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  • richardmitnick 8:05 pm on October 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dinosaur-killing asteroid triggered global tsunami that scoured seafloor thousands of miles from impact site", , , , , Paleoceanography,   

    From The University of Michigan: “Dinosaur-killing asteroid triggered global tsunami that scoured seafloor thousands of miles from impact site” 

    U Michigan bloc

    From The University of Michigan

    Jim Erickson

    Dinosaur-killing asteroid triggered global tsunami

    The miles-wide asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago wiped out nearly all the dinosaurs and roughly three-quarters of the planet’s plant and animal species.

    It also triggered a monstrous tsunami with mile-high waves that scoured the ocean floor thousands of miles from the impact site on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, according to a new University of Michigan-led study.

    The study, published online Oct. 4 in the journal AGU Advances [below], presents the first global simulation of the Chicxulub impact tsunami to be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. In addition, U-M researchers reviewed the geological record at more than 100 sites worldwide and found evidence that supports their models’ predictions about the tsunami’s path and power.

    “This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and erode sediments in ocean basins halfway around the globe, leaving either a gap in the sedimentary records or a jumble of older sediments,” said lead author Molly Range, who conducted the modeling study for a master’s thesis under U-M physical oceanographer and study co-author Brian Arbic and U-M paleoceanographer and study co-author Ted Moore.

    Energy impact

    The review of the geological record focused on “boundary sections,” marine sediments deposited just before or just after the asteroid impact and the subsequent K-Pg mass extinction, which closed the Cretaceous Period.

    “The distribution of the erosion and hiatuses that we observed in the uppermost Cretaceous marine sediments are consistent with our model results, which gives us more confidence in the model predictions,” said Range, who started the project as an undergraduate in Arbic’s lab in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

    The study authors calculated that the initial energy in the impact tsunami was up to 30,000 times larger than the energy in the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people and is one of the largest tsunamis in the modern record.

    The team’s simulations show that the impact tsunami radiated mainly to the east and northeast into the North Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest through the Central American Seaway (which used to separate North America and South America) into the South Pacific Ocean.

    Modeled tsunami sea-surface height perturbation, in meters, 24 hours after the asteroid impact. This image shows results from the MOM6 model, one of two tsunami-propogation models used in the University of Michigan-led study. Image credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022.

    In those basins and in some adjacent areas, underwater current speeds likely exceeded 20 centimeters per second (0.4 mph), a velocity that is strong enough to erode fine-grained sediments on the seafloor.

    In contrast, the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the region that is today the Mediterranean were largely shielded from the strongest effects of the tsunami, according to the team’s simulation. In those places, the modeled current speeds were likely less than the 20 cm/sec threshold.

    Geological corroboration

    For the review of the geological record, U-M’s Moore analyzed published records of 165 marine boundary sections and was able to obtain usable information from 120 of them. Most of the sediments came from cores collected during scientific ocean-drilling projects.

    The North Atlantic and South Pacific had the fewest sites with complete, uninterrupted K-Pg boundary sediments. In contrast, the largest number of complete K-Pg boundary sections were found in the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.

    “We found corroboration in the geological record for the predicted areas of maximal impact in the open ocean,” said Arbic, professor of earth and environmental sciences. He oversaw the project. “The geological evidence definitely strengthens the paper.”

    Of special significance, according to the authors, are outcrops of the K-Pg boundary on the eastern shores of New Zealand’s north and south islands, which are more than 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) from the Yucatan impact site.

    The heavily disturbed and incomplete New Zealand sediments, called olistostromal deposits, were originally thought to be the result of local tectonic activity. But given the age of the deposits and their location directly in the modeled pathway of the Chicxulub impact tsunami, the U-M-led research team suspects a different origin.

    “We feel these deposits are recording the effects of the impact tsunami, and this is perhaps the most telling confirmation of the global significance of this event,” Range said.

    Comparing models

    The modeling portion of the study used a two-stage strategy. First, a large computer program called a hydrocode simulated the chaotic first 10 minutes of the event, which included the impact, crater formation and initiation of the tsunami. That work was conducted by co-author Brandon Johnson of Purdue University.

    Based on the findings of previous studies, the researchers modeled an asteroid that was 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) in diameter, moving at 12 kilometers per second (27,000 mph). It struck granitic crust overlain by thick sediments and shallow ocean waters, blasting a roughly 100-kilometer-wide (62-mile-wide) crater and ejecting dense clouds of soot and dust into the atmosphere.

    Two and a half minutes after the asteroid struck, a curtain of ejected material pushed a wall of water outward from the impact site, briefly forming a 4.5-kilometer-high (2.8-mile-high) wave that subsided as the ejecta fell back to Earth.

    Ten minutes after the projectile hit the Yucatan, and 220 kilometers (137 miles) from the point of impact, a 1.5-kilometer-high (0.93-mile-high) tsunami wave—ring-shaped and outward-propagating—began sweeping across the ocean in all directions, according to the U-M simulation.

