Union and the 2015 Early Career Scientist Award from the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, as well as several other recognitions.
February 17, 2021
Permafrost in a Changing Climate: The Role of Geophysics in Measuring Arctic Lakes
Dr. Andy Parsekian
Department of Geology & Geophysics
Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering
University of Wyoming
The Arctic system is undergoing rapid change relative to global averages. Warmer air temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns affect hydrologic processes and the integrity of permafrost; these changes are expected to continue or amplify in the future. What role do Arctic lakes play in carbon cycling and will they impact permafrost thaw? What role does geophysical imaging have to understand subsurface permafrost processes associated with the thaw lake cycle? This talk will review examples of recent work on permafrost thaw below Arctic lakes and drained lake basins.
Andrew Parsekian received his PhD from Rutgers University-Newark in 2011 and his BS from Dickinson College in 2005. After completing a postdoctoral assistantship at Stanford University, he joined the faculty of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming where he currently works as an Associate Professor. His research interests are related to environmental geophysics and focus on permafrost processes and alpine hydrology.
February 24, 2021
Subsurfrace Data Integration and Process Modeling in 3D
Dr. Denis Anikiev
GFZ / Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
Integration of interdisciplinary geophysical data (seismic images, seismological catalogs, gravity, magnetics, heat flow) as well as geological information (stratigraphy, lithology, structure) into consistent 3D models of the sedimentary basins, the crust and the lithosphere, is an essential step required to derive reasonable boundary conditions and constraints for the subsurface process modeling. Besides being useful for structural analysis and for calibration of dynamic forward modeling, the 3D structural models are the basis for different process-oriented studies like the calculation of present-day temperature and pressure conditions or the reconstruction of basin history including the evolution of subsidence and sedimentation. The models provide important information useful for the extraction of georesources from basins such as groundwater, hydrocarbons or deep geothermal energy, and for the investigations related to the perspectives of long-term underground storage of hazardous materials.
In this presentation, we focus on the research workflow concept developed in the Basin Modeling Section at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ Potsdam). The workflow links the data integration with multi-physics multi-scale process modeling and closes the gap between the fundamental numerical forward models on a lithospheric scale and the detailed reservoir models used by the industry.
As a case study, the workflow is illustrated on the 3D model of the Upper Rhine Graben (URG), a tectonically active area that has been extensively investigated for its geothermal energy potential. The study is devoted to the investigation of the present-day thermomechanical stability of the area based on a detailed 3D structural and thermal model. The motivation is to answer important questions on the current conditions of the basin. How does the lithospheric strength vary within the URG in response to the natural tectonic setting? How can those variations be related to the recorded seismicity? Our analysis addresses these questions and results demonstrate the relevance of a proper quantification of the lithospheric rheological configuration and its spatial variability in response to its tectonic inheritance as an asset to interpret the pattern and distribution of observed seismicity.
Dr. Anikiev is a scientist and software developer at the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in the Basin Modelling Section. He holds an MSc in geophysics and a BSc in physics, both from St. Petersburg State University. After completing his Ph.D. on automated microseismic imaging in 2015, he joined Seismik s.r.o., a Czech service company focusing on surface and downhole monitoring of induced microseismicity, as a senior data analyst and programmer. There he developed several software packages related to the advanced processing and visualization of seismic data. He joined GFZ Potsdam in 2018 and since 2019 he has been responsible for development of IGMAS+ — a well-known software tool for potential field modeling.
Apart from structural and process modeling, his research interests include various fields of geoscience: inverse problems, seismic imaging, seismology, wave phenomena in complex media, potential fields, and data science methods in geophysics.
