On July 4, GRCC’s seismometer (GRMI) recorded a magnitude 6.4 earthquake west of the Searles Valley in Southern California (the first earthquake on July 4 is a M6.2 along the west coast of Canada). This was followed a day later by a larger M7.1 earthquake. Below, you can see the differences in the earthquake seismograms reflecting the difference in energy release between a M6.4 and a M7.1 earthquake. The USGS website has maps and more details about both events.
This summer, GRCC alumnus Eric Schuemann is New Mexico and Colorado exploring the terrain and rocks around Santa Fe, Taos and the Sangre de Christos Mountains, all in the name of science! As a geology major at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), Eric is completing a required element of all geology degrees, a summer field course. The 5-week field camp is run by the Missouri State Tectonics Team, part of the geological sciences program at Missouri State University. Team members are teaching Eric and his classmates field methods that are helping them unravel the geologic history of this spectacular terrain in Colorado and New Mexico. Eric just graduated from GVSU this year and we are excited to see where he goes next. Where will your GRCC degree take you?
On May 26th , a magnitude 8.0 earthquake shook Peru. The earthquake was located in the Nazca Plate at a depth of 110 km below the surface. In this region, the Nazca Plate is being stretched as it is sucked under the South American Plate. Subduction of the Nazca Plate is the source of most of the powerful earthquakes along the Pacific coast of South America, including the largest earthquake ever recorded on Earth. This 1960 earthquake had a magnitude of 9.5 and generated Pacific-wide tsunami. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami killed thousands. In contrast, this most recent earthquake occurred entirely within the Nazca Plate at an intermediate depth with the epicenter in a remote location of Peru. There were dozens of injuries and two fatalities reported as well as significant damage to structures in the area. The images below are of the earthquakes seismogram, recorded 9 minutes after the earthquake on GRCC’s seismic station located over 5000 kilometers away!
Leaders from Grand Rapids Community College want more students to be able to get scholarships to go to GRCC and they also want to improve their facilities. Today, we’ll learn how the school plans on doing that. They’ll tell us about their new campaign during a news conference at 10 o’clock this morning.
5/10/19 Grand Rapids Business Journal
… Grand Rapids Community College has identified nearly 300 students who met all of the requirements for an associate degree but never claimed it.
5/10/19 Grand Rapids Business Journal
Grand Rapids Community College student Jake Dabkowski teamed up with Kendall College of Art and Design students Aiden Wysocki, Matthew Veenhoven and Jonathan Moroney, winning first place and $4,000 from MWest Challenge, a student venture competition for pitching a business that would help summer camps handle medications.
Grand Rapids Community College geology students Maegan Bouwens and Madison Jones will spend four weeks doing fieldwork through a fully funded research experience at the University of Texas-El Paso to study 34- to 56-million-year-old igneous rocks in El Paso. The students will continue their research in Michigan.
5/10/19 schoolnewsnetwork.org (Kent Intermediate School District newsletter)
Now that the gold dust has settled on the Godfrey-Lee wrestling season, coach James Maxim has some time to think about the team’s record-breaking accomplishments.
… As for team leader Enrique (Moreno-Martinez), he will never forget the adversity and experiences he had with Lee wrestling, even as he moves on to study culinary arts at Grand Rapids Community College next fall.
5/10/19 ferris.edu (Ferris State University press release)
GRAND RAPIDS — Ferris State University President David Eisler announced today the appointment of Tara McCrackin, associate professor of Interior Design at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) as the interim president of the college.
… McCrackin serves on the Grand Rapids Community College Interior Design Advisory Board and as president of the Michigan chapter of the International Interior Design Association. She donates her time to Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids, and most recently completed the interior design for their new facility opening this summer.
The Physical Sciences Department is proud to present our department’s student award winners for 2018-2019. The winners were presented their award at the GRCC Student Leadership Banquet on March 28. From left to right- Madison Jones for Excellence in Geology, Andrew Hulsman for Excellence in Chemistry, and Janine Sweetman for Excellence in Physics.
Madison Jones (Geology) plans to pursue her BS in geology at GVSU. Madison was one of only 7 students selected for a fully-funded geology research program this summer at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Andrew Hulsman is working on completing his BS in Chemistry at GVSU and will be applying to Physician Assistant programs while working full-time as an EMT and going to school full-time.
Janine Sweetman plans to transfer to the University of Michigan to pursue her degree in environmental engineering. Her goals after her degree are to work with corporations to assist them in minimizing their footprints on the environment along with specializing in water quality to prevent threats to the local watersheds like PFAS.
Congratulations to our award winners!
This summer, GRCC geology students Maegan Bouwens and Madison Jones are heading to Texas to conduct field research in geology! They were two of only seven students nationwide invited to participate in a fully-funded research experience at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
UTEP collaborates with El Paso Community College and the National Science Foundation to bring two-year college students interested in pursuing a career in geology to study 34 to 56-million-year-old igneous rocks exposed in the El Paso area.
Maegan and Madison will spend 4 weeks conducting field work from UTEP, after which they will continue their research back home in Michigan. In addition to learning skills and methods employed by professional geologists, our students will work with peer and faculty mentors who will assist them with their research. Maegan and Madison will also participate in activities with members of their cohort that include weekend field trips, practicing their science communication skills, and attending professional meetings, workshops, and seminars with geoscience professionals. Upon completion of their research projects, Maegan and Madison will have the opportunity to present their research to both the local community and at a professional meeting for geoscientists.
We congratulate both students and look forward to hearing about their experience!
GRCC Geology Professor Tari Mattox and IT Media Staff Klaas Kwant are gathering materials for an introductory geology class at GRCC, and they traveled to Iceland to do it!
