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:
Student                    Division Advisor(s)
Weston Anderson OCP Seager
Bridget Boulahanis MGG Carbotte
Bor-Ting Jong OCP Ting
Sean Kinney       SGT Olsen
Elizabeth Min   BPE Griffin
Kira Olsen        SGT Nettles
Frank Pavia        GEO Anderson
Mukund Rao      BPE Buckley
Daniel Rasmussen GEO Plank
Colin Raymond  OCP Seager/Ting/Smerdon
Mike Sandstrom BPE Raymo
Daniel Sousa         MGG Small
Yen Joe Tan          MGG Tolstoy
Jan-Erik Tesdal BPE Goes
Leah Trafford       OCP Gordon
Takaya Uchida    OCP Abernathy
Sebastian Vivancos GEO Anderson
Maayan Yehudai      GEO Goldstein

    Tim Crone has just returned from chief scientist duties on a four-week, multi-institutional expedition on the R/V Atlantis to Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Tim led efforts to test a new suite of instruments and techniques for measuring heat and chemical fluxes at seafloor hydrothermal systems. The newly upgraded DSRV Alvin deployed two camera systems capable of measuring flow rates in focused and diffuse flow and collected ~10 days of temperature and flow rate data at the vent scale. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Sentry AUV system surveyed a larger "box" around the vent field to measure flow rate and heat flux out of the system at the field scale. Tim writes, “We collected something in the vicinity of 24 terabytes of data, which I am now working to accommodate.” In appreciation for the successful work by the captain and crew of the Atlantis and the Deep Submergence teams, the expedition investigators presented them with a framed image of Alvin Rupes, a large tectonic landform on the planet Mercury that last year was named after the submersible (;jsessionid=6F2806970CCB52C9DCECD67E8497854A).

    An article by Peter deMenocal in the September issue of Scientific American, now on the newsstands, discusses how large swings in the climate of east Africa over the last several million years influenced human evolution. There’s a link to Peter’s article on the Lamont web page, but the magazine’s publisher, Nature Publishing Group, won’t let you read the full article without a personal subscription. What you can view is a short blog that includes a video from the meeting that Peter hosted at Lamont two years ago on the question Did Climate Change Shape Human Evolution? ( The video was also posted on The Lamont Log this week.
    Also new this week to The Lamont Log, and to our blog page, is a video of the talk that Terry Plank gave in April at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. ( At each meeting, the Academy invites six members elected the previous year, one from each of the Academy’s six Classes, to speak about their work. Terry was tapped to represent Class I, which includes all of the Academy’s members in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Terry chose to speak about island arc volcanism, the volatile contents of arc magmas, and the factors that contribute to differences in eruptive styles among arc volcanoes.
    Whether you monitor the fluxes of volatiles at mid-ocean ridges or subduction zones, and whether you measure change on the timescale of variations in Earth’s orbital and spin parameters or on the annual cycle of the academic year, may you make the most of one of the last weekends of summer.