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  • richardmitnick 2:01 pm on December 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What Lies Beneath Yellowstone’s Volcano? Twice As Much Magma As Thought", , , Computational seismology, , Earth Sciences, , , Late Michigan State University researcher Min Chen, , , , , ,   

    From The College of Natural Sciences At The Michigan State University Via “SciTechDaily” : “What Lies Beneath Yellowstone’s Volcano? Twice As Much Magma As Thought” Min Chen 

    From The College of Natural Sciences


    Michigan State Bloc

    The Michigan State University




    The Yellowstone Caldera, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano, is a volcanic caldera and supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park in the Western United States. The caldera measures 43 by 28 miles (70 by 45 kilometers).

    Researcher’s expertise, energy, and empathy leave a legacy.

    Late Michigan State University researcher Min Chen contributed to new seismic tomography of the magma deposits underneath Yellowstone volcano.

    When Ross Maguire was a postdoctoral researcher at Michigan State University, he wanted to study the volume and distribution of molten magma underneath the Yellowstone volcano. Maguire used a technique called seismic tomography, which uses ground vibrations known as seismic waves to create a 3D image of what is happening below Earth’s surface. Using this method, Maguire was able to create an image of the magma chamber framework showing where the magma was located. But these are not crystal-clear images.

    “I was looking for people who are experts in a particular type of computational-based seismic tomography called waveform tomography,” said Maguire, now an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). “Min Chen was really a world expert on this.”

    Min Chen. Credit: Michigan State University.

    Min Chen was an assistant professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Science. Using the power of supercomputing, Chen developed the method applied to Maguire’s images to model more accurately how seismic waves propagate through the Earth. Chen’s creativity and skill brought those images into sharper focus, revealing more information about the amount of molten magma under Yellowstone’s volcano.

    “We didn’t see an increase in the amount of magma,” Maguire said. “We just saw a clearer picture of what was already there.”

    Previous images showed that Yellowstone’s volcano had a low concentration of magma — only 10% — surrounded by a solid crystalline framework. As a result of these new images, with key contributions from Chen, Maguire and his team were able to see that, in fact, twice that amount of magma exists within Yellowstone’s magmatic system.

    “To be clear, the new discovery does not indicate a future eruption is likely to occur,” Maguire said. “Any signs of changes to the system would be captured by the network of geophysical instruments that continually monitors Yellowstone.”

    Unfortunately, Chen never got to see the final results. Her unexpected death in 2021 continues to send shockwaves throughout the earth science community, which mourns the loss of her passion and expertise.

    “Computational seismology is still relatively new at Michigan State University,” said Songqiao “Shawn” Wei, an Endowed Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences in Michigan State University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, who was a colleague of Chen’s. “Once the pandemic hit, Chen made her lectures and research discussions available on Zoom where researchers and students from all over the world could participate. That’s how a lot of seismologists worldwide got to know Michigan State University.”

    Her meetings were a place where gifted undergraduate students, postdoctoral candidates, or simply anyone who was interested were welcome to attend. Chen had prospective graduate students as well as seasoned seismologists from around the world join her virtual calls.

    Chen cared deeply about her students’ well-being and careers. She fostered an inclusive and multidisciplinary environment in which she encouraged her students and postdoctoral candidates to become well-rounded scientists and to build long-term collaborations. She even held virtual seminars about life outside of academia to help students nurture their careers and hobbies. Chen led by example: She was an avid soccer player and knew how to dance the tango.

    Diversity in science was another area about which Chen felt strongly. She advocated and championed research opportunities for women and underrepresented groups. To honor Chen, her colleagues created a memorial fellowship in her name to provide graduate student support for increasing diversity in computational and earth sciences. In another tribute to her life and love of gardening, Chen’s colleagues also planted a memorial tree in the square of the Engineering Building on Michigan State University’s campus.

    Chen was truly a leader in her field and was honored as a National Science Foundation Early CAREER Faculty Award recipient in 2020 to conduct detailed seismic imaging of North America to study Earth’s solid outer shell.

    “She had so much energy,” Maguire said. “She focused on ensuring that people could be successful while she was incredibly successful.”

    Maguire’s research, which showcases a portion of Chen’s legacy, is published in the journal Science.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    About The College of Natural Sciences

    The College of Natural Sciences at The Michigan State University is home to 27 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.

    The college averages $57M in research expenditures annually while providing world-class educational opportunities to more than 5,500 undergraduate majors and 1,200 graduate and postdoc students. There are 800+ faculty and academic staff associated with NatSci and more than 63,000 living alumni worldwide.

    College of Natural Science Vision, Mission, Values

    The Michigan State University College of Natural Sciences is committed to creating a safe, collaborative and supportive environment in which differences are valued and all members of the NatSci community are empowered to grow and succeed.

    The following is the college’s vision, mission and values, as co-created and affirmed by the College of Natural Sciences community:


    A thriving planet and healthy communities through scientific discovery.


    To use discovery, innovation and our collective ingenuity to advance knowledge across the natural sciences. Through equitable, inclusive practices in research, education and service, we empower our students, staff and faculty to solve challenges in a complex and rapidly changing world.

    Core Values:


    Foster a safe, supportive, welcoming community that values diversity, respects difference and promotes belonging. We commit to providing equitable opportunity for all.


    Cultivate creativity and imagination in the quest for new knowledge and insights. Through individual and collaborative endeavors, we seek novel solutions to current and emergent challenges in the natural sciences.


    Commit to honesty and transparency. By listening and being open to other perspectives, we create an environment of trust where ideas are freely shared and discussed.


    Strive for excellence, integrity and high ethical standards. We hold ourselves and each other accountable to these expectations in a respectful and constructive manner.

    Michigan State Campus

    The Michigan State University is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. Michigan State University was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, Michigan State University is one of the largest universities in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has approximately 634,300 living alumni worldwide.

    U.S. News & World Report ranks its graduate programs the best in the U.S. in elementary teacher’s education, secondary teacher’s education, industrial and organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, African history (tied), supply chain logistics and nuclear physics in 2019. Michigan State University pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, supply chain management, and communication sciences. Michigan State University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university’s campus houses the The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, the Abrams Planetarium, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the the The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the country’s largest residence hall system.


    The university has a long history of academic research and innovation. In 1877, botany professor William J. Beal performed the first documented genetic crosses to produce hybrid corn, which led to increased yields. Michigan State University dairy professor G. Malcolm Trout improved the process for the homogenization of milk in the 1930s, making it more commercially viable. In the 1960s, Michigan State University scientists developed cisplatin, a leading cancer fighting drug, and followed that work with the derivative, carboplatin. Albert Fert, an Adjunct professor at Michigan State University, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.

    Today Michigan State University continues its research with facilities such as The Department of Energy -sponsored Plant Research Laboratory and a particle accelerator called the The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory [below]. The Department of Energy Office of Science named Michigan State University as the site for the The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The $730 million facility will attract top researchers from around the world to conduct experiments in basic nuclear science, astrophysics, and applications of isotopes to other fields.

    The Michigan State University FRIB [Facility for Rare Isotope Beams] .

    In 2004, scientists at the Cyclotron produced and observed a new isotope of the element germanium, called Ge-60 In that same year, The Michigan State University, in consortium with the The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the government of Brazil, broke ground on the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

    The consortium telescope will allow the Physics & Astronomy department to study galaxy formation and origins. Since 1999, MSU has been part of a consortium called the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which aims to develop biotechnology research in the State of Michigan. Finally, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Quello Center researches issues of information and communication management.

    The Michigan State University Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. Michigan State Spartans football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1954, 1956, 1988 and 2014, and the university claims a total of six national football championships. Spartans men’s basketball won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 and has attained the Final Four eight times since the 1998–1999 season. Spartans ice hockey won NCAA national titles in 1966, 1986 and 2007. The women’s cross country team was named Big Ten champions in 2019. In the fall of 2019, MSU student-athletes posted all-time highs for graduation success rates and federal graduation rates, according to NCAA statistics.

  • richardmitnick 10:16 am on October 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Chemical weathering", "Olsen to study effects of mineral weathering on tropical forest productivity", A natural laboratory for testing the effects of changing climate on weathering, , , Determining the effects of increasing temperature and rainfall on chemical weathering and nutrient acquisition by plants, , Earth Sciences, , Modeling above-ground biomass using remote sensing imagery, Quantifying chemical weathering rates,   

    From The University of Maine: “Olsen to study effects of mineral weathering on tropical forest productivity” 

    From The University of Maine

    Marcus Wolf

    Photo by Amanda Olsen.