    At the 10-minute mark, the results of Johnson’s iSALE hydrocode simulations were entered into two tsunami-propagation models, MOM6 and MOST, to track the giant waves across the ocean. MOM6 has been used to model tsunamis in the deep ocean, and NOAA uses the MOST model operationally for tsunami forecasts at its Tsunami Warning Centers.

    Modeled tsunami sea-surface height perturbation, in meters, four hours after the asteroid impact. This image shows results from the MOM6 model, one of two tsunami-propogation models used in the University of Michigan-led study. Image credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022.

    “The big result here is that two global models with differing formulations gave almost identical results, and the geologic data on complete and incomplete sections are consistent with those results,” said Moore, professor emeritus of earth and environmental sciences. “The models and the verification data match nicely.”

    According to the team’s simulation:

    One hour after impact, the tsunami had spread outside the Gulf of Mexico and into the North Atlantic.
    Four hours after impact, the waves had passed through the Central American Seaway and into the Pacific.
    Twenty-four hours after impact, the waves had crossed most of the Pacific from the east and most of the Atlantic from the west and entered the Indian Ocean from both sides.
    By 48 hours after impact, significant tsunami waves had reached most of the world’s coastlines.

    Dramatic wave heights

    For the current study, the researchers did not attempt to estimate the extent of coastal flooding caused by the tsunami.

    However, their models indicate that open-ocean wave heights in the Gulf of Mexico would have exceeded 100 meters (328 feet), with wave heights of more than 10 meters (32.8 feet) as the tsunami approached North Atlantic coastal regions and parts of South America’s Pacific coast.

    Maximum tsunami wave amplitude, in centimeters, following the asteroid impact 66 million years ago. Image credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022.

    As the tsunami neared those shorelines and encountered shallow bottom waters, wave heights would have increased dramatically through a process called shoaling. Current speeds would have exceeded the 20 centimeters per second threshold for most coastal areas worldwide.

    “Depending on the geometries of the coast and the advancing waves, most coastal regions would be inundated and eroded to some extent,” according to the study authors. “Any historically documented tsunamis pale in comparison with such global impact.”

    The follow-up

    A follow-up study is planned to model the extent of coastal inundation worldwide, Arbic said. That study will be led by Vasily Titov of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, who is a co-author of the AGU Advances paper.

    In addition to Range, Arbic, Moore, Johnson and Titov, the study authors are Alistair Adcroft of Princeton University, Joseph Ansong of the University of Ghana, Christopher Hollis of Victoria University of Wellington, Jeroen Ritsema of the University of Michigan, Christopher Scotese of the PALEOMAP Project, and He Wang of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

    Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan Associate Professor Support Fund, which is supported by the Margaret and Herman Sokol Faculty Awards. The MOM6 simulations were carried out on the Flux supercomputer provided by the University of Michigan Advanced Research Computing Technical Services.

    Science paper:
    AGU Advances

    See the full article here .


    Please support STEM education in your local school system

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States, the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

    At over $12.4 billion in 2019, Michigan’s endowment is among the largest of any university. As of October 2019, 53 MacArthur “genius award” winners (29 alumni winners and 24 faculty winners), 26 Nobel Prize winners, six Turing Award winners, one Fields Medalist and one Mitchell Scholar have been affiliated with the university. Its alumni include eight heads of state or government, including President of the United States Gerald Ford; 38 cabinet-level officials; and 26 living billionaires. It also has many alumni who are Fulbright Scholars and MacArthur Fellows.


    Michigan is one of the founding members (in the year 1900) of the Association of American Universities. With over 6,200 faculty members, 73 of whom are members of the National Academy and 471 of whom hold an endowed chair in their discipline, the university manages one of the largest annual collegiate research budgets of any university in the United States. According to the National Science Foundation, Michigan spent $1.6 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 2nd in the nation. This figure totaled over $1 billion in 2009. The Medical School spent the most at over $445 million, while the College of Engineering was second at more than $160 million. U-M also has a technology transfer office, which is the university conduit between laboratory research and corporate commercialization interests.

    In 2009, the university signed an agreement to purchase a facility formerly owned by Pfizer. The acquisition includes over 170 acres (0.69 km^2) of property, and 30 major buildings comprising roughly 1,600,000 square feet (150,000 m^2) of wet laboratory space, and 400,000 square feet (37,000 m^2) of administrative space. At the time of the agreement, the university’s intentions for the space were not set, but the expectation was that the new space would allow the university to ramp up its research and ultimately employ in excess of 2,000 people.

    The university is also a major contributor to the medical field with the EKG and the gastroscope. The university’s 13,000-acre (53 km^2) biological station in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is one of only 47 Biosphere Reserves in the United States.

    In the mid-1960s U-M researchers worked with IBM to develop a new virtual memory architectural model that became part of IBM’s Model 360/67 mainframe computer (the 360/67 was initially dubbed the 360/65M where the “M” stood for Michigan). The Michigan Terminal System (MTS), an early time-sharing computer operating system developed at U-M, was the first system outside of IBM to use the 360/67’s virtual memory features.

