Lamont Weekly Report, September 6, 2013

      We owe the truncated number of workdays this week to the American labor movement and to President (and former New York Governor) Grover Cleveland. As if in retaliation for the three-day weekend, fall classes at Columbia began on Tuesday morning.
     On Thursday, Academic Minute on WAMC Northeast Public Radio featured a discussion by Einat Lev of her research on measuring the physical properties of flowing lava ( The program airs every workday, and many institutions provide material, but Kevin Krajick has been successful at promoting spots for Lamont scientists and others from the Earth Institute to encapsulate their latest work. Kevin reports that some 10 Lamonters have been featured to date, but additional participants are always welcomed. The show provides welcome visibility for the Observatory, so I encourage you to volunteer. Kevin ( will be happy to provide additional details.
     Also on Thursday, Jason Jweda successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on the “Geochemistry of the Tatara-San Pedro continental arc volcanic complex and implications for magmatism in the Chilean Southern Volcanic Zone." The Geochemistry Division hosted celebrations both yesterday and today to provide colleagues ample opportunity to offer Jason their congratulations.
     Today, Lamont was visited by the newest cadre of Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellows ( The seven new fellows were introduced to the Observatory and other Earth Institute centers on the campus, and they were treated to a lunch with Lamont postdoctoral scientists.
     News coverage of the research findings of Lamont scientists spanned the week. Last Friday, NASA’s Earth Observatory Image of the Day featured a Landsat 8 image of a large landslide that Colin Stark, Göran Ekström, and Clément Hilbert first located on the basis of its seismic source characteristics (; the story was covered the next day by the Landslide Blog of the American Geophysical Union (
     A National Geographic piece on Monday summarized a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Lorenzo Polvani, Adam Sobel, and Elizabeth Barnes from Colorado State University reporting that global warming may modify the patterns of atmospheric winds in the North Atlantic in a manner that will reduce the likelihood that a future hurricane will follow the path of Hurricane Sandy ( And Climate Central on Tuesday posted a story on Lamont’s drilling project, led by Paul Olsen, David Goldberg, and others, to characterize the suitability of rocks of the Newark Basin for underground sequestration of carbon dioxide (
     On Wednesday, NBC News reported on the work of Won-Young Kim, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, linking more than 100 earthquakes to a hydrofracking wastewater injection well near Youngstown, Ohio ( And posted just today on the Lamont website is a copy of a long article from the September-October issue of Audubon magazine featuring the work of Natalie Boelman and her group on the impact of climate change on Arctic fauna, particularly local bird populations (
     On Monday and Tuesday of next week, Lamont will be hosting a visit by a delegation from the Institute of Earth Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Led by Prof. Zhisheng An, the six Chinese scientists will be touring our campus and participating in a set of discussions on scientific topics of joint interest in paleoclimate and related subjects. Participants from Lamont will include Wally Broecker, Mark Cane, Elizabeth Clark, Ed Cook, Yonaton Goldsmith, Laia Andreu Hayles, Sid Hemming, Mike Kaplan, Dennis Kent, George Kukla, Yochanan Kushnir, Tanzhuo Liu, Jerry McManus, Aaron Putnam, Joerg Schaefer, Gisela Winckler, and Beizhan Yan. Prof. An will also present a lecture to the Lamont community on Monday afternoon on the topic of “Continental environmental scientific drilling in China: Asian monsoon and inland aridification.”
     On Tuesday next week, an Inaugural Seminar will mark the kick-off of Columbia University’s Agriculture and Food Security Center. On the theme of “The Nexus of Agriculture, Environment, and Livelihoods,” the daylong event in Low Library will feature a broad range of lectures, panel discussions, and technology demonstrations on such topics as challenges to sustainable agriculture, integrating agricultural data, and defining the strategic directions for the new center.
     Lamont’s Earth Science Colloquium series also begins anew next week. For the coming academic year the colloquia are being organized by graduate students Natalie Accardo, Jonathan Gale, Gene Henry, Amelia Paukert, and Hannah Rabinowitz, under the coordination of Andy Juhl. Friday’s colloquium will be given by Richard Bulliet, a Professor of History at Columbia and an expert on the Middle East and the history of technology. His lecture on “The Black Sea flood and the invention of the wheel” should touch on themes long of interest at Lamont.
Even at five workdays, next week promises to be interesting.