March 3, 2021
Would You Let a Geophysicist Loose Inside Your Head? – Using FWI to Image the Human Brain
Dr. Michael Warner
Department of Earth Science & Engineering
Imperial College London
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the US and is the leading cause of acquired adult disability. Strokes are most often produced by either a blockage to blood supply to the brain or by bleeding within the skull. Both conditions are treatable, but treatment must be applied rapidly following first symptoms in order to limit damage, disability and death. Effective treatment requires high-resolution brain imaging before application, but current imaging modalities — magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and x-ray computer tomography (CT) — can only be undertaken at large central facilities, and typically involve long wait times to transport and prepare the patient and acquire the necessary data. In contrast, ultrasound is portable, fast, cheap, and universally safe, and allows imaging to take place in the ambulance or at the bedside within minutes of paramedics’ arrival. However, existing ultrasound modalities cannot image the adult human brain through the skull — the high frequencies used are attenuated by bone, and the contrast in physical properties between the skull and the soft tissue distort and corrupt the signals. Lower frequencies, in the range 0.1 to 1.5 MHz, can easily penetrate the skull, and can be recorded in transmission to make tomographic models of the brain; these models though are much too poorly resolved to be medically useful. In geophysics, we use full-waveform inversion (FWI) to generate accurate high-resolution models of the earth’s interior using low-frequency transmitted seismic waves in highly heterogeneous media. When applied to transmitted trans-cranial low-frequency ultrasound, FWI is able to recover models of the brain that have a resolution equivalent to the best MRI with good tissue discrimination. Unlike conventional ultrasound imaging, FWI is able to unravel the distorting effects of the skull, and unlike conventional tomography, FWI generates highly resolved models. Our aim then is to develop portable ultrasound acquisition, that combined with FWI, can allow effective treatment of stroke, head trauma and other acute neurological conditions within ten minutes of the arrival of first responders. A key challenge in achieving this is to accelerate current FWI algorithms manyfold — both by using novel hardware and by making effective use of the huge compute resources available on the public cloud.
Mike Warner is Professor of Geophysics at Imperial College London. His first degree is in physics and philosophy, and his PhD is in space science. As a research fellow at Cambridge University he applied reflection seismic techniques to deep-crustal targets in the BIRPS project. In 1989 he was appointed as BP Lecturer at Imperial, and became head of the new Department of Earth Science and Engineering in 2001. While at Imperial, he has acquired seismic data over the Chicxulub impact crater in Mexico, and over the Santorini caldera in the Aegean; the first wiped out the dinosaurs and the second wiped out the Minoan civilization. Over the past two decades, he has led the Fullwave research consortium, developing full-waveform inversion for earth imaging. Recently, in a collaboration with geophysicists, computer scientists, ultrasound engineers and clinicians, he has begun to apply those techniques to medical imaging.
March 10, 2021
Using Ambient Seismic Vibrations to Probe the Earth Near Surface Dynamics
Dr. Marine Denolle
Department of Earth & Space Sciences
University of Washington
The Earth near surface is a buffer zone between the solid and fluid Earth. On the one hand, the near surface is greatly affected by atmospheric conditions (e.g., temperature, pressure, precipitation), shallow hydrology, and the transient effects of seismic activity. On the other hand, it is host to both natural resources, such as groundwater, and natural hazards, such as earthquakes and their associated ground motion. Monitoring near-surface mechanical properties thus offers an avenue for understanding resource and hazards management. Here, I present the efforts of myself, my research group, and collaborators to extract such information from the ambient seismic field. Long-term monitoring of seismic properties requires large-scale data processing, which we do by developing efficient, scalable, and open-source codes in Python, Julia, and using high-performance and cloud-based computing. Measuring the changes in seismic properties allows us to monitor the state of groundwater aquifers and water-table changes in California (USA) and in Jakarta (Indonesia) and the impacts of large earthquake damage in Tokyo (Japan). All of these examples highlight how vibrant and dynamic the shallow Earth is at human time scales.
Dr. Nolle’s research aims at predicting the dynamics of earthquakes and their ground motions in a changing Earth. She captures their seismic signatures and characterizes the physical processes that control them. She received her PhD at Stanford in 2014, completed a 2-year Green postdoctoral scholarship at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD), spent five years as an assistant professor at Harvard University, and joined in 2021 the University of Washington.
March 17, 2021
The Susceptibility of Oklahoma’s Basement to Seismic Reactivation: Constraining the Necessary Ingredients for Induced EQ’s
Dr. Brett Carpenter
Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy
The University of Oklahoma
The dramatic increase of widespread seismicity in Oklahoma, from 2009-2016, has been attributed to the reactivation of pre-existing, critically-stressed, and seismically unstable faults due to decades of wastewater injection. The vast majority of the noted earthquakes occurred in the Precambrian igneous terranes that underlie much of Oklahoma, whereas the majority of injection, during that time period, occurred in the Arbuckle Group. This study explores the major ingredients needed for induced earthquakes by characterizing the pre-existing basement faults, and demonstrating that their geometry, structure and mechanical properties make them critically susceptible to seismic reactivation. This is accomplished through a multi-disciplinary approach that includes: outcrop and satellite mapping, 3D seismic analysis, basement core investigation, and experimental determination of basement strength, stability and petrophysical properties. To date, the results show that: 1) exposed Precambrian basement contains widespread fracture/fault systems with trends that display a marked similarity to the trends of recent earthquake lineaments, 2) faults visible in 3D seismic analyses are steeply-dipping, basement-rooted, and in some cases, penetrate the overlying sedimentary sequences, 3) the top of the basement is heavily fractured and there is widespread evidence of hydrothermal alteration in the basement cores, and 4) frictionally unstable behavior and pronounced water-weakening occurs in laboratory experiments designed to mimic in situ conditions. While many of these studies remain ongoing, these preliminary results show that Oklahoma’s Precambrian basement is prone to widespread seismicity by reactivation of pre-existing basement structures facilitated by the key properties of these structures.