    U-M is home to the National Election Studies and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The Correlates of War project, also located at U-M, is an accumulation of scientific knowledge about war. The university is also home to major research centers in optics, reconfigurable manufacturing systems, wireless integrated microsystems, and social sciences. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Life Sciences Institute are located at the university. The Institute for Social Research (ISR), the nation’s longest-standing laboratory for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences, is home to the Survey Research Center, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Center for Political Studies, Population Studies Center, and Inter-Consortium for Political and Social Research. Undergraduate students are able to participate in various research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as well as the UROP/Creative-Programs.

    The U-M library system comprises nineteen individual libraries with twenty-four separate collections—roughly 13.3 million volumes. U-M was the original home of the JSTOR database, which contains about 750,000 digitized pages from the entire pre-1990 backfile of ten journals of history and economics, and has initiated a book digitization program in collaboration with Google. The University of Michigan Press is also a part of the U-M library system.

    In the late 1960s U-M, together with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, founded the Merit Network, one of the first university computer networks. The Merit Network was then and remains today administratively hosted by U-M. Another major contribution took place in 1987 when a proposal submitted by the Merit Network together with its partners IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan won a national competition to upgrade and expand the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) backbone from 56,000 to 1.5 million, and later to 45 million bits per second. In 2006, U-M joined with Michigan State University and Wayne State University to create the the University Research Corridor. This effort was undertaken to highlight the capabilities of the state’s three leading research institutions and drive the transformation of Michigan’s economy. The three universities are electronically interconnected via the Michigan LambdaRail (MiLR, pronounced ‘MY-lar’), a high-speed data network providing 10 Gbit/s connections between the three university campuses and other national and international network connection points in Chicago.

  • richardmitnick 7:50 pm on May 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Palms at the Poles- Fossil Plants Reveal Lush Southern Hemisphere Forests in Ancient Hothouse Climate", Ancient plants provide clues about life on earth in a warmer and wetter climate., Arid today Australia was once covered by lush forests., In times with abundant CO2 plants were basically stuffing their faces., Morphology, Paleoceanography, , Plant fossils indicate the environments in which those plants lived., Plant groups can be used to quantitatively reconstruct the ancient climate in which a group of plants in a fossil assemblage was growing., Scientists can compare fossils to modern floras around the world and find the closest analogy., Southern Australia seems to have been largely forested., Taxonomy,   

    From The University of Connecticut: “Palms at the Poles- Fossil Plants Reveal Lush Southern Hemisphere Forests in Ancient Hothouse Climate” 

    From The University of Connecticut

    May 31, 2022
    Elaina Hancock

    Ancient plants provide clues about life on earth in a warmer and wetter climate.

    Arid today, Australia was once covered by lush forests, according to new research (Adobe Stock).

    For decades, paleobotanist David Greenwood has collected fossil plants from Australia – some so well preserved it’s hard to believe they’re millions of years old. These fossils hold details about the ancient world in which they thrived, and Greenwood and a team of researchers including climate modeler and research David Hutchinson, from the University of New South Wales, and UConn Department of Geosciences paleobotanist Tammo Reichgelt, have begun the process of piecing together the evidence to see what more they could learn from the collection. Their findings are published in Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology.

    The fossils date back 55 to 40 million years ago, during the Eocene epoch. At that time, the world was much warmer and wetter, and these hothouse conditions meant there were palms at the North [Global and Planetary Change] and South Pole [Nature] and predominantly arid landmasses like Australia were lush and green. Reichgelt and co-authors looked for evidence of differences in precipitation and plant productivity between then and now.

    Since different plants thrive under specific conditions, plant fossils can indicate what kinds of environments those plants lived in.

    By focusing on the morphology and taxonomic features of 12 different floras, the researchers developed a more detailed view of what the climate and productivity was like in the ancient hothouse world of the Eocene epoch.

    Reichgelt explains the morphological method relies on the fact that the leaves of angiosperms — flowering plants — in general have a strategy for responding to climate.

    “For example, if a plant has large leaves and it is left out in the sun and doesn’t get enough water, it starts to shrivel up and die because of excess evaporation,” Reichgelt says. “Plants with large leaves also lose heat to its surroundings. Finding a large fossil leaf therefore means that most likely this plant was not growing in an environment that was too dry or too cold for excess evaporation or sensible heat loss to happen. These and other morphological features can be linked to the environment that we can quantify. We can compare fossils to modern floras around the world and find the closest analogy.”

    The second approach was taxonomic. “If you travel up a mountain, the taxonomic composition of the flora changes. Low on the mountain, there may be a deciduous forest that is dominated by maples and beeches and as you go further up the mountain, you see more spruce and fir forest,” says Reichgelt. “Finding fossils of beech and maple therefore likely means a warmer climate then if we find fossils of spruce and fir.” Such climatic preferences of plant groups can be used to quantitatively reconstruct the ancient climate in which a group of plants in a fossil assemblage was growing.