    Tropical forests can mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into plant biomass through photosynthesis. But as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, some forests may not be able to sequester more of it because their habitats lack sufficient supplies of nutrients.

    Amanda Olsen, a University of Maine associate professor of Earth science, says one way plants receive nutrients is through weathering, a process in which bedrock breaks down due to physical, chemical and biological forces and releases nutrients to soils. Determining if weathering releases minerals from bedrock fast enough to support tropical forest productivity, particularly in nutrient-poor areas, is the focus of her latest study in collaboration with Bill McDowell, a professor of natural resources and the environment with the University of New Hampshire.

    The National Science Foundation awarded more than $311,000 for the project, which will examine “chemical weathering” — the process by which rocks break down and become soils — in forested areas in southwestern Puerto Rico. Their vegetation grows on serpentinite bedrock, which is known for containing low concentrations of essential plant nutrients such as calcium, potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus.

    For their study, Olsen, the lead researcher, and McDowell will travel to tropical forests in the Rio Cupeyes and Rio Guilarte watersheds that have been designated NSF National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites. Part of their research will involve determining the effects of increasing temperature and rainfall on chemical weathering and nutrient acquisition by plants.

    The two scientists plan to measure the chemistry of bedrock, soils, stream and soil water, leaves, leaf litter and atmospheric deposition at three locations in the Rio Cupeyes watershed and one in the one Rio Guilarte watershed. The Rio Cupeyes testing locations are at different elevations, meaning they will have varying temperature and precipitation levels. This will provide a natural laboratory for testing the effects of changing climate on weathering. The Rio Guilarte site will serve as a control for the study, allowing researchers to also test the effect of Rio Cupeyes’ unusual bedrock on plant chemistry.

    Using the samples they collect and existing data from NEON, Olsen and McDowell will quantify the chemical weathering rates at all four testing sites. They will then model above-ground biomass at each site using remote sensing imagery, which will allow them to assess the effects of mineral weathering on forest productivity, as well as the influence of temperature and precipitation on the process.

    “Climate models assume that a certain percentage of carbon dioxide will be taken in by plants as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise,” Olsen says. “However, if other nutrients limit ecosystems’ abilities to grow more or larger plants, the ability of plants to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be less than we are currently predicting. This is why understanding whether rocks can provide some of those nutrients is key to understanding how much carbon dioxide tropical forests can take up in the future.”

    Tropical forests hold almost half of the world’s terrestrial carbon dioxide, despite only covering 13% of its ice-free land mass. An escalation in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the years has increased photosynthesis in plants, resulting in more biomass, but only when those plants obtain enough nutrients.

    Atmospheric deposition, in which gases and particles move from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface either through precipitation or as dust, can supply some nutrients, but not all the necessary ones for plants in certain areas. Therefore, some tropical forest vegetation relies on chemical weathering for nutrient acquisition, but it is unclear whether chemical weathering can supply nutrients fast enough to keep up with demand over short timescales.

    Olsen’s and McDowell’s study will help determine how important the process is for forest productivity, particularly as carbon dioxide levels continue rising and the planet becomes warmer.

    The project builds on Olsen’s almost 20 years of expertise in mineral reactivity. McDowell brings extensive knowledge of the ecology and geomorphology of the Rio Cupeyes watershed to the project, due in part to his participation in its selection as a NEON site, she says.

    They will use technology from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and UNH’s Water Quality Analysis Laboratory, which McDowell directs, for the study.

    “Collaborations between ecologists and Earth scientists are crucial to understanding the complicated interactions between rocks, soils, plants, and water in ecosystems, and this becomes even more important as we try to sort out how a changing climate affects these systems,” Olsen says.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Maine is a public land-grant research university in Orono, Maine. It was established in 1865 as the land-grant college of Maine and is the flagship university of the University of Maine System. The University of Maine is one of only a few land, sea and space grant institutions in the nation. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    With an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students, The University of Maine is the state’s largest college or university. The University of Maine’s athletic teams, nicknamed the Black Bears, are Maine’s only Division I athletics program. Maine’s men’s ice hockey team has won two national championships.

    The University of Maine was founded in 1862 as a function of the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Established in 1865 as the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the college opened on September 21, 1868 and changed its name to the University of Maine in 1897.

    By 1871, curricula had been organized in Agriculture, Engineering, and electives. The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station was founded as a division of the university in 1887. Gradually the university developed the Colleges of Life Sciences and Agriculture (later to include the School of Forest Resources and the School of Human Development), Engineering and Science, and Arts and Sciences. In 1912 the Maine Cooperative Extension, which offers field educational programs for both adults and youths, was initiated. The School of Education was established in 1930 and received college status in 1958. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1958 and was granted college status in 1965. Women have been admitted into all curricula since 1872. The first master’s degree was conferred in 1881; the first doctor’s degree in 1960. Since 1923 there has been a separate graduate school.

    Near the end of the 19th century, the university expanded its curriculum to place greater emphasis on liberal arts. As a result of this shift, faculty hired during the early 20th century included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department and the nation’s first woman to head a major university department.

    In 1906, The Senior Skull Honor Society was founded to “publicly recognize, formally reward, and continually promote outstanding leadership and scholarship, and exemplary citizenship within the University of Maine community.”

    On April 16, 1925, 80 women met in Balentine Hall — faculty, alumnae, and undergraduate representatives — to plan a pledging of members to an inaugural honorary organization. This organization was called “The All Maine Women” because only those women closely connected with the University of Maine were elected as members. On April 22, 1925, the new members were inducted into the honor society.

    When the University of Maine System was incorporated, in 1968, the school was renamed by the legislature over the objections of the faculty to the University of Maine at Orono. This was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986.

  • richardmitnick 8:32 am on July 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford researchers show how geological activity rapidly changes deep microbial communities", , , , Earth Sciences, , , , , , SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility at Lead in South Dakota.   

    From Stanford University: “Stanford researchers show how geological activity rapidly changes deep microbial communities” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University

    July 14, 2022
    Danielle Torrent Tucker

    New research reveals that, rather than being influenced only by environmental conditions, deep subsurface microbial communities can transform because of geological movements. The findings advance our understanding of subsurface microorganisms, which comprise up to half of all living material on the planet.

    In the deep subsurface that plunges into the Earth for miles, microscopic organisms inhabit vast bedrock pores and veins. Below ground microorganisms, or microbes, comprise up to half of all living material on the planet and support the existence of all life forms up the food chain. They are essential for realizing an environmentally sustainable future and can change the chemical makeup of minerals, break down pollutants, and alter the composition of groundwater.

    Lead study author Yuran Zhang working deep underground at the field site in South Dakota. Zhang and her colleagues used samples collected from the facility to show that microbial community changes can be driven by geological activity. (Image credit: Courtesy of Yuran Zhang)

    While the significance of bacteria and archaea is undeniable, the only evidence of their existence in the deep subsurface comes from traces of biological material that seep through mine walls, cave streams, and drill holes that tap into aquifers.

    Many scientists have assumed that the composition of microbial communities in the deep subsurface is primarily shaped by local environmental pressures on microbial survival such as temperature, acidity, and oxygen concentration. This process, environmental selection, can take years to millennia to cause significant community-level changes in slow-growing communities like the subsurface.

    Now, with data collected nearly 5,000 feet below ground, Stanford University researchers have shown that deep subsurface microbial communities can change in a matter of days, and the shifts can be driven by geological activity – not only by environmental pressures.

    “In the deep subsurface, we can no longer understand environmental selection to be the dominant driver in community dynamics – it could be just a changing flow rate or movement of the groundwater through the crevices and cracks in the subsurface that’s driving what we observe,” said lead study author Yuran Zhang, PhD ’20, who conducted the research as a PhD student in energy resources engineering.

    Filling in gaps

    Like reading a random page of someone’s 1000-word biography, previous studies on deep subsurface microbes have only offered glimpses into the chronicles of their existence. By collecting water samples from multiple geothermal wells weekly over 10 months, the Stanford researchers showed how these populations can change over space and time, demonstrating the first evidence of geological activity as a driver for microbial community change – and therefore evolution.

    “There is previous research on the composition of microbial communities in the deep subsurface, but it’s almost always using samples from a single time point,” said geomicrobiologist Anne Dekas, a senior study author and assistant professor of Earth system science. “To have a time series over 10 months – especially at a weekly resolution – is a really different perspective that allowed us to ask different questions about how and why these communities change with time.”

