Lamont Weekly Report, December 30, 2016

    The first full week of winter led off on Sunday with a blizzard in the Dakotas, a super typhoon hitting the Philippines, and a magnitude 7.6 earthquake off the coast of southern Chile. University holidays on Monday and Tuesday and an early Observatory closure this afternoon cut the workweek nearly in half. 

     The R/V Langseth is also in Chile this week, anchored in Valparaiso, from which she will embark in less than two weeks on the CEVICHE (Crustal Experiment from Valdivia to Illapel to Characterize Huge Earthquakes) expedition to conduct a seismic exploration of the source regions of the 2015 Illapel and 2010 Maule earthquakes and the northern half of the rupture zone of the great 1960 Valdivia earthquake. An article featuring the ship and its expeditions off Chile appeared Monday (in Spanish) in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio ( Sean Higgins and Lamont alumni Nathan Bangs, now at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, and Emilio Vera, now at the Universidad de Chile, were interviewed for the story. Nathan will be the chief scientist for the CEVICHE cruise. 

     On Wednesday in Eos, the newsletter of the American Geophysical Union, there was an article on the most recent International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences ( The award was established jointly by Lamont’s International Earth Data Alliance and Elsevier (, and IEDA Director Kerstin Lehnert was interviewed for the story on the importance of preserving and providing access to data sets across Earth science. The 2016 award went to the National Snow and Ice Center for their efforts to archive images, charts, expedition logs and other data on the world’s glaciers that extend back as much as 150 years. 

     On Wednesday evening next week, Pierre Dutrieux will answer questions about Antarctic exploration at the Lycée Français de New York, following a showing of “The Pursuit of Endurance,” a film by Luc Hardy about a group of explorers who set out to follow the path of Ernest Shackleton and his crew in their polar expedition of 1914 ( 

     The end of the calendar year tomorrow triggers thoughts of New Year’s resolutions. Updated versions of the resolutions of the past several years remain appropriate for the Observatory for 2017:

     • To continue the recruitment of the most outstanding candidates for Lamont Research Professor and Lamont postdoctoral fellow to work among us as colleagues, particularly in those areas of scientific research identified as most promising in Lamont’s Strategic Plan. 

     • To ensure that our younger scientists continue to be encouraged and guided in their professional growth and are provided support for their best research ideas and timely occasions for promotion.

     • To continue to provide opportunities for creativity and advancement for our technical and administrative staff.

     • To maintain and enhance the instrumentation, technical support, laboratory and office space, and infrastructure needed for the Observatory to pursue its research and educational missions.

     • To continue to strengthen Lamont’s efforts in development, communication, and education designed to enhance the Observatory’s profile and improve our ability to raise the resources needed for our most innovative programs and operations, particularly given the increasing challenges to reliance primarily on federal support.

     May the coming year again be marked by important scientific discoveries, new accomplishments by our staff and students, regular improvements to our facilities, and an intellectually vital campus sustained by collegiality and mutual respect and support.