    The results show that the Eocene climate would have been very different to Australia’s modern climate. To sustain a lush green landscape, the continent required a steady supply of precipitation. Warmth means more evaporation, and more rainfall was available to move into Australia’s continental interior. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the time, 1500 to 2000 parts per million, also contributed to the lushness via a process called carbon fertilization. Reichgelt explains that with the sheer abundance of CO2, plants were basically stuffing their faces.

    “Southern Australia seems to have been largely forested, with primary productivity similar to seasonal forests, not unlike those here in New England today,” Reichgelt says. “In the Northern Hemisphere summer today, there is a big change in the carbon cycle, because lots of carbon dioxide gets drawn down due to primary productivity in the enormous expanse of forests that exists in a large belt around 40 to 60 degrees north. In the Southern Hemisphere, no such landmass exists at those same latitudes today. But Australia during the Eocene occupied 40 degrees to 60 degrees south. And as a result, there would be a highly productive large landmass during the Southern Hemisphere summer, drawing down carbon, more so than what Australia is doing today since it is largely arid.”

    Hutchinson says the geological evidence suggests the climate is highly sensitive to CO2 and that this effect may be larger than what our climate models predict, “The data also suggests that polar amplification of warming was very strong, and our climate models also tend to under-represent this effect. So, if we can improve our models of the high-CO2 Eocene world, we might improve our predictions of the future.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Connecticut is a public land-grant research university in Storrs, Connecticut. It was founded in 1881.

    The primary 4,400-acre (17.8 km2) campus is in Storrs, Connecticut, approximately a half hour’s drive from Hartford and 90 minutes from Boston. It is a flagship university that is ranked as the best public national university in New England and is tied for 23rd in “top public schools” and tied for 63rd best national university in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report rankings. University of Connecticut has been ranked by Money Magazine and Princeton Review top 18th in value. The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university has been recognized as a “Public Ivy”, defined as a select group of publicly funded universities considered to provide a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    University of Connecticut is one of the founding institutions of the Hartford, Connecticut/Springfield, Massachusetts regional economic and cultural partnership alliance known as “New England’s Knowledge Corridor”. University of Connecticut was the second U.S. university invited into Universitas 21, an elite international network of 24 research-intensive universities, who work together to foster global citizenship. University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). University of Connecticut was founded in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School, named after two brothers who donated the land for the school. In 1893, the school became a land grant college. In 1939, the name was changed to the University of Connecticut. Over the next decade, social work, nursing and graduate programs were established, while the schools of law and pharmacy were also absorbed into the university. During the 1960s, University of Connecticut Health was established for new medical and dental schools. John Dempsey Hospital opened in Farmington in 1975.

    Competing in the Big East Conference as the Huskies, University of Connecticut has been particularly successful in their men’s and women’s basketball programs. The Huskies have won 21 NCAA championships. The University of Connecticut Huskies are the most successful women’s basketball program in the nation, having won a record 11 NCAA Division I National Championships (tied with the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team) and a women’s record four in a row (2013–2016), plus over 40 conference regular season and tournament championships. University of Connecticut also owns the two longest winning streaks of any gender in college basketball history.

  • richardmitnick 8:31 am on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Laura Haynes a paleoceanographer, , Paleoceanography, , The month–long International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 378,   

    From Rutgers University: “Postdoc Laura Haynes Searching for Climate Change Clues Under the Ocean Floor” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    February 24, 2020 [Just now in social media.]
    Craig Winston

    Laura Haynes cruises the world searching for core samples.

    It’s hard to pinpoint where you might find Laura Haynes, an EOAS post-doctoral fellow, for an interview. During a telephone chat she sounded far away. She explained why in a subsequent email.

    “I was actually in Fiji, eating breakfast before we headed out to board the ship,” she wrote. “We are now transiting nine days to our first coring site and will be drilling to about 670 meters below the sea floor in the hopes of recovering the K/Pg boundary.”

    Translation: The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary marks the mass extinction of the Earth’s dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. It’s represented by a thin band of rock [Actually, it is marked all around the world by a layer of Iridium, found by Luis and Walter Alvarez].

    Haynes, a paleoceanographer, is sailing on the month–long International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 378 with a collective of scientists from countries including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and Brazil. They staff a floating lab, covering it 24/7 on rotating 12-hour shifts. (The ship travels the world, drilling at five to eight locations on a cruise; this time there is only one stop for a long core drill.) The crew hopes that drilling into this new, unbroken core will enable them to reconstruct climate change in one location millions of years ago, revealing the answers to questions about the Earth’s climate history.

    International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 378 South Pacific Paleogene Climate.

    “It was records from ocean drilling that first showed that the ocean floor is spreading apart and causing the movement of tectonic plates, and that rapid climate change has happened in Earth’s past,” said Haynes. “While there are records of Earth history from many crucial time periods that exist on land, they are patchy and not always continuous. By contrast, sea floor muds can build up continuously and slowly over time and give us continuous records of Earth’s climate history.”

    Laura Haynes in the lab.