    Dekas said that while microbial ecologists might have guessed that geological activity was at play, she was surprised by the extent of the community shifts that occurred after a change in the flow network.

    Boreholes and test tubes

    The technique used in the study involved processing samples from a flow test conducted at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), formerly the Homestake Gold Mine, in South Dakota.

    Zhang said the experience of moving from a borehole sample setting to a test-tube-filled lab with a PCR machine on campus was “like connecting two totally different worlds,” referring to how this work unites the distinct fields of microbial ecology and geothermal engineering.

    In analyzing the properties of the water samples, the researchers identified microbial DNA fingerprints. Each of the 132 water samples supplied tens of thousands of unique sequencing IDs. Those data were used to show that when geological activity occurred, it could quickly mix disparate biological communities – and from locations that weren’t previously known to be connected.

    “One of the additional pieces of information from this microbiology study is that we’ve seen populations of microbes that have moved not just directly from place to place, but as a consequence of the network in between,” said senior study author Roland Horne, the Thomas Davies Barrow Professor of Earth Sciences. “That’s so important from the reservoir point of view because it reveals something that isn’t revealed by normal geothermal analytical methods.

    Geology meets biology

    The level of data collected by current geothermal techniques is like only having access to highways that are cut off from the side roads that will take you all the way home. Investigation of microorganism populations opens the potential for mapping the complex intricacies of the deep subsurface in more detail, Horne said.

    Being able to use biology as a tool may also bring insights into the deep subsurface as a frontier for geological storage, such as nuclear waste and carbon sequestration. But combining biology and geology requires fundamental knowledge of both subjects.

    “On the geothermal underground project, I realized that reservoir engineers or geologists or geophysicists usually aren’t that familiar with microbiology,” said Zhang, who was co-advised by Horne and Dekas. “There is common knowledge about geochemistry, but not so much in geomicrobiology.”

    This work could even be meaningful beyond Earth-based disciplines: If some of the oldest life forms in the deep subsurface of Earth can change and diversify because of geological activity, maybe we can have similar expectations for the origin and diversification of life on other tectonic planetary bodies.

    “What we observe could potentially connect to the early story of life’s evolution,” Zhang said. “If geological activity is a driver for early life formation or diversification, then maybe we should look for extraterrestrial life on planets that are geologically active.”

    The findings were published last month in PNAS.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.


    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.


    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

  • richardmitnick 7:45 pm on July 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Researchers uncover life's power generators in the Earth's oldest groundwaters", A Pandora's Box of helium-and-hydrogen-producing power, A power generator for chemolithotrophic (or rock-eating) groups of cohabitating microorganisms previously discovered in the Earth's deep subsurface., A team of researchers has discovered 1.2-billion-year-old groundwater deep in a gold- and uranium-producing mine in Moab Khotsong in South Africa., , , , Earth Sciences, , For the first time a team of researchers have insight into how energy stored deep in the Earth's subsurface can be released and distributed more broadly through its crust over time., , Humans are not the only life-forms relying on the energy resources of the Earth's deep subsurface., , New insights on how much helium diffuses up from the deep Earth is a critical step forward as global helium reserves run out., The extreme outposts of the world's water cycle are more widespread than once thought.,   

    From The University of Toronto (CA) via “phys.org” : “Researchers uncover life’s power generators in the Earth’s oldest groundwaters” 

    From The University of Toronto (CA)



    July 5, 2022

    Researcher Oliver Warr collecting sample in Moab Khotsong, South Africa. Credit: Oliver Warr.

    An international team of researchers has discovered 1.2-billion-year-old groundwater deep in a gold- and uranium-producing mine in Moab Khotsong, South Africa, shedding more light on how life is sustained below the Earth’s surface and how it may thrive on other planets.

    The findings were published earlier this week in the journal Nature Communications.

    “For the first time we have insight into how energy stored deep in the Earth’s subsurface can be released and distributed more broadly through its crust over time,” says Oliver Warr, research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study. “Think of it as a Pandora’s Box of helium-and-hydrogen-producing power, one that we can learn how to harness for the benefit of the deep biosphere on a global scale.”

    “Ten years ago, we discovered billion-year-old groundwater from below the Canadian Shield—this was just the beginning, it seems,” says Barbara Sherwood Lollar, professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto and corresponding author. “Now, 2.9 km below the Earth’s surface in Moab Khotsong, we have found that the extreme outposts of the world’s water cycle are more widespread than once thought.”

    Uranium and other radioactive elements naturally occur in the surrounding host rock that contains mineral and ore deposits. These elements hold new information about the groundwater’s role as a power generator for chemolithotrophic (or rock-eating) groups of cohabitating microorganisms previously discovered in the Earth’s deep subsurface. When elements like uranium, thorium and potassium decay in the subsurface, the resulting alpha, beta, and gamma radiation has ripple effects, triggering what are called radiogenic reactions in the surrounding rocks and fluids.

    At Moab Khotsong, the researchers found large amounts of radiogenic helium, neon, argon and xenon, and an unprecedented discovery of an isotope of krypton—a never-before-seen tracer of this powerful reaction history. The radiation also breaks apart water molecules in a process called radiolysis, producing large concentrations of hydrogen, an essential energy source for subsurface microbial communities deep in the Earth that are unable to access energy from the sun for photosynthesis.

    Due to their extremely small masses, helium and neon are uniquely valuable for identifying and quantifying transport potential. While the extremely low porosity of crystalline basement rocks in which these waters are found means the groundwaters themselves are largely isolated and rarely mix, accounting for their 1.2-billion-year age, diffusion can still take place.

    Researcher Oliver Warr collecting sample in Moab Khotsong, South Africa. Credit: Oliver Warr.

    “Solid materials such as plastic, stainless steel and even solid rock are eventually penetrated by diffusing helium, much like the deflation of a helium-filled balloon,” says Warr. “Our results show that diffusion has provided a way for 75 to 82 percent of the helium and neon originally produced by the radiogenic reactions to be transported through the overlying crust.”

    The researchers stress that the study’s new insights on how much helium diffuses up from the deep Earth is a critical step forward as global helium reserves run out, and the transition to more sustainable resources gains traction.

    “Humans are not the only life-forms relying on the energy resources of the Earth’s deep subsurface,” says Warr. “Since the radiogenic reactions produce both helium and hydrogen, we can not only learn about helium reservoirs and transport, but also calculate hydrogen energy flux from the deep Earth that can sustain subsurface microbes on a global scale.”

    Warr notes that these calculations are vital for understanding how subsurface life is sustained on Earth, and what energy might be available from radiogenic-driven power on other planets and moons in the solar system and beyond, informing upcoming missions to Mars, Titan, Enceladus and Europa.

    Additional co-authors of the paper include C.J. Ballentine from the University of Oxford, and researchers from Princeton University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.


    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

  • richardmitnick 8:27 am on June 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Lost Continents Could Be Hidden Inside Earth", At mid-ocean ridges bubbling magma escapes through rifts in the sea floor to form new crust., Convection currents in the mantle can transport large blocks of the earth’s crust-called cratons-over vast distances., , , Earth Sciences, , , , Rocks are perhaps up to 2.7 billion years old., The Chinese Academy of Sciences, The Kaapvaal craton in South Africa, The Kaapvaal craton is the closest ancient continental crust to the Southwest Indian Ridge. But it’s also a whopping 1200 miles away., The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, There are a lot of plumes under Africa because it was the center of the supercontinent Pangea.   

    From “Discover Magazine” : “Lost Continents Could Be Hidden Inside Earth” 


    From “Discover Magazine”

    Jun 16, 2022
    Theo Nicitopoulos

    Silfra Fissure, located at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland, lies on the mid-Atlantic ridge. (Credit: VicPhotoria/Shutterstock)

    At mid-ocean ridges bubbling magma escapes through rifts in the sea floor to form new crust. Below, partially melted, taffy-like mantle rock spreads in opposite directions — stretching the new crust until it forms an extensive valley system surrounded by ridges of hills and mountains.

    These abyssal seascapes, not unlike landscapes found above sea level, are the last places that pieces of continents would be expected to turn up. Yet in a recent study published in Science Advances, researchers have discovered that it is indeed possible: Newly dated rocks from the Southwest Indian Ridge, located between Africa and Antarctica, are not only remnants of a continent; they are also old enough to support the hypothesis that much of Earth’s continents formed early on and became “lost” or hidden deep below Earth’s ocean crust.