Dr. Carpenter received his bachelor’s degree in Earth & Space Science Education and Physics Education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University and completed a 3.5-year post-doctoral position at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), which was followed by 2 years of additional post-doctoral research at the University of Oklahoma. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Structural Geology at the University of Oklahoma, focusing on how fault/crustal structure and small-scale processes affect large scale fault and crustal behavior, particularly the behavior of earth materials at shallow to central crustal conditions, where destructive earthquakes originate and propagate.
March 24, 2021
The Many Applications of Magnetotelluric Data: From Space Weather to Mineral Systems
Dr. Benjamin Murphy
Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow
United States Geological Survey
Magnetotelluric (MT) data provide a wide range of insights into the Earth’s electromagnetic environment. In this presentation, I will highlight two very different applications of MT data. I will first discuss the use of MT data for space weather purposes, particularly in estimating the magnitude of induced geoelectric fields that are coupled into grounded infrastructure during major geomagnetic disturbances. This subject has become a major concern for our modern technology-dependent society, as studies indicate that geomagnetically induced currents within infrastructure such as electrical transmission networks could lead to widespread failure of those systems. Because the size of these geoelectric fields depends upon the electrical conductivity structure of the solid Earth, the degree of these induction hazards varies spatially by orders of magnitude. I will present a case study from the Colorado Front Range Urban Corridor, where the unique geologic setting leads to surprising patterns in geoelectric hazards. I will then discuss the use of MT data for studying mineral systems. Motivated largely by apparent spatial correlations between lithosphere-scale conductivity anomalies and major ore deposits, the magnetotelluric method has emerged as a key technique in the mineral systems approach to mineral resource exploration. The most famous example of this correlation is the world-class Olympic Dam iron oxide-apatite/iron oxide-copper-gold (IOA-IOCG) system, in Australia, where conductive “fingers” extend through the entire crustal column directly beneath the deposit. I will discuss application of MT data for mineral systems analyses in the Missouri Iron Province, an Olympic Dam analog in the US, and I will offer a new interpretation of the conductivity anomalies that appear beneath these major IOA-IOCG deposits.
Murphy received his PhD in geology and geophysics from Oregon State University and his undergraduate degree from Pomona College where he double majored in Geology and Physics. He has worked in environmental geology & hydrogeology consulting and now works with USGS in Denver/Golden. He is the Mendenhall Postdoc splitting his time between the Geomagnetism Program (Hazards; on Mines campus) and the Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center (Mineral Resources; at the Fed Center).
March 31, 2021
Spring Break – No Lecture Scheduled
April 7, 2021
Canada’s Seismic Risk Profile: A Path to Disaster Risk Reduction
Dr. Tiegan Hobbs
Research Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada
In order to prepare for and respond to natural hazards, decision makers require a robust and well-communicated base of evidence. For earthquakes, the Geological Survey of Canada seeks to meet this need with our upcoming National Seismic Risk Profile. This model includes a probabilistic risk assessment and a catalogue of earthquake scenarios, all of which will be accompanied by guidelines for use. A purpose-built web platform is currently under development, as well. In this presentation, we will learn more about the National Seismic Risk Profile and walk through a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia earthquake scenario. We will look at relevant impacts, such as injuries, fatalities, housing disruption, damages, financial losses, and generation of debris in British Columbia communities. We will also touch upon possible retrofit scenarios, with a goal of empowering practitioners to utilize these tools for emergency management, community planning, and other risk mitigation measures.
Dr. Tiegan Hobbs is a seismic risk scientist for the Geological Survey of Canada and an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences department. She uses various geologic, geophysical, and geotechnical datasets to better understand active tectonics and natural hazards. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how the stresses that cause potentially catastrophic events are accumulated through time and space, how failure is ultimately initiated, and what the impacts will be for communities and the built environment. She is leading the development of the scenario earthquake catalogue for Canada’s first National Seismic Risk Model, including validation of the framework against known standards.