    Back in the lab, the scientists examine core samples from the drilling and meet twice a day to discuss their findings. Haynes’ role on the ship is as a sedimentologist; she describes the core samples that come up from the sea floor and determines their composition: fossil, clay, sand, or volcanic ash. The expedition continues long after each member returns home with samples they take back for further study. Their scientific community will stay intact as they synthesize their findings over the next few years.

    Her itinerary during the last year is an enviable one. Haynes earlier sailed on the Chilean drilling ship on a cruise to the Chile margin led by the Rutgers postdoc researcher Samantha Bova and EOAS faculty member Yair Rosenthal, both of the Department of Marine and Coast Sciences. They sought to understand how Patagonian glaciers and the South Pacific Ocean responded to climate change. “It was a huge success and a wonderful first experience on a drillship,” she said. “I am coming to understand that I was spoiled by the incredible wildlife we saw on the ship; we were encircled by albatrosses and seals for most of our expedition.”

    Her primary field of study involves using fossilized shells of plankton, “foraminifera,” to reconstruct the history of climate change. The shells are preserved in deep sea muds, and their chemical composition can indicate past climate such as ocean temperature, acidity, and circulation. “These are all things we’d like to understand so that we can better predict how modern climate change will affect the Earth system in the future.”

    Haynes was inspired to pursue a career in the sciences when she had an awakening in high school after watching “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s 2006 documentary intended to educate the public about global warming. After that, she intuitively understood that she wanted to dedicate her career to studying the environment.

    Haynes said: “When I got to undergrad, I was incredibly lucky in that my freshman adviser suggested I take a geology class. After going on my first few field trips, I knew that this was the field I wanted to be in, but I also knew that I wanted to apply it to understanding modern environmental change. With the study of past climate histories, I found this perfect balance.”

    Her educational background prepared her well for her research career. Haynes earned her undergraduate degree in geology from Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.), and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University. For her doctoral dissertation, she analyzed living foraminifera, spending two months in coastal field stations at Catalina Island, Calif., and Isla Magueyes, Puerto Rico.

    Perhaps a telltale sign of Haynes’ future came from her first job at age 14— as a counselor at a science camp for elementary students.

    “I didn’t have any idea then that I would be a scientist, but it does make a lot of sense in retrospect. “

    During her latest cruise, Haynes answered several questions about her work and life. A condensed version of her comments appears below:

    What was your best day on the job?

    In the lab, I always love a day when I get new data off the machine, knowing that I am the only person in the world that has this tiny new piece of knowledge.

    What are your career goals?

    I am incredibly excited that I will start an assistant professor position at Vassar College this fall. In my new position, I am thrilled to usher undergraduates through the research process, to conduct research on our new sediment cores, and to teach interdisciplinary classes related to oceanography, biogeochemistry, mass extinctions, and science communication.

    What’s your secret skill?

    I am very good at manipulating dust-sized microfossils with the smallest possible paintbrush. Working in paleoceanography has certainly honed my fine motor skills.
    Which professional accomplishment has given you the most pride?

    I got to mentor an undergraduate student, Ingrid Izaguirre, through a summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates project in 2018 at Columbia. She did a fantastic job and presented her findings at the American Geophysical Union conference that winter, explaining complicated ocean chemistry to interested listeners for four hours straight. I was incredibly proud of her work and presentation, and still get to see her progress as she is now a graduate student in paleoceanography.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

  • richardmitnick 11:27 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , (TA)-Total Alkalinity, , , , , , Paleoceanography, , The wet lab then becomes a bedlam of buckets containing rocks; corals; sponges; and shell fragments; occasional deep sea litter; and an assortment of marine creatures that I have never seen before., You need to know how to tie knots.   

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute: “Darling it’s better, Down in a Wet(ter) Lab at Sea” 

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute

    Jill Brouwer

    Cruise Log: The Great Australian Deep-Sea Coral and Canyon Adventure

    Trying to understand a constantly moving ocean system is a huge challenge. Accurately measuring the chemistry of the ocean is important for understanding many processes, including nutrient and carbon cycling; ocean circulation and movement of water masses; as well as ocean acidification and climate change. On this expedition, the water chemistry team has the important job of analyzing the seawater in three canyon systems. We are measuring Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) and Total Alkalinity (TA) on board, while also saving samples for later analysis of stable isotopes, trace elements, and nutrients.

    Jill and Carlin using the CTD rosette to collect water samples from the depths of the Bremer Canyon.

    Knotty and Nice

    There are some quirks of successfully doing chemistry at sea that I definitely did not consider before this voyage. Firstly, you need to know how to tie knots. Making sure all the instruments, reagent bottles, and yourselves are secured is just as important as doing the actual chemistry. The precious sample counts for nothing if it flies across the room because you forgot to put it on a non-slip mat. The movement of the boat transforms normal lab activities into fun mini challenges – opening oven or fridge doors as the ship moves with the weather, pipetting as you hit a large wave, storing sample vials in a giant freezer. It is weird (but comforting) to see our analytical instruments strapped to the bench, and doing most of my work out of a sink – the safest place to keep samples. I particularly enjoy the arts and crafts component that comes with bubble wrapping and storing samples to prevent them from being damaged by sudden movements.