    Chuan-Zhou Liu, a marine geologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, visited the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in 2017 to collect the rock samples dredged from the ridge previously. “I wouldn’t have suspected the rocks are from continents,” he says, “because they look like the ones you would typically find on the sea floor.”

    His analysis showed the rocks are perhaps up to 2.7 billion years old — old enough to have been around when Earth’s first continents formed. Finding out which ancient continent they came from, however, is difficult.

    Credit: Liu et al. Science Advances.

    Liu says convection currents in the mantle can transport large blocks of the earth’s crust-called cratons-over vast distances. One particular craton caught the researcher’s attention: “There is evidence that the ‘keel’ of the Kaapvaal craton in South Africa has been dislodged,” he says.

    The Kaapvaal craton is the closest ancient continental crust to the Southwest Indian Ridge. But it’s also a whopping 1,200 miles away.

    To have reached the ridge, Liu and his colleagues propose that plumes of hot, rising mantle rock beneath South Africa eroded the bottom of the craton, dislodging pieces that were then transported by convection currents to the ocean ridge. “There are a lot of plumes under Africa because it was the center of the supercontinent Pangea that heated the mantle,” says co-author Ross Mitchell, a geophysicist at the same academy as Liu.

    The researchers performed computer simulations and found that up to 20 percent of the Kaapvaal craton could have been removed in this way and recycled to the ocean rift in as little as 100 million years.

    A Game of Hide and Seek

    The discovery also provides insight into the evolution of Earth’s other continents. Traditionally, because there are few very old rocks at the surface, the continents are thought to have grown gradually. But now there’s another explanation: Maybe much of the continents formed early on and were recycled back into the mantle.

    “If Earth once had voluminous continents, surely these ‘lost continents’ are hidden below the crust,” says Mitchell. The recycling of lost continents into the depths may have been possible thanks to plumes that were even hotter during Earth’s early history, he adds. “If it’s happening today, it would have really been happening back then.”

    If these rocks are from lost continents, the researchers’ computer simulations suggest that there could be more at mid-ocean ridges. “Perhaps we haven’t discovered more because we didn’t know to look for them,” says Mitchell. For him, ocean ridges have suddenly become more attractive in the study of the evolution of continents. “I couldn’t imagine I would have a reason to go out to the middle of the ocean,” he says.

    Even better, the ocean around the Southwest Indian Ridge is particularly rough. “Ross, get ready to pack your suitcase,” says Liu.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 9:27 pm on June 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "'Landslide Graveyard' Holds Clues to Long-Term Tsunami Trends", "Megablocks", 2018 eruption of Anak Krakatau in Indonesia, , , Earth Sciences, , , , How can we assess the modern potential for hazardous tsunamis based only on these ancient buried remnants?, Subduction zone processes and their associated seismic activity, The underwater Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano, These key questions and issues are currently being addressed by a trans-Tasman team of researchers- including us-from Australia and New Zealand under the “Silent Tsunami” project., Tsunami originating from Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai in early 2022., Underwater landslides,   

    From Eos: “‘Landslide Graveyard’ Holds Clues to Long-Term Tsunami Trends” 

    Eos news bloc

    From Eos



    3 June 2022
    Suzanne Bull

    Sally J. Watson
    Jess Hillman
    Hannah E. Power
    Lorna J. Strachan

    The Sun rises over the Tasman Sea and Mount Taranaki (at left on the horizon), as seen from R/V Tangaroa during research voyage TAN2111 in October 2021 to map part of New Zealand’s northwestern continental margin. Credit: Jess Hillman.

    “Ka mua, ka muri.” We walk backward into the future, with our eyes on the past. This whakataukī (proverb) represents a New Zealand Māori perspective that has much in common with the way Earth scientists study natural hazards. Understanding and learning from historical events inform our preparedness for and increase resilience against future disasters. Studying past tsunami events, for example, is an important part of better understanding the diverse and complex mechanisms of tsunami generation and for improving natural hazard assessments.

    Tsunamis are dangerous natural hazards and are most often caused by earthquakes. Consequently, coseismic tsunamis have drawn most of the focus from researchers and hazard planners.

    In September 2009, American Samoa felt the effects of a powerful magnitude 8.1 earthquake that originated in the Tonga Trench, some 240 kilometers away. Only 15 minutes after earthquake shaking stopped, a large tsunami hit the Samoan archipelago, inundating coastal communities (Pago is shown here), catching many islanders off guard, and killing 35 people. Credit: National Park of American Samoa (NPSA)

    However, several recent tsunamis have been attributed to other sources on which less research has been done, including underwater landslides, as in the case of the Palu, Indonesia, event in 2018, and volcanic eruptions in the case of the tsunami originating from Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai in early 2022.

    The landslide and tsunami associated with the 2018 eruption of Anak Krakatau, Indonesia, were responsible for more than 400 deaths. Credit: ESA.

    In this satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC, an island created by the underwater Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano is seen smoking Jan. 7, 2022. An undersea volcano erupted in spectacular fashion near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday, Jan. 15, sending large tsunami waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground. A tsunami advisory was in effect for Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific coast, with reports of waves pushing boats up in the docks in Hawaii. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

    The Tasman Sea, located between Australia and New Zealand and known for its notorious storms amid the “roaring forties” latitudes, may have witnessed a series of devastating tsunamis during the past 5 million years (i.e., in the Pliocene and Pleistocene, or Plio-Pleistocene, epochs). These tsunamis likely originated near New Zealand’s western coast and traveled more than 2,000 kilometers to also affect Australia, yet intriguingly, there is little easily observable evidence of these events. This tumultuous history is surprising considering that western New Zealand is not especially exposed to subduction zone processes and their associated seismic activity; such exposure is often the main indicator of how vulnerable a coastline is to a tsunami. However, New Zealand is surrounded by steep and, in some cases, tectonically active submarine slopes, where landslides can occur.

    The study area of the Silent Tsunami project is shown here, along with seafloor bathymetry and existing seismic reflection data. The outline of the most recent giant landslide from the Pleistocene is also shown and is overlain by the ship track from the TAN2111 voyage in October 2021.

    In the past few decades, evidence of six giant underwater landslides dating from the Plio-Pleistocene has been discovered beneath the modern seafloor in the eastern Tasman Sea (Figure 1). The most recent, thought to have occurred about 1 million years ago, is the largest documented landslide in New Zealand, covering more than 22,000 square kilometers—an area larger than Wales. With a volume of about 3,700 cubic kilometers, this landslide was bigger than the famous tsunamigenic Storegga Slide, which involved massive collapses of the continental shelf off the coast of Norway roughly 8,200 years ago.

    Much of the Norwegian coastline was at-risk because of the Storegga slide.


    Can scientists use these landslide deposits to derive credible indications of past tsunamis? If so, how can we assess the modern potential for hazardous tsunamis based only on these ancient, buried remnants? Underwater landslides are not comprehensively included as tsunami sources in New Zealand’s hazard assessments. This data gap exists largely because of a lack of research into underwater landslide return rates (a statistical measure of how often these events are likely to recur) and tsunamigenic mechanisms, as well as of uncertainties introduced by errors in available dating methods and the difficulty and expense of obtaining samples. These key questions and issues are currently being addressed by a trans-Tasman team of researchers, including us, from Australia and New Zealand under the Silent Tsunami project (officially named Assessing Risk of Silent Tsunami in the Tasman Sea/Te Tai-o-Rēhua), which began in 2021.

    Search Strategy for Landslide Evidence

    Throughout the Plio-Pleistocene, a vast volume of material was eroded from the rapidly uplifting Southern Alps, on New Zealand’s South Island, and delivered to the coast by river networks. Powerful ocean currents then transported the sediment north to the country’s northwestern continental margin. The ocean basin duly accommodated the relentless influx of material, and the margin rapidly prograded (built outward toward the sea) via a series of spectacular, steeply dipping depositional surfaces (up to 1,500 meters tall) called sigmoidal clinoforms, which are the building blocks of deltas and basin margins. The unstable sediment piles, perched precariously at the edge of the tectonically hyperactive interface between the Pacific and Australian plates, inevitably then collapsed in catastrophic fashion several times over.

    However, evidence of these Tasman Sea landslides cannot be readily observed, in part because of a lack of detailed seafloor mapping in the area but also because the slides were quickly buried under other sediment. Compounding the difficulty are the erosion and uplift of New Zealand’s dynamic coastline, which have erased potential land-based geological evidence in the form of tsunami deposits. Only past seismic reflection surveying in the area enabled the discovery of evidence for these events (Figure 1), with geologists documenting the landslide deposits while mapping New Zealand’s offshore sedimentary basins.

