The Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University sponsors a seminar series, a writing workshop series, student proposal sessions, and thesis and dissertation defenses.

Fall 2015 Seminar Series

Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
Wild Places: The Adventures of an Exploration Geologist
This presentation is about a life of prospecting for mineral deposits in some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. Dr. Linder will speak about his adventures on an Antarctic expedition to the Transantarctic Mountains and the Ross Ice Shelf in 1961-1962. He will describe being weather-bound by whiteout conditions in a small two-man tent only a few hundred miles from the South Pole and the dangers of crossing unknown crevasse fields. You will learn about prospecting and mineral exploration and the detailed history of two major discoveries that he made as a consulting geologist. Dr. Harold Linder has worked as an exploration geologist on all seven continents over the past fifty years after graduating from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the University of Minnesota. Linder Peak in the Heritage Range, Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica is named in his honor.
     Dr. Harold Linder
     Consulting geologist, Harold Linder & Assoc., Inc.

Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
New Insights Into the Stratigraphic Framework of the Middle-Upper Devonian Transition in the Michigan Basin
High-resolution stratigraphic correlation of Middle and Upper Devonian strata in the Michigan Basin is hindered by a lack of extensive outcrops, complex lithofacies changes across the basin, and limited previous work on conodont and brachiopod biostratigraphy. We present new litho-, bio-, sequence- and chemostratigraphic data from both core and outcrop (including many type-sections) from throughout the basin, and our resulting working-model chronostratigraphic framework. Stratigraphic units included in this study are the constituent formations of the upper Traverse Group in Michigan, the Thiensville and Milwaukee Formations of Wisconsin, and the overlying Antrim Shale Formation which is found throughout the extent of the basin.
     Dr. Jay Zambito
     Assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Extension
     Geologist, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
Martian Soil Occurrence in Some Meteorites Coming from Mars
Among several meteorites found on Earth, there are some meteorites that come from Mars which are known as “SNC” or Martian meteorites. Using a variety of experimental techniques, planetary scientists have established that they indeed originate from the surface of Mars.  Some of these Martian meteorites contain impact melt (IM) glasses produced as result of shock heating by the meteoroid impact on Mars that launched these objects into space.  On mass-spectrometric analysis they yield noble gases whose elemental and isotopic composition is very similar to that of Martian atmosphere, thereby providing unequivocal evidence for their Martian origin. Some of these IM glasses contain large excesses of sulfur (occurring as sulfides, sulfites and sulfates mixed in different proportions) compared to the host meteorite in which they are embedded. Sulfur is known to be ubiquitously occurring on Mars surface based on Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity rover-measurements. In general, it is considered as a characteristic signature of Martian soil. The analytical studies of these IM glasses by the state of art advanced experimental techniques using S- K XANES, EPMA, Nano-SIMS, FE-SEM, TIMS and Noble gas mass spectrometric methods in our labs show several diagnostic features that are consistent with Martian soil characteristics. These results provide strong evidence for the incorporations of Martian soil constituents into the glass-precursors prior to the impact on Mars surface.  Some of the IM glasses (though their availability is very small in quantity, i.e., in milligrams) could serve as potential source of Martian soil for terrestrial laboratory studies at present till the Mars- Sample- Return- Mission brings the Mars samples back to Earth in future. Some recent developments in this area will be presented.
     Dr. M.N. Rao
     Senior scientist, Johnson Space Center

Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
The Department of Geosciences 50th Anniversary Video Series, Part II
The middle years: 1980s - 2000s    
     Jennifer Trout
Staff geologist, Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education

Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
The Geology of Hebes Chasma, Valles Marineris, Mars
Hebes Chasma is an 8 km deep, 126 by 314 km, isolated basin that is partially filled with massive deposits of water altered strata called interior layered deposits (ILD). By analyzing the ILD’s structure, stratigraphy and mineralogy, as well as the perimeter faults exposed in the plateau adjacent to the chasma, the evolution and depositional history of Hebes Chasma is interpreted. Three distinct ILD units were found and hydrated sulfates were detected on them implying that conditions were wet within the chasma during and/or after deposition. Chasma evolution appears to be controlled by cross-faults that progressively detached sections of the wall. A scenario involving the loss of subsurface volume and ash fall events is proposed as the dominant setting throughout Hebes’ geologic history.
     Gene Schmidt
     Recent graduate, master's in Earth science (with a focus in Martian geology)
     Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
     Steve Brown
   Chief scientist & Senior Geologist, Illinois State Geological Survey

Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
     Dr. Jason Thomason
Associate Hydrogeologist and Section Head, Hydrogeology and Geophysics, Illinois State Geological Survey

Fall 2015 Writing Workshop Series: Writing in the Geosciences

Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, from 2-3:30 p.m. in 2209 Rood Hall
The Literature Review
How to Acknowledge the Ideas of Others Correctly, Effectively, and Ethically
Undergraduate and graduate-level students alike are encouraged to attend this workshop in order to refresh and reevaluate the ways that they think about and utilize geosciences literature. Here, we’ll discuss the role of the literature review, where at WMU you can access geosciences specific resources, and how to incorporate the ideas of others into your work correctly, effectively, and ethically.

Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, from 2-3:30 p.m. in 2209 Rood Hall
Academic Science Writing
What it is, Why it Exists, When to use it, and How to do so Effectively
Come one, come all, to this special presentation by Dr. Maria Gigante from the Department of English. “Ooh” as she outlines the unique characteristics of science writing compared to other, more familiar styles! “Aah” as she reveals the secrets of how to be persuasive in scientific prose!

Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, from 2-3:30 p.m. in 2209 Rood Hall
The Anatomy of a Journal Article
The Subtle Art of Structure, Rhetoric, and Understanding Audience

In this workshop we’ll build on the previous workshop about academic science writing by examining recently published papers in order to develop a concrete understanding of their structure, audience, and rhetorical needs. Next, we’ll discuss how to begin the process of converting your thesis/dissertation into a manuscript fit for submission.

Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, from 2-3:30 p.m. in 2209 Rood Hall
Preparing For Battle
Submitting to Journals
So you’ve written a manuscript. Now what? Learn how to understand submission requirements, navigate official versus in-house style guides, and collaborate with editors.