    After the chemistry work is done for the day, ROV SuBastian [below] comes aboard with all kinds of creepy-crawlies from the deep sea. All the biology and geology samples that have been collected from the dive are carried into the wet lab to be sorted, processed, and archived. The lab then becomes a bedlam of buckets containing rocks, corals, sponges, shell fragments, occasional deep sea litter, and an assortment of marine creatures that I have never seen before. Surrounding these specimens is an eclectic mix of scientists who all bring their own unique interests and passions to the group.


    To name a few; Julie, Paolo, and their team are interested in finding calcifying corals for their paleoceanography studies. They study the chemistry of the ocean thousands of years ago, recorded by coral skeletons when they were formed. We also have Andrew from the Western Australian Museum, who is doing his PhD on specialized barnacles that live in sponges, but is interested in pretty much everything. It is not just the big things we are looking for either. Aleksey and Netra are on the lookout for tiny single-cell organisms called Foraminifera that we have found in the water column, sediments, and attached to things like corals and whale bones.

    Netra, Jill, and Angela investigating the latest samples to arrive in the wet lab of R/V Falkor.

    This Stephanocyanthus is a soft cup coral.

    This Caryophylliidae is from a family of stony corals.

    Working in a wet lab at sea has its share of challenges, but considering the important scientific discoveries that are facilitated by us being out here, the cool (and in some cases totally new) marine life we are encountering, as well as the incredible views of sun glint and waves through the lab window, I would not choose to be anywhere else. To all the undergraduate students reading this, I encourage you to seek out as much volunteer/work experience as you can. Getting involved in science firsthand is an invaluable experience: you get to work with incredible people, gain useful skills, and learn so much more about yourself and your areas of interest than you can from the classroom. Perhaps most importantly, you get to share all the exciting things you learn with others!


    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Our Vision
    The world’s oceans understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information.

    Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor

    Schmidt Ocean Institute ROV Subastian

    Schmidt Ocean Institute is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit operating foundation established in March 2009 to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans.

    Since the Earth’s oceans are a critically endangered and least understood part of the environment, the Institute dedicates its efforts to their comprehensive understanding across intentionally broad scope of research objectives.

    Eric and Wendy Schmidt established Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 as a seagoing research facility operator, to support oceanographic research and technology development focusing on accelerating the pace in ocean sciences with operational, technological, and informational innovations. The Institute is devoted to the inspirational vision of our Founders that the advancement of technology and open sharing of information will remain crucial to expanding the understanding of the world’s oceans.

  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on December 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Paleoceanography,   

    From Eos: “Reconstructing 150 Million Years of Arctic Ocean Climate” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    18 December 2019
    David Shultz

    The drillship Vidar Viking, operated by the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, sits amid Arctic sea ice during the International Ocean Discovery Program’s Arctic Coring Expedition in 2004. Sediment cores collected during the expedition were used in a recent study to shed light on Arctic climate over the past 150 million years. Credit: Martin Jakobsson ECORD/IODP

    The high northern latitudes of the Arctic—seen as the canary in the coal mine for modern climate change—are warming at an outsized rate compared with elsewhere on the planet. Already, experts predict that the Arctic Ocean might be ice free during summer months in as little as 40–50 years. The trend has researchers concerned that resulting feedbacks, especially reductions in Earth’s albedo as ice increasingly melts, may lead to rapid changes in the global climate.

    To understand how the future could play out, scientists look back to other warm periods in Earth’s history. Despite the Arctic’s critical role in Earth’s climate, however, data about the sea ice and climate history of the region are limited. Here Stein compiles a review of the existing literature on Arctic climate from the late Mesozoic era (about 150 million to 66 million years ago) through the ongoing Cenozoic era [Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology].

    In the late Mesozoic, Earth’s atmosphere was characterized by much higher atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and much higher average temperatures than today. Then, during the past 50 million years or so, the planet experienced a dramatic long-term cooling trend, culminating in the glacial and interglacial cycles of the past 2.5 million years and the most recent ongoing interglacial period, in which rapid anthropogenic warming is occurring.

    Much of the data presented in the review are from the International Ocean Discovery Program’s Expedition 302, called the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX), which was the first scientific drilling effort in the permanently ice covered Arctic Ocean. Examining geological records from sediment cores offers insights into previous climates on Earth and helps scientists disentangle natural and human-caused effects in the modern climate. The author combines and compares grain size, marine microfossil, and biomarker data from the ACEX sediment cores with information from terrestrial climate data, other Arctic and global marine climate records, and plate tectonic reconstructions to create a history of Arctic conditions reaching back into the Cretaceous period.

    The results reveal numerous periods of warming and cooling, but overall, the planet’s temperature has mirrored trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide, with the transition from the warm Eocene to the cooler Miocene coinciding with a drop in carbon dioxide concentrations from above 1,500 to below 500 parts per million over a period of roughly 25 million years.