    The new project takes a three-pronged approach to carry earlier findings forward. First, we’re combining tools and techniques from the playbook used to analyze the formation and evolution of sedimentary basins, especially how the basin filling process interacts with tectonic processes. These methods include the conversion of time series seismic reflection data into depth measurements using seismic wave velocities measured from drill holes (meaning the depth for each data point is known) and virtually stripping away overlying sediments (back stripping) using computational models. This approach allows us to unearth accurate original volumes (areal extent and thickness) of the landslides before their burial and compaction.

    Second, we’re applying these new physical descriptions of landslides, along with knowledge of where they occurred, to inform computational models. The models, run using the cutting-edge fluid dynamics modeling tool Basilisk, simulate landslide motion, tsunami generation, and hazard metrics like inundation extents, wave amplitudes, wave arrival times, and current velocities.

    Third, during two research voyages, we have collected new geophysical data—multibeam bathymetry, subbottom profiles, and high-resolution multichannel seismic reflection profiles—and sediment samples from rock dredges and sediment cores from the site of the landslides. Data from the voyages are perhaps most critical to the outcomes of the project. The modeling builds a picture of the likely impacts of the Tasman Sea landslides, but probing the sites of their origin in the real world draws tangible ties between these ancient events and the present day.

    So what about the present day? During sea level highstands, when sea levels rise above the edge of a continental shelf, as is the case today, delivery of sediment to the deep ocean is thought to decrease. However, a paucity of information from the Tasman Sea region means that no one knows how much, how fast, and exactly where sediment is accumulating at present. It is not clear whether the conveyor belt of northward sediment delivery is still operating or what could trigger a future landslide event.

    Setting Sail

    In October 2021, on the first of the two research voyages, a small science party of five boarded the R/V Tangaroa for an 11-day voyage to map some 5,000 square kilometers of the Tasman Sea for the first time and to identify targets for a sampling campaign to be conducted during the second voyage (Figure 1). The preexisting seismic reflection data set for the region (Figure 2), comprising data gathered during numerous explorative surveys over several decades, appeared to show evidence of “megablocks” peeking up through the modern seabed from within the most recent Tasman Sea landslide deposit. These megablocks are large clasts or “rafts” of material that were transported within a landslide and that have remained mostly intact. Such blocks often form highly irregular seafloor topography in the immediate aftermath of an underwater landslide and can create localized sediment traps when normal sedimentation resumes. Heading into the voyage, it was uncertain whether these features would be visible or prominent on the seafloor or whether we could identify viable targets for sampling.

    Fig. 2. Ancient landslide deposits beneath the modern seafloor are evident in this seismic reflection profile produced from data collected prior to the Silent Tsunami project.

    True to form for the Tasman Sea, after leaving the shelter of Wellington Harbour, a howling southerly wind and 8-meter swells pummeled our ship during the 20-hour transit. Once on site, however, about 100 kilometers off New Zealand’s North Island, above the continental shelf break and rise, conditions calmed, allowing the ship’s multibeam echo sounders to run—and map the seafloor at high resolution—uninterrupted.

    Fig. 3. Perspective views from the newly acquired bathymetric data set show shelf-slope canyons, pockmarks, and evidence of small, recent slope failures (top), as well as the tops of megablocks from the most recent ancient landslide rising above the modern seafloor of the continental rise at water depths of 1,500–1,700 meters (bottom).

    As the data came in, we spent long hours poring over them in the bathymetry lab aboard the Tangaroa. The time was highly rewarding. First came images of canyons, numerous pockmarks, and evidence of recent small-scale slope failures as the ship passed over the shelf break and traversed the continental slope (Figure 3). Then we saw an astonishing area of deep seafloor littered with numerous angular, often elongated ridges and peaks up to 100 meters in relief, some with surrounding “moats” winnowed by the action of recent ocean currents. These ridges are the exposed tops of megablocks from the most recent Tasman Sea landslide, still making their mark on the seafloor roughly 1 million years later.

    We decided the megablocks, now that we’d observed them firsthand, were viable targets for rock dredging, offering the tantalizing possibility of sampling landslide material itself. If we could achieve it, this sampling could allow us to characterize the sedimentology and physical properties of the landslide and thus to refine our fluid dynamics models. In addition, areas between blocks would be good targets to sample covering sediments to help constrain the minimum age of the most recent and largest landslide and to determine the rate and patterns of modern sediment accumulation.

    We set off on the 3-week-long second voyage, again aboard the Tangaroa, on 15 March 2022. Taking advantage of a spell of calm weather, we deployed the ship’s brand-new 96-channel solid seismic streamer to collect reflection data, then waited anxiously for the first data. Our worry was unnecessary, as the data looked beautiful, with much-improved resolution compared with the preexisting data set.

    The biggest highlights from this voyage came as we turned our attention to sediment sampling and targeted several megablocks with the rock dredge. We recovered a lot of sticky mud thought to be the “mud drape” formed by the continuous rain of fine-grained sediment that accumulates normally over many years. We also recovered fist- to paving slab–sized clasts of more consolidated mud and fine sand, which we cautiously assumed to be landslide material.

    After deciding to target a flat-topped megablock at roughly 1,500 meters depth for coring, we again waited nervously to see what, if anything, we’d recover. To the team’s excitement, we indeed recovered a 4-meter core from the megablock. Does it contain landslide material, or is it all mud drape? Time will tell. Now back on dry land, we are awaiting the results of nondestructive preliminary scanning before we split and subsample the core to determine in detail what we recovered. In all, 79 meters of core were successfully recovered on the voyage, including from the areas between megablocks, which we are confident will enable us to characterize modern sediment deposition and properties.

    From Data to Knowledge to Application

    We expect our project to generate new knowledge that builds a picture of modern-day conditions at the site of the Tasman Sea landslides; to refine our understanding of the return rate of large, potentially tsunami-generating landslides; and to develop credible scenarios of the specific hazards related to them. Pathways to assessing the usefulness of the information gained and to guide its uptake in national hazard assessments involve working with a hazard scientists’ advisory group, territorial authorities, and civil defense agencies.

    Fig. 4. This depiction of the New Zealand National Tsunami Hazard Model shows expected tsunami heights along the country’s coastline. Although formally published in 2013, the model is continually updated as more information becomes available.

    The most likely conduit to implementation in New Zealand is the Review of Tsunami Hazard in New Zealand, a probabilistic risk assessment that quantitively estimates maximum tsunami heights along the country’s coastlines (Figure 4). The model underpins more detailed site-specific hazard assessments and emergency management planning and is continually refined and updated with new information. In Australia, new information from this project could be incorporated into state-based hazard assessments and education programs led by the country’s Emergency Management authorities.

    An exciting prospect is the potential to apply the same approaches used in our project to other areas of New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere. Many of the world’s continental margins have been imaged using seismic reflection surveying—often during exploration for offshore energy resources—creating a vast repository of information about the subsurface. Most of what is known about tsunamis generated by underwater landslides comes from computational models, with few observed examples of such slides to validate them. But existing data sets may hold a wealth of data related to numerous examples of ancient underwater landslides now buried beneath the seafloor.

    Translating knowledge from examples of subsurface landslides into information to support hazard assessment is rarely done because of a lack of information on the ages of the landslides and the complexities of assessing their size introduced by their burial, compaction, and incomplete preservation. We hope that results and learning from our early-stage research will help scientists better understand regional tsunami hazards. We also hope that these results will pave the way for future endeavors to develop constructive tools to support refined tsunami hazard assessment and emergency management planning, helping safeguard people around and beyond the Tasman Sea.


    The project described above is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Fund, with additional support from the New Zealand Strategic Science Investment Fund, the Tangaroa Reference Group, and the University of Newcastle, Australia.

    See the full article here .


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    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

  • richardmitnick 1:17 pm on May 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "In wake of hurricane microbial ecosystem remarkably resilient", , , , , Earth Sciences, , , , Microbial mats, ,   

    From Johns Hopkins University via phys.org : “In wake of hurricane microbial ecosystem remarkably resilient” 

    From Johns Hopkins University



    May 27, 2022

    Photos taken before and after the hurricane demonstrate the resilience of the microbial mats. Credit: Johns Hopkins University.

    After sustaining seemingly catastrophic hurricane damage, a primordial groundcover vital to sustaining a multitude of coastal lifeforms bounced back to life in a matter of months.

