eNewsletter 2013 Q4

Department of Geoscience E-Newsletter, December 2013


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News & Announcements

2012-13 Outcrop Published

You may have already received your copy of The Outcrop in the mail. This issue reflects a re-alignment of publication schedule, where The Outcrop will be sent out at the end of each calendar year. In this issue, you will find news about the department, alumni, and friends. An electronic copy can be found here.

Geobadgers Gather at GSA

Over 150 Geobadgers gathered at our alumni reception during the GSA Annual Meeting at Denver in October. It was standing room only as we packed our section of the Rocky Bottom Brewery, as alums spanning over five decades reconnected with old friends and the department. Pictured are Marwan Wartes, Matt Kuchta, Mike Tryggestad, Chad Trabant, and Jen Tryggestad.



Badger Alum Receives M. King Hubbert and O.E. Meinzer Awards

Chunmiao Zheng, Ph.D. 1988, UW-Madison, pictured (U. of Alabama), will receive the M. King Hubbert Award from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) at their annual meeting in early December. The Hubbert Award is given in recognition of a major contribution to the groundwater industry through research, technical papers, teaching, and practical applications. Chunmiao is receiving the award for two major contributions – his internationally known code MT3DMS and his popular textbook on transport modeling in groundwater.

In October, Chunmiao received the O.E. Meinzer Award from the Geological Society of America. It is quite an achievement to receive both of these awards in a lifetime – let alone in the same year! Chunmiao is a professor of hydrogeology at the Univ. of Alabama and also Peking University, China, where he directs the Center for Water Resources.

Watch the Special Weeks Lecture by Emeritus Professors Bob Dott, Dave Mickelson and Gordon Medaris: Overview of Wisconsin Geology

Dott, Mickelson, MedarisWisconsin lies in the midst of the North American continent. It has no tall mountains, volcanoes, ocean shores, or glaciers today, but all of these existed at various times in the region’s past. We can read the history of Wisconsin in its rocks and soils, which bear witness to eons of deep intrusions, rifts, volcanic eruptions, flooding by the sea and deposition of sandstone and carbonate rocks, erosion over tens of millions of years, glaciation, and other events that shaped the land. Three emeriti of the department will present an overview of Wisconsin geology from Precambrian (Gordon Medaris, pictured, right) to Paleozoic (Robert Dott, left) to Quaternary (Dave Mickelson, center). You can watch this lecture here.

Geology Museum Exhibiting Signs of Life

meteoriteIn September, 300-square feet of our museum was transformed into a new exhibit, Biosignatures: What Does Life Leave Behind? Under the direction of Assistant Museum Director Brooke Norsted, this exhibit was made possible with funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute and lots of support from departmental researchers, namely Professors Clark Johnson (PI of the astrobiology propgram), John Valley, Eric Roden, Huifang Xu, as well as former post-doc Ken Williford and current Ph.D. candidate Liz Percak-Dennett. Highlights of the exhibit include Earth’s oldest rocks, fossils and, a very special addition to the museum’s collection (and on display for the first time in Wisconsin!)—a piece of Mars. As part of this exhibit (and with additional financial support from NASA and a private meteorite collector), we acquired this 27.1 gram piece of the Tissint Martian Meteorite that landed in Morocco in 2011.

Fundraising Highlights

Please Consider $10/Month Support for the Department

As you consider your year-end giving plans, please think of us. We realize that there are many important needs that compete for your generosity. The fiscal challenges to higher education are great, perhaps never greater, and your gifts are critical, no matter what the level. Last year, nearly 200 alumni gave to the Department, and these contributions funded field and research support for students, as well as seeded important new initiatives in the Department. This represents less than 10% of our living alumni, and our hope is to increase this percentage. For example, if half of our alumni gave $120/year ($10/month) to the Department, this would be sufficient, for example, to provide scholarships for all of our undergraduates for Field Camp, as well as fund two graduate student fellowships.

Gifts to the Geoscience Fund provides us the greatest flexibility in targeting current needs. In the 2012-13 issue of The Outcrop, which you may have already received, we highlight three funds for student support that you might consider contributing to. Briefly, these are:

Summer Field Camp Scholarships

field campSummer 2013 marked the 42nd year of UW-Madison’s participation in the Wasatch-Uinta field camp based in Park City. With the large increase in the number of our majors, and simultaneous increases in Field Camp costs, we cannot help all of our students in need. We therefore solicit your help in creating a Field Camp Scholarship fund. We hope to achieve a sustained giving level of $30K annually for Field Camp scholarships. Students here are mapping at summer field camp, 2013.

Sharon Meinholz Graduate Student Fund

Sharon MeinholzGeobadgers may remember that nine years ago we created the Sharon Meinholz Graduate Student Fund to remember Sharon, who passed away unexpectedly in 2004, and the main purpose of this fund was to support student travel to professional meetings. Our goal is to build up the fund to the $50K level so that it may provide partial annual meeting support for several students.


Jay C. Nania Endowed Graduate Support Fund

Jay Nania and the CraddocksAs many Geobadgers are aware, Geoscience alumnus Jay C. Nania (B.S. 1984, M.S. 1987) lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. Jay is pictured here, center, with Dottie and Professor Cam Craddock.

To honor Jay’s love of geology and his desire to help future Geobadgers, Jay’s wife Silvia has established the Jay C. Nania Endowed Graduate Support Fund at the UW Foundation. Our goal is to grow this fund to the $100K to $200K level over the next year so that it is sufficient to regularly provide research support for a student.

Information on how to give, either through the mail, on the phone, or online, may be found here.