Lamont Weekly Report, January 19, 2018

    This week ends with uncertainty over whether the federal government will still be in operation tomorrow. The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution last night – the fourth of this fiscal year ( – and the Senate must pass the bill by midnight tonight to avoid a shutdown.

    Fortunately, scientific progress at Lamont continued as though our government is in thoughtful hands.

    The R/V Langseth continued collecting three-dimensional seismic imaging data off New Zealand this week for the Hikurangi 3D project (, led by Lamont alumnus Nathan Bangs, now at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas. Sean Higgins reported yesterday, “The Langseth is making good progress. Some 40% of the primary lines in the 3D survey box have been completed. The weather has been cooperative, and daily production has been higher than average so far.”

    On Wednesday, Natalie Accardo successfully defended her thesis on the topic of “Constraints on the structure and evolution of the Malawi Rift from active- and passive-source seismic imaging.” In addition to her thesis supervisor, Jim Gaherty, Natalie’s committee included Roger Buck, Göran Ekström, Donna Shillington, and Beatrice Magnani from Southern Methodist University. Natalie is headed for a postdoctoral position with Andy Nyblade at Penn State. Congratulations, Dr. Accardo!

    Yesterday, Art Lerner-Lam and I co-hosted a lunch at Confetti Ristorante for 28 Lamont Campus employees whose 10th anniversary of service to Columbia University fell sometime during the 2017 calendar year. Those from the Observatory who marked that milestone last year include Louise Bolge, Miriam Cinquegrana, Tim Crone, Ariana Falerni, Nick Frearson, David Grames, Annette Higgins, Sean Higgins, Jean Leote, Mercedes Nelson, Mike Previdi, Donna Shillington, and Beizhan Yan, as well as Breckenridge Crum, Ricardo Redito, Inocencio Rimando, Thomas Spoto, and Jason Woronowicz from the Langseth. Bob Chen led the portion of lunchtime festivities marking the 10th anniversaries of CIESIN staff members Susana Beatriz Adamo, James Carcone, Kytt MacManus, Valentina Mara, and Frank Pascuzzi; and Lisa Goddard led the portion marking the 10th anniversaries of IRI staff members Francesco Fiondella, Ira Messer, Alison Rose, Lori Scally, and Catherine Vaughan. The group at this year’s lunch was the largest in the history of Lamont’s tradition of celebrating these milestones. Collectively, the career time devoted to Columbia University by the individuals feted amounts to more than a quarter of a millennium. Please join me in thanking them for their many contributions to the Lamont Campus!

    Last night, Robin Bell was featured in a Convergence panel discussion and podcast on the topic of “Coastal Cities Confront Rising Seas,” held at Caveat in the Lower East Side ( The two-person panel was moderated by Convergence host Meehan Crist, and Robin’s counterpart on the panel was Daniel Zarrilli, who leads New York City’s resiliency efforts.

    Lamont’s web pages gained several new stories recently. Late last week saw the posting of an article by freelance writer Renee Cho on the consequences of thawing permafrost in a warming climate for landscape evolution and greenhouse gas release in the Arctic, with the work of O. Roger Anderson and Ben Gaglioti featured ( On Saturday, Marie Aronsohn added a story from an interview with Deepti Singh on the relation between climate change and the recent winter weather extremes in the eastern U.S. ( On Tuesday, Emmalina Glinskis, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Columbia College and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences last year, posted a blog on her experience in Antarctica assisting Hugh Ducklow with his continuing assessment of the response to a rapidly changing climate of the marine microbial communities offshore the Long Term Ecological Research station at Palmer, on the Antarctic Peninsula (

    The spring season of the Earth Science Colloquium begins this afternoon with a seminar by seismologist Victor Tsai, Professor of Geophysics in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech ( Victor will be speaking today about “Quantifying natural hazards: From sea level rise to earthquake damage.” I hope that you will brave the hazard of a walk to Monell to join me in his audience.