    The finding, co-led by a Johns Hopkins University geochemist and published today in Science Advances, offers rare optimism for the fate of one of Earth’s most critical ecosystems as climate change alters the global pattern of intense storms.

    “The good news is that in these types of environments, there are these mechanisms that can play an important role in stabilizing the ecosystem because they recover so quickly,” said Maya Gomes, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences. “What we saw is that they just started growing again and that means that as we continue to have more hurricanes because of climate change these ecosystems will be relatively resilient.”

    The team, co-led by California Institute of Technology and University of Colorado, Boulder, researchers, had been studying Little Ambergris Cay, an uninhabited island in Turks and Caicos, in particular the island’s microbial mats. Microbial mats are a squishy, spongey ecosystems that for eons have sustained a diverse array of life from the microscopic organisms that that make a home in the upper oxygenated layers to the mangroves it helps root and stabilize, which in turn provide habitats for even more species. Mats can be found all over the world in wildly different environments, but the variety this team studied are commonly found in tropical, saltwater-oriented places, exactly the coastal locations most vulnerable to severe storms.

    In September 2017, the eyewall of Category 5 Hurricane Irma directly hit the island the team had been working on.

    For eons microbial mats have hosted a diverse array of life from the microscopic organisms vital to the survival of the ecosystem. Credit: Johns Hopkins University.

    “Once we learned everyone was OK, we were uniquely well-poised to investigate how the mat communities responded to such a catastrophic disturbance,” Gomes said.

    The tropical cyclone’s impact was immediately devastating, choking the mats with a blanket of sandy sediment that decimated new growth. However, as the team checked on the site first in March 2018, then again in July 2018 and June 2019, they were excited to see the mats regrowing, with new mats visibly sprouting from the sand layer in as little as 10 months.

    New mat growth proceeded rapidly and suggested that storm perturbation may facilitate these ecosystems adapting to changing sea levels.

    “For islands and tropical locations with this type of geochemistry, Florida Keys would be one in the United States, this is sort of good news in that we think that the mangrove ecosystem as well as the microbial maps are pretty well stabilized and resilient,” said lead author Usha F. Lingappa, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California-Berkeley.

    The team also included: Co-senior author Woodward W. Fischer, Nathaniel T. Stein, Kyle S. Metcalfe, Theodore M. Present, Victoria J. Orphan and John P. Grotzinger, all of California Institute of Technology’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences; Andrew H. Knoll of Harvard University; and co-senior author Elizabeth J. Trower of the University of Colorado-Boulder.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    The Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $147.5 million in today’s currency)—of which half financed the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany’s historic Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE), Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research. The university has graduate campuses in Italy, China, and Washington, D.C., in addition to its main campus in Baltimore.

    Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C., with international centers in Italy and China. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood. The medical school, nursing school, and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university also consists of the Peabody Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, School of Education, Carey Business School, and various other facilities.

    Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and plays in the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member as of 2014.


    The opportunity to participate in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Hopkins’ undergraduate education. About 80 percent of undergraduates perform independent research, often alongside top researchers. In FY 2013, Johns Hopkins received $2.2 billion in federal research grants—more than any other U.S. university for the 35th consecutive year. Johns Hopkins has had seventy-seven members of the Institute of Medicine, forty-three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, seventeen members of the National Academy of Engineering, and sixty-two members of the National Academy of Sciences. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university as alumni, faculty members or researchers, with the most recent winners being Gregg Semenza and William G. Kaelin.

    Between 1999 and 2009, Johns Hopkins was among the most cited institutions in the world. It attracted nearly 1,222,166 citations and produced 54,022 papers under its name, ranking No. 3 globally [after Harvard University and the Max Planck Society (DE)] in the number of total citations published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals over 22 fields in America.

    In FY 2000, Johns Hopkins received $95.4 million in research grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, making it the leading recipient of NASA research and development funding. In FY 2002, Hopkins became the first university to cross the $1 billion threshold on either list, recording $1.14 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research. In FY 2008, Johns Hopkins University performed $1.68 billion in science, medical and engineering research, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total R&D spending for the 30th year in a row, according to a National Science Foundation ranking. These totals include grants and expenditures of JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

    The Johns Hopkins University also offers the “Center for Talented Youth” program—a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and developing the talents of the most promising K-12 grade students worldwide. As part of the Johns Hopkins University, the “Center for Talented Youth” or CTY helps fulfill the university’s mission of preparing students to make significant future contributions to the world. The Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center (DMC) is a multimedia lab space as well as an equipment, technology and knowledge resource for students interested in exploring creative uses of emerging media and use of technology.

    In 2013, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships program was established by a $250 million gift from Michael Bloomberg. This program enables the university to recruit fifty researchers from around the world to joint appointments throughout the nine divisions and research centers. For The American Academy of Arts and Sciences each professor must be a leader in interdisciplinary research and be active in undergraduate education. Directed by Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz, there are currently thirty-two Bloomberg Distinguished Professors at the university, including three Nobel Laureates, eight fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ten members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and thirteen members of the National Academies.

  • richardmitnick 9:55 am on May 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Topographies that talk", , , Earth Sciences, , Geomorphology: how landscapes form and evolve both on Earth and on other planets., Professor of Geology Taylor Perron, Understanding landscapes’ past is essential to navigating our precarious present as climate change imperils both natural and man-made environments.   

    From The MIT Technology Review: “Topographies that talk” 

    From The MIT Technology Review

    April 27, 2022
    Richard Byrne

    Credit: Taylor Perron.

    Dense, lush rainforests in the Amazon. Rivers and streams running through Appalachia’s green hills and mountains. Rocky coasts of the Hawaiian islands battered by seas. Each of these landscapes poses mysteries that inspire Taylor Perron’s research. What he sees as “whodunits” about the Earth itself require investigations into how past climate, erosion, and plate tectonics can explain the present topography of the planet’s surface—and even help predict its future.

    “As early as I was interested in Earth science, I think I had that sense,” says Perron, a professor of geology in the MIT department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) who specializes in geomorphology, studying how landscapes form and evolve both on Earth and on other planets.

    Many geomorphological whodunits begin in simple observation. For instance: One can observe that rivers all over the planet flow in branched patterns, but why?

    Perron’s research group at MIT discovered that a competition between two erosional mechanisms—the gradual movement of soil down slopes and the carving of valleys by rivers as they flow through a landscape over eons—creates these identifiable patterns. In a 2012 paper in Nature, they described the “erosional mechanics” at work, presenting a mathematical model that predicts both the pattern of river branches and their size—down to the smallest tributaries—based on a landscape’s climate and the strength of the rock or soil the waters are cutting into.

    That willingness to get to the bottom of big questions, applying tools from multiple disciplines to deduce the history of Earth’s landscapes and predict how they might respond to further environmental changes, earned Perron a 2021 MacArthur Foundation fellowship, better known as a “genius grant.”

    Many researchers see Perron as “the leading architect of a renaissance in geomorphology, transitioning the field from emphasis on qualitative descriptions toward physics-based modeling,” says Robert van der Hilst, Schlumberger Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and head of EAPS. And that renaissance is much needed. “Some of the most common patterns in landscape evolution, and the underlying processes that control them, have long remained stubbornly enigmatic,” he says.

    A stark difference in rainfall between opposite sides of volcanic islands like Kauai creates a “natural experiment” for understanding climate’s influence on landscapes. Credit: Taylor Perron.

    That’s because Earth’s dynamic and complex landscapes are not static masses but shifting environments that emerge as multiple forces, both natural and human-directed, at work upon the planet’s varied surfaces.

    To articulate the complexities of Earth’s physical processes and figure out how they shape the landscape, Perron and his team analyze a lot of data—from field observations, remote sensing instruments, high-resolution topographic surveys, and space missions. Then they use that data to develop and refine sophisticated quantitative models and computer simulations of landscape evolution. Perron also embraces interdisciplinary collaborations to add new detail and nuance to his research.

    “If you have to piece together what happened to the Earth—or even to another planet—or try to forecast what might happen in the future,” he says, “it is to your advantage to draw on as many different kinds of evidence as you can.”

    He has also found that a close analysis of Earth’s landscapes can deepen our understanding of the new worlds opened up by interplanetary exploration. The cold deserts of Mars and the methane atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan may be distant from our own world, but Perron and his team can discern dynamics similar to those on Earth, as well as key differences. Knowing the mechanics of our own planet’s rivers, for instance, suggests that the essential role of plate tectonics in shaping Earth’s landscapes had not been replicated on Mars or Titan.