    Although late Miocene climate and sea ice conditions might have been similar to those proposed to be in our near future, the rate of change in the late Miocene was very different from today. Whereas the ongoing change from permanent to seasonal sea ice cover in the central Arctic Ocean, strongly driven by anthropogenic forcing, is occurring over a timescale of decades, the corresponding change in the late Miocene probably occurred over thousands of years.

    The author also highlights that as much as the sediment data reveal, there are also gaps in the understanding of the record. A long interval in which sedimentation rates slowed to a crawl during the early Cenozoic era, for example, presents challenges to scientists analyzing the Arctic climate history during the Miocene, Oligocene, Eocene, and Paleocene epochs. The cause of this slowdown remains a mystery to researchers, which, the author notes, emphasizes the importance of securing additional sediment cores from the Arctic on future scientific drilling expeditions to help fill the holes in the timeline.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 4:40 pm on November 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Paleoceanography,   

    From Eos: “Sea Caves Hold Clues to Ancient Storms” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    22 November 2019
    Lakshmi Supriya

    To collect sediment cores, the team’s rig anchored on the Thatch Point blue hole in the Bahamas. Credit: Jeffrey Donnelly

    Sediments deposited in ocean caves are not all the same. Sediments deposited when a storm passes are different from those deposited in normal weather.

    This difference is helping scientists unravel when hurricanes blew by various points in the Atlantic Ocean, going back about 1,500 years. Figuring out the timelines of old cyclones may help validate computer models and provide insights into future hurricanes.

    Records of old hurricanes go back only about 150 years, and such intense storms are relatively rare, making it difficult to obtain statistically significant data. “The real value of using geological records to go back further in time [is that it] allows us to look at a lot more storms,” said Amy Frappier, a paleoclimatologist at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who was not involved in the study.

    Sediments deposited in lakes or seas make up one such record. During normal weather, the sediments deposited are soft, with almost cold cream–like consistency. But when a big storm passes by, it rakes up and deposits coarse sediments that normal tides can’t move. Thus, if one digs up sediments without disturbing the layers, by looking where the coarse material was dumped, one can figure out when large storms passed by.

    Go Blue

    In a new study published in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, Jeffrey Donnelly of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts targeted blue holes. Blue holes are ocean caves that formed when sea levels were much lower. The roofs of the caves collapsed, and when the sea level rose much higher, they formed big holes at the bottom of the ocean.

    “It’s sort of the perfect sediment trap for the sorts of records we are after,” said Donnelly. “Hurricane sediments can get in but can’t get out.”

    Sediment cores from blue holes were analyzed for coarse grains, which indicate hurricane activity. Credit: Lakshmi Supriya

    So Donnelly and his team dug about 20 meters into blue holes off South Andros Island, Bahamas, to bring up sediment cores comprising a record going back to about 1,500 years. (Radiocarbon dating of organic matter like leaves trapped in the sediments indicated the age of the sediments.) The team also collected shorter sediment cores from two other blue holes to corroborate the results. The cores were analyzed in the lab for coarse grains, indicating hurricane activity.

    The analysis revealed that the frequency of hurricane landfall on South Andros in the past 1,500 years varied between quiet periods and periods of intense storms. Periods of powerful storms occurred when the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure belt near the equator, was far north, suggesting it influenced tropical storms. Researchers also noted the early part of the 13th century was uncharacteristically quiet. They think the reason may be unusually high volcanic activity.

    The team also compared the data to similar data from the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast of the United States. Increased storm activity in South Andros corresponded to increased landfalls in the Gulf of Mexico. But surprisingly, the East Coast saw more hurricanes when South Andros was relatively quiet. It’s likely that storm tracks have been moving northward in the past millennium, the authors suggest.

    “If we can determine there are natural cycles in hurricane occurrences and strength, this gives researchers some skill in predicting future storms,” said Kristine DeLong, a paleoclimatologist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge who was not involved in the study. Computer models can then be refined using all these past data to make better predictions.

    When such reconstructions from different parts of the world are put together, they may help create a map of ancient tropical storms and help us be better prepared for future storms.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 2:48 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Paleoceanography, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology   

    From Eos: “A Sea Change in Paleoceanography’ 

    AGU bloc

    Eos news bloc


    22 May 2017
    Ellen Thomas

    After 32 years of existence, the journal Paleoceanography is changing its name. On January 1, 2018, it will become Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. This reflects the growth, expansion and evolution of a field of research over the years, and is not a major change of course, nor a break with the journal’s history.


    In 1986, Jim Kennett, Paleoceanography’s founding editor, asked for contributions dealing with all aspects of understanding and reconstructing Earth’s past climate, biota and environments, while emphasizing global and regional understanding. At the time, such research papers were based dominantly on the marine sedimentary record, with study materials commonly supplied by scientific ocean drilling.

    Since then, the technologies of sampling, sample analysis, data analysis and model development have evolved greatly and rapidly. Articles in Paleoceanography today routinely compare and combine proxy records from ice cores, speleothems, terrestrial sediments and/or lake deposits with multiple stacked proxy records from marine sediment cores, while data are integrated into a broad spectrum of geochemical, earth system, ecosystem and climate models.