In this shot, they are in the eastern fjords recording different types of rock formations that demonstrate the impact of volcanoes and glaciers. Each scene has been recorded in both 360-degree video and high resolution still images to allow students the ability to virtually explore the fjords.
More than 300 people have died and thousands were injured in a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck along the border of Iraq and Iran Sunday night. The location of this earthquake is along a fault where two tectonic plates meet (the Arabian and Eurasian plates). Historically this region has sustained multiple large earthquakes, including a magnitude 7.4 in 1990 that caused over 40,000 fatalities and left more than 600,000 homeless. The GRCC seismometer recorded the Iraq-Iran earthquake as well as a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Costa Rica. For more information about this and other earthquakes, go to the United States Geological Survey’s comprehensive website.
It’s been a busy week for seismometers. This morning, at 12:49 a.m. Michigan time, GRCC’s seismic station (GRMI) recorded a magnitude 8.1 earthquake (see red arrow in image below) off the Pacific Coast of Mexico. See the United States Geological Survey’s shake map below for location of the main shock and shaking intensity. This was the largest earthquake ever recorded on our station. Preliminary reports are that there are casualties and building collapses in communities closer to the earthquake. Mexico City appears to have sustained little damage or injuries thanks to strong building codes (since the devastating 1985 earthquake) and an early warning system that gave residents about 40 seconds to move to a place of safety. See the New York Times article for updates on the impact and the USGS website for additional information about the earthquake and aftershocks.
This past weekend, the GRCC seismic station in Calkins, GRMI, recorded a flurry of events. Most prominent was a magnitude 5.3 earthquake in Soda Springs, Idaho, just before midnight on September 2. Small aftershocks and more events in Soda Springs were recorded in the following 24 hours. Another notable event is marked by the red arrow on the image below, this coincides well with the timing of an explosion in North Korea, recorded by seismometers around the world. For more information about this event and others, go to the USGS’s website.
On July 6, 2017 GRMI, the seismometer in the geology lab of Calkins, recorded a magnitude 5.8 earthquake near Helena in western Montana. Buried in the seismic trace of the larger earthquake were two aftershocks, one measuring 4.9 and the other 4.5 in magnitude. In the seismogram, we can see many aftershocks associated with the magnitude 5.8 earthquake. This swarm of earthquakes occurred as the result of strike-slip (horizontal) faulting along the Lewis and Clark line, a broad zone of faulting about 400 km in length, and up to 80 km wide that extends from Helena, Montana southwest into eastern Idaho. Other notable events from the Lewis and Clark line include the August 1959, magnitude 7.2 Hebgen Lake earthquake, the largest historic earthquake in this region. The Hebgen Lake earthquake triggered a massive landslide that resulted in more than 28 fatalities, mostly in campgrounds around the lake. Fortunately, this most recent quake caused only minor damage and no reported injuries. For more information about the earthquake visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.
GRCC historical geology students travelled to southern Indiana for a field trip to explore warm tropical waters. Unfortunately, the shallow inland seas that covered Indiana retreated hundreds of millions of years ago. Despite this temporal setback, students found ample evidence of these seas, including ripples from water lapping on ancient shore lines and the elusive Flexicalymene trilobite!
The Physical Science Department is pleased to announce the completion of the Augmented Reality sandbox. The AR sandbox is one of the newest teaching tools for students enrolled in geology courses in the Physical Science Department at GRCC. The AR sandbox projects virtual topography and water onto a real sandbox. Students can shape the sand, which is augmented in real time to show an elevation color map, contour lines, and water.
The AR sandbox is an important tool for GRCC geology students learning about topographic maps and contours lines. Through manipulating the sand and water features, students can explore geologic and hydrologic principles and learn about flooding, mass wasting, and volcanic hazards.
The prototype for the AR sandbox was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and built at UC Davis’ Department of Geology. Detailed instructions for constructing the sandbox and the free software are available online.
We are grateful to the following individuals for collaborating to build the AR sandbox here at GRCC:
- Chad Senna, IT
- Eric Schuemann, Tutoring Services
- Michael Coluzzi, GRCC student
- Pam Scott, Physical Science
- Jim Steensman, Facilities
- Jennifer Batten, Physical Science
- Tari Mattox, Physical Science
You can see a video of the AR sandbox in action on the GRCC Physical Science Facebook page.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island at 12:02 a.m. Monday. The seismometer housed in GRCC’s geology lab recorded the earthquake approximately 19 minutes later. The first waves seen in the seismograms below are called body waves, they travel through the Earth, and are the fastest seismic waves. The later waves, that look more spread out, are surface waves. They travel along the surface of the Earth and are responsible for most of the damage caused by earthquake shaking. The earthquake was generated by movement along a fault close to the juncture of two tectonic plates. The nature of movement led to activation of the tsunami warning system in coastal communities close to the main shock. Evacuating residents were further rattled by dozens of aftershocks over the next 9 hours, some as large as magnitude 6.5. For more information about this and other earthquakes visit the United States Geologic Survey’s website.
This October, students enrolled in the Physical Science Department’s geology program joined students from Grand Valley State University and Muskegon Community College in the Upper Peninsula to explore evidence of our continent’s tumultuous beginning. Students used their geology skills to study 1-2 billion year-old rocks exposed in the Marquette area. They moved from the “sea to the shore” as they identified submarine lava flows, beach sands now faulted and tilted to a near-vertical angle, ancient life forms called stromatolites, and stacked beds of pure iron ore deposited in Precambrian seas. Students returned to the Lower Peninsula with backpacks full of rocks and bellies full of pasties.