    Understanding landscapes past is essential to navigating our precarious present as climate change imperils both natural and man-made environments. It also gives us tools to model and perhaps even shape our uncertain future as well.

    The Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, where Perron’s group is investigating how changes in the landscape through time have influenced the biodiversity of fish and other freshwater organisms. Credit: Taylor Perron.

    “Many of the landscapes we study have formed over thousands or millions of years,” Perron says. “Our work to measure how climate shapes landscapes helps give us an idea of what to expect as we continue to change Earth’s climate.

    “Looking into the past, even over pretty long periods into the past,” he continues, “is really important and relevant to what’s happening now and to what might happen in the near future—even over human time scales.”

    A river runs through it

    Perron’s work explores landscapes from the Amazon to Mars, but his journey began in New England. Even as a child in rural Vermont, he was curious about the whodunits glimpsed in the visible landscape.

    “One of the first times I remember thinking about science and the landscape in the same context,” he says, “was learning that the mountains that I could see when I was on my way to school had been underneath hundreds of meters of ice at some point.”

    Perron was left with a “sense that there was this enormous part of Earth’s history that wasn’t directly accessible to us,” he says. “You’re going to have to piece it together from whatever nature left around for you.”

    He delved into Earth and planetary sciences and archaeology as an undergrad at Harvard University, spent a year at the US Geological Survey, and got a PhD in Earth and planetary sciences at The University of California-Berkeley in 2006. After postdoctoral studies at Harvard, Perron joined the faculty at MIT, where he’s been piecing together Earth’s history since 2009.

    “We’re mostly interested in how rivers, mountains, and other landforms change over time,” says Perron of his research group’s focus. “That is the common thread—especially rivers—that runs through most, if not all, of our research.”

    Perron’s team has uncovered how bedrock rivers shape landscapes—and how the landscape’s evolution can reshape the networks rivers create. These rivers that flow over beds of rock, he says, drive topographical changes by creating steep-sloped valleys where surface material must fall downward: “Think about these networks of rivers, these spindly, branching treelike networks, as carving down into the rock and just dragging the rest of the surface along with them.”

    His research has expanded our understanding of the formation and substance of the so-called “critical zone”—a thin layer a few feet below Earth’s surface where rocks break down to form soil.

    To study how the complex variables of climate shape the landscape, his group is exploring such things as how extreme rainfall might affect the location, frequency, and severity of landslides, or how wave climate (wave intensity averaged over a year) affects the rate of coastal retreat or erosion. By looking at the varying wave climates on the Hawaiian islands, Perron and colleagues have measured how much faster a coast with larger waves erodes than a coast with smaller waves does.

    Nature itself has conducted vast and useful long-term experiments that can shed light on landscape evolution. “Complicated systems have so many different factors that can change and influence them,” he says. “We like to try to identify natural experiments. And that can include natural experiments in climate, where we try to find landscapes where nature has controlled for a number of key factors and changed one that is especially important, and we can study that.” For example, again looking at Hawaii, the side of the islands exposed to the trade winds is rainier and wetter, allowing researchers to gauge how rainfall influences river erosion.

    Lunar landscapes and lost lakes

    Perron’s work on the role of Earth’s rivers has also laid a foundation for his research on planetary landscapes. The same tools that allow us to read Earth’s history backward through its landscapes also help us understand more about the fate of now-vanished lakes and rivers on Mars, or how the methane rivers and lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan work.

    “The uptick in planetary exploration starting around 25 years ago has had a huge impact on my work,” he says. “I realized as a graduate student that many of the things I was learning as an Earth scientist could be applied to [other] planets.” His decision to expand his research beyond Earth was inspired in part by the global digital topographic map of Mars developed by MIT’s vice president for research Maria Zuber in the late 1990s, as well as the discovery of Titan’s active rivers.

    “It’s incredible how much we humans have learned about the solar system in such a short time,” he says. He also realized that studying other planets could inform his research on Earth. “Seeing Earthlike landforms on other planets is also a great opportunity to analyze experiments that nature has done for us,” he says.

    Obviously, scientists cannot do fieldwork on Mars or Titan. (“For now,” quips Perron.) “If we wanted to know how much water and sediment a river on Earth carries, we’d measure the size of the sediment on the riverbed and survey a cross-section of the river channel,” he says. “If we want to know how fast a mountain range is rising up or eroding away on Earth, we go collect samples there and bring them back to the lab. We can’t do any of those things on Mars or Titan. So we have to get creative.”

    Perron and his team blend information from planetary missions with their work on Earth’s surfaces to paint a picture of faraway landscapes. He says, “We know it rains methane on Titan, but we can’t see it happening—so my group estimated how hard it rains based on measurements of river networks in pictures from the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft mission. We also came up with a way to calculate how much water an ancient Martian river carried, or how much methane a modern Titan river carries, using only dimensions we can measure from orbit.”

    But Perron concedes that a lack of field samples means some questions must remain open for now: “How long did it take for Titan’s landscapes to form? Have they been active for billions of years? We don’t know yet.”

    Getting granular

    Perron sees collaboration with researchers in other disciplines as essential to answering foundational questions and expanding the boundaries of his research.

    “We’ve worked with colleagues at MIT who study everything from the carbon cycle to the physics of granular materials,” he says. “We’ve worked with colleagues at other institutions who study the genetics of fish, or the archeology of the ancient Amazon.”

    One important example is his work with mechanical engineering professor Ken Kamrin, who specializes in the mechanics and physics of granular materials, to study the movement of gravel and sand in rivers (known as sediment transport) that leads to erosion.

    “People have been studying how rivers move sediment for many years,” says Perron. “Ken has a fresh take on rivers and has opened my eyes to things that have been overlooked by people in my own field.”

    Their collaboration focuses particularly on how the size and shape of sediment grains affect sediment transport. “This is an interesting problem from the geophysical standpoint,” Kamrin says, “because more-sensitive modeling tools will lead to better predictions of bed erosion.”

    “Granular media is a notoriously difficult material to model,” he adds, but this research may even “lead to breakthroughs in modeling granular flow that apply beyond the riverbed context.”

    Perron also sees a bigger picture. “Ken’s approach to understanding the behavior of individual sediment grains, and then developing ways to scale that up to entire landforms, is inspiring,” he says. “One colleague recently summarized [the collaboration] as a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ We just keep discovering new aspects of granular dynamics in landscapes to explore together.”

    Studying landscapes’ effects on biodiversity is another interdisciplinary area attracting graduate students and postdocs to Perron’s team. Instead of asking the usual questions about how species are lost, they look at why some landscapes retain or enhance biodiversity.

    That biodiversity is under threat adds urgency to this research. “If you can understand what influences biodiversity and why some parts of Earth’s surface are much more diverse than others,” Perron says, “then hopefully we can do a better job of conserving it.”

    Other collaborations help when traditional geomorphological research hits a dead end. “Landscapes that form through erosion are hard to trace through time, because the erosion destroys the evidence of what they looked like in the past,” he says.

    Perron is intrigued by the work of Greg Fournier, an EAPS colleague who studies the genetic record of life on Earth. “Organisms that live in a landscape—and whose evolution depends on the landscape’s topography—might have preserved a more persistent record of a landscape’s past,” Perron says. Their DNA can serve as what he calls a molecular clock, giving geologists a new way to measure time.

    “If you can take advantage of this genetic data, in addition to geological data, you have really expanded your arsenal … to figure out what happened to the landscape—and how those two things might have influenced each other,” says Perron.
    Landscapes and life

    Maya Stokes, PhD ’21, tackled one aspect of the biodiversity question at Perron’s urging. “When I was deciding on where to go for graduate school,” Stokes recalls, “I was looking for research that involved mountains and rivers. But when he suggested we throw fish into the mix, I couldn’t resist.”

    Stokes’s dissertation examines how changes to river landscapes influence the evolution and distribution of aquatic organisms. Perron “pushed me to simultaneously consider big, generalizable scientific questions while also making sure I was focused on unraveling specific mechanisms and problems,” she says.

    Now a postdoctoral fellow in ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University, Stokes is using geomorphic research methods to collect and analyze DNA sequence data so she can piece together the intertwined histories of the fish and rivers of the Appalachian Mountains.

    “Scientists have long suggested that Earth processes have fundamentally altered the evolution of life,” says Stokes, “but with the advent of next-generation DNA sequencing techniques and ever-improving methods for piecing together the physical history of landscapes, we are now poised to understand the exact mechanisms that govern such links.”