    The process of recognition of this de-facto expansion in scope of Paleoceanography has taken a few years. It was started in 2014 by then Editor-in-Chief, Chris Charles, who announced in Eos that the journal was expanding to ‘embrace all aspects of global paleoclimatology’. The journal’s name was amended (informally) to “Paleoceanography: An AGU Journal exploring Earth’s Paleoclimate.” New Associate Editors with a broad variety of expertise joined the editorial board.

    Finally, after discussions at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting, the leadership of the AGU Focus Group Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology, together with the journal editors, organized a survey to gauge the community’s opinion. A large majority (~65%) of the 751 respondents was in favor of a change in the name of the journal.

    Inserting the word ‘climate’ into the name allows us to celebrate the growth and evolution of our scientific undertaking. Understanding climates of the past has been an integral part of earth sciences since their early days. Lyell (1830–1833) devoted three chapters in ‘Principles of Geology’ to cyclically changing climates (as shown by fossil distributions), influenced by the position of the continents: the present as key to the past. Chamberlin (1906) wondered how Earth’s climate could have remained sufficiently stable to allow life to persist, ‘without break of continuity’, writing that ‘On the further maintenance of this continuity hang future interests of transcendent moment’. With foresight, he argued that for such continuity to persist ‘a narrow range of atmospheric constitution, notably in the critical element carbon dioxide, has been equally indispensable’.

    In the near future, we may move outside the range of concentrations of atmospheric CO2 as they have been for tens of millions of years, as documented in a number of papers using various proxies, with quite a few of these published in Paleoceanography. We now use, in addition to fossils, a broad and growing range of stable isotope compositions, trace element concentrations and organic biomarkers in fossils and sediments as quantitative proxies for a growing number of environmental properties (e.g., temperature, oxygenation, pH, pCO2).

    In our present time of environmental change, it is, more than ever, important to use proxy data on Earth’s past in order to evaluate Earth’s future, thus making our past a key guide to our future.

    Paleoceanography has always aimed to publish thorough, innovative studies which add to our understanding of the planet on which we live, and the past variability in its environments over the full range of Earth history. It will continue to do so under its new name. Any paper submitted after July 1, 2017 will be considered under the new title, and all papers accepted after December 1, 2017 will be published under the new title.

    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 1:15 pm on October 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Intertropical Convergence Zone, Paleoceanography, Paleography   

    From Eos: “Simulating the Climate 145 Million Years Ago” 

    Eos news bloc


    Shannon Hall

    A new model shows that the Intertropical Convergence Zone wasn’t always a single band around the equator, which had drastic effects on climate.

    Upper Jurassic (145- to 160-million-year-old) finely laminated organic carbon-rich shale interspersed with homogeneous, low-carbon mudrock of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation in Kimmeridge Bay, England. Variation in rock type reflects the ocean response to a monsoon-like climate 30°N during the Late Jurassic. Credit: Howard Armstrong

    The United Kingdom was once a lush oasis. That can be read from sediments within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation, which were deposited around 160 to 145 million years ago on Dorset’s “Jurassic Coast.” A favorite stomping ground for fossil hunters and the source rock for North Sea oil, the formation is rich in organic matter, which suggests that it likely formed when global greenhouse conditions were at least 4 times higher than present levels.

    Normally, organic matter disappears rapidly after an organism dies, as the nutrients are consumed by other life forms and the carbon decays. However, when the seas are starved of oxygen, which occurs when plankton numbers swell owing to increasing levels of carbon dioxide, then organic matter is preserved. An abundance of so-called black shales, or organic-rich muds, within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation points to this past.

    Here Armstrong et al. used those black shales to build new climate simulations that better approximate the climate toward the end of the Jurassic period. The model simulated 1422 years of time that suggested a radically different Intertropical Convergence Zone—the region where the Northern and Southern Hemisphere trade winds meet—than the one today. The convergence of these trade winds produces a global belt of clouds near the equator and is responsible for most of the precipitation on Earth.

    This figure shows the path (in red) of the Intertropical Convergence Zone as it forks, where the Pacific Ocean met the western coast of the American continents. Credit: Armstrong et al. [2016]

    Today the Intertropical Convergence Zone in the Atlantic strays, at most, 12° away from the equator. However, 145 million years ago, when the continents were still much closer together, the model showed that the zone split, like a fork in the road, where the Pacific Ocean met the western coast of the American continents. The zone was driven apart by the proto-Appalachian mountain range to the north and the North African mountains to the south. The northern fork, which was much stronger than the southern one, extended as far as about 30° north, passing over the United Kingdom and the location of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation.

    Not only were the researchers able to verify that the United Kingdom was once a tropical oasis, but they were also able to simulate and map the climate 145 million years ago—research that will help scientists better understand how Earth will react to anthropogenic warming today and in the future. (Paleoceanography, doi:10.1002/2015PA002911, 2016)

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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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.

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