Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, November 21, 2014

The extended Lamont community was saddened this past weekend with news of the death of Columbia University and Lamont alumnus Gary Boucher (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailycamera/obituary.aspx?pid=173168031). Gary obtained his Ph.D. in seismology in 1969 after successfully defending his thesis on “Three studies of microearthquakes.”

 Nano Seeber overlapped with Gary in graduate school and remembers him well. Nano writes, “Back in 1966-67, Gary and I were graduate students under Jack Oliver. We took on the task of developing one of the first portable seismometers. Gary was.....

Lamont Weekly Report, November 14, 2014

This week was notable for two major milestones. On Wednesday, the United States and China announced a joint plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the two countries (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/12/world/asia/china-us-xi-obama-apec.html). That same day, a spacecraft successfully landed on a comet nucleus for the first time (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/science/space/european-space-agencys-spacecraft-lands-on-comets-surface.html?rref=science/space&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Space%20%26%20Cosmos&pgtype=article). (The........

Lamont Weekly Report, November 7, 2014

This week was notable for mid-term elections that left maps of Congressional and Senate districts with a substantially redder appearance. The implications of these election results for the budgets of federal science agencies this year and next will play out over the next several months. 

I spent Monday and Tuesday at Purdue University as a member of the External Review..........

Lamont Weekly Report, October 31, 2014

This week included the second anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, and the media responded with stories that recalled the storm and looked ahead to how the region may better prepare for such storms in the future. Adam Sobel, for instance, appeared on The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC on Wednesday......

Lamont Weekly Report, October 24, 2014

This week began on a high note, with a symposium Monday and Tuesday celebrating Mark Cane’s 70th birthday by honoring his four decades of seminal contributions to climate science (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~virginia/Mark70thSymposium/). Among the distinguished group of speakers from around the world were Richard Seager, IRI’s Lisa Goddard and Steve Zebiak, the Mailman School’s Jeffrey Shaman, and Columbia alumni John Chiang, Amy.....

Lamont Weekly Report, October 17, 2014

This week kicked off with Lamont’s Open House on Saturday. Despite a rainy morning, interest ran high among the students, neighbors, and curious members of the public who contributed to the final attendance total of 2770. In tents and in our buildings, visitors experienced hands-on science, toured laboratories and exhibits, and enjoyed a diverse menu of talks and panel discussions. Thanks to the considerable creative efforts of hundreds of Lamont and Earth Institute volunteers, our guests had a memorably.....

Lamont Weekly Report, October 10, 2014

The high point of the week is still to come. Tomorrow the Lamont Campus will open its doors to as many as 4000 visitors for the Lamont Open House (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/events/open-house. From exhibits in our laboratories and facilities (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/files/uploaded/image/Lamont%20Open%20House%202014%20Online%20Program_100614.pdf) to hands-on science experiences in our city of white tents and four parallel sets of lectures and panel discussions (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/files/uploaded/image/14%20LDEO_OH_program_rev9.pdf), the breadth and excitement of the science conducted on this campus will be evident to all in attendance. On-campus parking will be extremely limited, but complimentary parking and a shuttle to Lamont are available at the Dolce Palisades Conference Center, and shuttle buses will run from Morningside to Lamont and back at 15-minute intervals starting at 9:15 am....  

Lamont Weekly Report, October 3, 2014

The Lamont community was saddened Wednesday by the news that Gordon Jacoby, a member of the scientific staff at the Observatory for more than a quarter of a century, passed away following a stroke. Gordon obtained his Ph.D. in hydrogeology at Columbia in 1971. Following a four-year appointment as a research hydrologist at UCLA, he returned to Lamont to co-found, with Ed Cook, the Observatory’s Tree-Ring Laboratory (TRL). Gordon was promoted to Lamont’s Senior Staff in 1984, he advanced to Senior Research Scientist in 1987, and he retired formally in 2001. He received Lamont's Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2002 and was........

Lamont Weekly Report, September 26, 2014

This week was notable for several reasons. The autumnal equinox marked a change in seasons. Two spacecraft, one launched earlier by the U.S. and one by India, were independently inserted into orbit about Mars on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively. But the central topic of the week was climate change.

Climate Week NYC was kicked off Sunday by the People’s Climate March, which included many from Lamont. Robin Bell, Etienne Dunn-Sigouin, Allison Jacobel, and Franziska Landes, as well as IRI’s Alessandra Giannini appeared in photos in the coverage of the march by Popular........

Lamont Weekly Report, September 19, 2014

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles were the first teams in Major League Baseball to clinch their divisions this week, leading the media to begin writing about the possibility of a Beltway World Series. In the last 25 years only two series have featured opposing teams located more closely to each other, and in one of those the third game was delayed for 10 days by one of the largest California earthquakes of the last half century.... 

Lamont Weekly Report, September 12, 2014

The first full week of the fall semester has been a busy one.