    Perron plans to use his $625,000 MacArthur grant to collaborate with other researchers without having to wait for federal grant funding.

    The award won’t alter his course, however. “I really do think that the answers to some of the big questions about Earth and the solar system are recorded in landscapes,” he says.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on May 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Geophysics- Better insights into Earth’s interior", , , Earth Sciences, , Knowledge about the structure and composition of the Earth’s crust is important for understanding the dynamics of the Earth., LMU geophysicist Max Moorkamp has developed a new method whereby electrical conductivity and density in the Earth’s crust is combined and processed using a method derived from medical imaging., , The presence or absence of melt or fluids plays a major role in plate tectonic processes.   

    From Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE) : “Geophysics- Better insights into Earth’s interior” 

    From Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE)

    29 Apr 2022

    LMU geophysicist Max Moorkamp has developed a method that allows us to investigate the composition of the Earth with better results.

    Conductive structures at depths between 28 and 39 km, corresponding to the lower crust and uppermost mantle, colored by density anomaly. Red indicates below average density at this depth indicating a liquid conductive phase, blue indicates neutral to above average density, associated with a solid conductive phase or dry melt. The location of the Yellowstone Hotspot is marked by a yellow star. Credit: Geophysical Research Letters (2022).

    Knowledge about the structure and composition of the Earth’s crust is important for understanding the dynamics of the Earth. For example, the presence or absence of melt or fluids plays a major role in plate tectonic processes. Most our knowledge in this area comes from geophysical surveys. However, the relationship between measurable geophysical parameters and the actual conditions in the Earth’s interior is often ambiguous. To improve this state of affairs, LMU geophysicist Max Moorkamp has developed a new method, whereby data on the distribution of electrical conductivity and density in the Earth’s crust is combined and processed using a method derived from medical imaging. “The advantage is that the relationships between the two parameters are part of the analysis,” says Moorkamp. “For geophysical applications, this is completely new.”

    Using the new method, Moorkamp was able to show that previous assumptions about the spatial distribution of magma and fluids in the western United States may be overly simplified. Based on measurements of electrical conductivity, researchers had previously assumed that molten rock (magma) and fluids are widespread in geologically young and active regions, whereas older and stable regions are virtually fluid free. “However, the new results show a more complicated picture,” says Moorkamp. The electrical conductivity of molten rock and fluids is very similar to that of solid graphite and sulfides – in contrast to melts and fluids, however, these are a sign of old geologic activity.

    By virtue of his method, Moorkamp was able to distinguish between the two for the first time and so demonstrate that even in the very active region around Yellowstone, there are fluid-dominated structures directly adjacent to fluid-free areas with graphite and sulfides. From these findings, the geophysicist concludes that compared to current geologic activity, geologic history – i.e. earlier plate tectonic processes – have much greater influence on the location of fluids than previously assumed. This could require a revision of previous results not only in the United States but around the globe. In addition, the technique could be very useful in the search for geothermal energy or mineral deposits.

    Science paper:
    Geophysical Research Letters

    See the full article here.


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    Welcome to Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE) – the University in the heart of Munich. LMU is recognized as one of Europe’s premier academic and research institutions. Since our founding in 1472, LMU has attracted inspired scholars and talented students from all over the world, keeping the University at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change our complex world.

    Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE) is a public research university located in Munich, Germany.

    The University of Munich is Germany’s sixth-oldest university in continuous operation. Originally established in Ingolstadt in 1472 by Duke Ludwig IX of Bavaria-Landshut, the university was moved in 1800 to Landshut by King Maximilian I of Bavaria when Ingolstadt was threatened by the French, before being relocated to its present-day location in Munich in 1826 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1802, the university was officially named Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität by King Maximilian I of Bavaria in his as well as the university’s original founder’s honour.

    The University of Munich is associated with 43 Nobel laureates (as of October 2020). Among these were Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and Thomas Mann. Pope Benedict XVI was also a student and professor at the university. Among its notable alumni, faculty and researchers are inter alia Rudolf Peierls, Josef Mengele, Richard Strauss, Walter Benjamin, Joseph Campbell, Muhammad Iqbal, Marie Stopes, Wolfgang Pauli, Bertolt Brecht, Max Horkheimer, Karl Loewenstein, Carl Schmitt, Gustav Radbruch, Ernst Cassirer, Ernst Bloch, Konrad Adenauer. The LMU has recently been conferred the title of “University of Excellence” under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

    LMU is currently the second-largest university in Germany in terms of student population; in the winter semester of 2018/2019, the university had a total of 51,606 matriculated students. Of these, 9,424 were freshmen while international students totalled 8,875 or approximately 17% of the student population. As for operating budget, the university records in 2018 a total of 734,9 million euros in funding without the university hospital; with the university hospital, the university has a total funding amounting to approximately 1.94 billion euros.


    LMU’s Institute of Systematic Botany is located at Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg
    Faculty of chemistry buildings at the Martinsried campus of LMU Munich

    The university consists of 18 faculties which oversee various departments and institutes. The official numbering of the faculties and the missing numbers 06 and 14 are the result of breakups and mergers of faculties in the past. The Faculty of Forestry Operations with number 06 has been integrated into the Technical University of Munich [Technische Universität München] (DE) in 1999 and faculty number 14 has been merged with faculty number 13.

    01 Faculty of Catholic Theology
    02 Faculty of Protestant Theology
    03 Faculty of Law
    04 Faculty of Business Administration
    05 Faculty of Economics
    07 Faculty of Medicine
    08 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    09 Faculty for History and the Arts
    10 Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Study of Religion
    11 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
    12 Faculty for the Study of Culture
    13 Faculty for Languages and Literatures
    15 Faculty of Social Sciences
    16 Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics
    17 Faculty of Physics
    18 Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy
    19 Faculty of Biology
    20 Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Sciences

    Research centres

    In addition to its 18 faculties, the University of Munich also maintains numerous research centres involved in numerous cross-faculty and transdisciplinary projects to complement its various academic programmes. Some of these research centres were a result of cooperation between the university and renowned external partners from academia and industry; the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, for example, was established through a joint initiative between LMU Munich and the Deutsches Museum, while the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking resulted from the collaboration between the Parmenides Foundation and LMU Munich’s Human Science Center.

    Some of the research centres which have been established include:

    Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM)
    Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN)
    Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health
    Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)
    Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking
    Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

  • richardmitnick 8:26 pm on April 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Eclogite samples found in China push modern-type subduction events back to 2.5 billion years ago", , , , Earth Sciences, ,   

    Fromphys.org: “Eclogite samples found in China push modern-type subduction events back to 2.5 billion years ago” 


    April 20, 2022
    Bob Yirka

    Outcrop of Archean eclogite (dark layer, with red garnet and green pyroxene) interlayered with garnet-bearing metagabbro from the Shangying location. Credit: Lu Wang.

    A team of researchers from The China University of Geosciences[中国地质大学(武汉)](CN), has concluded that eclogite samples found at the northern Central Orogenic Belt within the North China Craton, show that modern-type subduction events occurred on Earth as far back as 2.5 billion years ago. They published their work in PNAS.

    As the researchers note, Earth scientists have not been able to pinpoint the time period when modern-type subduction events began occurring. Many have suggested that it likely began approximately 2.1 billion years ago because no evidence of it occurring any earlier than that has been found. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence showing that it goes back at least 2.5 billion years.

    Prior research has shown that eclogite forms when one of the planet’s tectonic plates slides under another. Researchers at China University of Geosciences have been studying Archean eon rocks in the Central Orogenic Belt for approximately 20 years. The site runs for approximately 1,600 kilometers. Such work has shown that the mountain belt was formed due to subduction events. Researchers there have, for example, found ophiolites in the rock—evidence that the material once resided on the ocean floor. They have also found mélanges in spots that appear to be the meeting point between plates. But it was study of eclogites found at the site by this most recent team that showed evidence of modern-type subduction events occurring at least 2.5 billion years ago. Analysis of the samples also showed evidence of metamorphosis as the rock changed due to the heat and pressure of the subduction event.

    Cut slab of Archean eclogite with red garnet and green pyroxene from the Shangying location. Credit: Lu Wang.

    The researchers found that the eclogite samples were originally formed as part of an ocean ridge that moved until reaching the subduction zone. After being pushed under a plate, the rock was exposed to temperatures between 792 and 890 C° and pressure as high as 19.8 to 24.5 kilobars. Such numbers suggested the rock had been pushed as far down as 65 km below the surface before later being pushed back up to the surface.

    See the full article here .


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