With a passion for communicating risk, Tiegan has written over 20 articles for Temblor Earthquake News. She is a member of the Centre for Natural Hazards Research at Simon Fraser University and serves as co-chair of the American Geophysical Union Hazards Equity Working Group. She has also been volunteering in K-12 classrooms with the ‘Skype a Scientist’ organization for several years. Tiegan received her PhD in Geophysics and Masters of Geotechnical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Masters of Geophysics from the University of Victoria, and a Bachelors in Geology from McGill University.
April 14, 2021
Insights from a Changing Cryosphere: Glacier Processes Revealed in Observations of Canada’s St. Elias Mountains
Dr. Gwenn Flowers
Department of Earth Sciences
Simon Fraser University
Glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains straddle the Alaska-Yukon-British Columbia border and form the largest contiguous icefield outside of the polar regions. These glaciers have been thinning by about half a meter per year for 50 years, making globally significant contributions to sea level and having locally profound influences on the landscape. Near-term projections of the rates and nature of this mass-shedding is complicated by the high concentration of glaciers that exhibit unstable flow in this region. With the aim of unraveling some of the internal versus external drivers of glacier change in this region, we first attempt to close the mass budget of a well-behaved glacier using in-situ and remote sensing data, combined with simplified models. We then explore some of the underlying controls on glacier “surging” and speculate on how glacier dynamics are being shaped by climate. Finally, we investigate the unstable ice-dammed lakes that form as a consequence of glacier retreat. Using geophysical and geological field measurements, combined with statistical analysis and numerical modeling, we are beginning to disentangle the contributions of the geologic substrate, the environmental setting, internal ice dynamics, and climate change to observed glacier behavior in this ice-rich part of the world.
Dr. Gwenn Flowers (BA, Physics, University of Colorado; PhD, Geophysics, University of British Columbia) is a professor of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Flowers and her team study the terrestrial cryosphere using geophysical observations and numerical modelling, with a current focus on the response of glaciers and ice sheets to climate and the confounding influence of ice dynamics.
As a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Glaciology from 2005-2014, Flowers launched a field-based research program in the St. Elias Mountains of Yukon, Canada, to study glacier processes, and has also been engaged in projects based in Iceland, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic. Flowers is currently the Vice President of the International Glaciological Society, and the Division Head for Glaciers in the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences.
April 21, 2021
Dr. Ali Tura
Professor, Colorado School of Mines Geophysics Department
For this presentation, I will start with going over the forces requiring global carbon reduction. CO2 molecules have been released into the atmosphere during most of the Industrial Revolution and earlier. So why is there such an urgency at this time? I discuss two key reasons: Public opinion and technological changes. I will then discuss the energy transition and the key role of carbon sequestration. Next, I will discuss the economics of different carbon capture and sequestration options and show why enhanced oil recovery related sequestration can be an optimal solution. This can potentially form the best path for the energy industry and a reasonably well posed problem for geological and geophysical long-term storage and monitoring.
Ali Tura is Professor of Geophysics and Co-director of Reservoir Characterization Project at Colorado School of Mines. His expertise is in the areas of petroleum systems, reservoir characterization and monitoring, seismic methods, CO2 and sequestration, fiber optics technology and data analytics. He is also chief scientist at Tulip Geosciences, a geosciences consulting and training company. Prior to this, he was geophysical senior fellow at ConocoPhillips, geophysical advisor at Chevron and 4D subject matter expert at Shell. He has been active in the energy industry for over 37 years and served as SEG vice-president, board of directors of SEG-SEAM Inc., chairman of the SEG Research Committee, and chairman of the editorial board of The Leading Edge. Ali will also be the SEG Distinguished Lecturer for 2021.
April 28, 2021
Trust me, I’m a scientist!
The Science of Science Communication
What is science communication? How can scientists utilize behavioral psychology, storytelling and social media to engage with different audiences from the podium to the pub(lic)? What are some special considerations when communicating to the public about natural hazards? Learn about some of the challenges, rewards and best practices of communicating geoscience in the public sphere.
Dr. Wendy Bohon is a geologist who studies earthquakes and works to improve the communication of hazard and risk before, during and after rapid onset geologic hazards. She is the Senior Science Communication Specialist for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology as well as an AAAS If/Then Science Ambassador. She also serves on the Executive Leadership Board of 500 Women Scientists, and is the author of the blog “Twinning at Motherhood“.
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