Over the weekend, Terry Plank co-organized a workshop at Lamont on the geology of the Manhattan Prong, a tongue of ancient continental crust that outcrops in Manhattan, the Bronx, and segments of Brooklyn, Staten Island, and several adjacent areas. Terry writes that the workshop was “started as a grassroots effort to learn more about the local geology and pass the baton from senior geologists to the next wave.” There were about 50 participants at talks given in Comer on Saturday and on a Sunday field trip. A central question of the workshop was “What are the rocks of Central Park called, and........

Lamont Weekly Report, September 5, 2014

For another week, the campus was saddened by the loss of a long-time member of the Lamont family. Oceanographer and geophysicist Ken Hunkins passed away on Tuesday. Ken began his affiliation with Lamont in 1957, when as a Stanford University graduate student he was recruited by Jack Oliver to work at an Arctic ice floe station to measure bathymetry and collect gravity and magnetic field observations. He is credited with the discovery of the Alpha Ridge, a major bathymetric feature of the Arctic Ocean floor. After completing his Ph.D. in 1960, Ken joined the Observatory full time, and he remained at Lamont for the rest of his.....

Lamont Weekly Report, August 29, 2014

 Our active planet was much in the news this week. The magnitude 6.0 earthquake near Napa, California, on Sunday morning damaged many of the older structures in the town center, notwithstanding a media focus on the sideshow of broken barrels and bottles of wine (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/us/napa-mops-wine-up-and-tallies-its-losses.html?_r=0). Our continent was bookended by hurricanes Cristobal in the Atlantic and Marie in the eastern...... 

Lamont Weekly Report, August 22, 2014

The beginning of the fall semester is around the corner, and members of the incoming class of graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences have been arriving throughout the summer. All but one will be here by the new student orientation on Tuesday of next week. Please join me in welcoming our 18 (mostly) new colleagues:.......

Lamont Weekly Report, August 15, 2014

In a midweek punctuation to a period when many were in the field or enjoying vacations elsewhere, a summer storm brought heavy rain and flooding to the area, including a record-setting 13.5 inches of rain within 24 hours at Islip. For those on campus, the study of our planet continued.

On Monday afternoon, the M.A. Program in Climate and Society staged a poster session in the Monell lobby at which graduating students shared results from their summer internship and thesis experiences. The students have worked with a variety of organizations ranging from.....

Lamont Weekly Report, August 8, 2014

It was the week of the abstract submission deadline for the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting, and those who waited until Wednesday to submit their contribution learned that AGU’s servers and new abstract management software were not up to the challenge of handling as many as 10,000 submissions in the final 24 hours before the cutoff. A one-day extension may not have recovered all of the good will lost, but everyone who wanted to submit an abstract was finally given an opportunity to do so.

On Monday, the Geochemistry Division welcomed Kelsey Dyez as a new Postdoctoral........
 

Lamont Weekly Report, August 1, 2014

For a second week in a row, the campus was saddened to learn of the loss of a long-time member of the Lamont family. Joanne Domenick, who worked in Lamont’s Human Resources Office from 1986 to 2007, passed away on July 26 (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?n=joanne-e-domenick&pid=171878016&fhid=4047#sthash.TLKmqSbH.dpuf). Jennifer Verdin writes, “Joanne was dedicated to her Assistant Manager position in HR and took her responsibility seriously. She enjoyed a good laugh and often joked around with the guys from Buildings and Grounds.” Angelina Calungcagin recalls, “As a co-worker I appreciated Joanne's work ethic...

 

Lamont Weekly Report, July 25, 2014

The campus was saddened to learn this week of the loss of two members of the extended Lamont family.

Lamont and Columbia alumnus Dann Spariosu passed away in May. Dann completed his Ph.D. here in 1984 under the supervision of Dennis Kent. Dennis writes that Dann “knew a lot of stuff, and it was fun working with him, especially on fieldwork in Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, as well as on the Glomar Challenger leg through the Panama Canal. Good times.” After leaving Lamont, Dann joined the faculty of the University of Georgia. He later took a position at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where......

Lamont Weekly Report, July 18, 2014

The international news of late has cast a discouraging pall, as the fierce but generally civil national rivalries on the soccer pitch have been eclipsed by rockets, missiles, and armies on the move. The contrasts between military conflict and the peaceful pursuit of a deeper understanding of our planet, an intrinsically global endeavor often advanced through long-term collaborations that bridge the oceans and cross political divides, were etched a little deeper this week. 

The Geochemistry Division welcomed two visitors this week who exemplify the tradition of multi-national cooperation in science. Mark Holzer, a Visiting Research Scientist arrived last........

Lamont Weekly Report, July 11, 2014

The strongest typhoon to date in the 2014 Western Pacific season and a magnitude 6.9 earthquake near the Mexico-Guatemala border reminded us once again this week that an improved understanding of our dynamic planet is amply warranted.

This week has also been a challenging one for our Office of Marine Operations. On Tuesday of last week, the R/V Langseth sailed from her berth at SUNY Maritime College to begin an NSF-sponsored cruise, led by chief scientist Greg Mountain of Rutgers University, to collect three-dimensional seismic images of the upper crust of the continental shelf off of New Jersey. The study area encompasses the three drill holes of IODP Expedition 313, and the expeditio......