Lamont Weekly Report, September 16, 2016

      Yesterday, President Obama designated the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean ( The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument spans 4,913 square miles of seafloor off of Georges Bank and includes three submarine canyons (Oceanographer, Gilbert, and Lydonia) and four major seamounts in the New England Seamount chain (Bear, Physalia, Retriever, and Mytilus). According to the White House press release, “The new national monument…will provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles.” Kim Kastens wrote yesterday to mention that those canyons were mapped and extensively explored by Lamonters (Bruce Heezen, Bill Ryan, Dale Chayes, and others) in the 1970s. 

     The Marine Geology and Geophysics Division this week welcomed visiting graduate student Zhonglan Liu, a Ph.D. candidate at Peking University. Zhonglan will spend a year at Lamont working on the geodynamics and tectonics of mid-ocean ridges with Roger Buck. 

     On Monday, the National Science Foundation announced the first recipients of awards from their INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) Program, designed to broaden participation in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ( Among the inaugural awards is one to a Lamont project, led by Bob Newton and involving Cassie Xu, Margie Turrin, Einat Lev, and Matthew Palmer from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, entitled “Early engagement in research: Key to STEM retention.” The project will build on the successful Secondary School Field Research Program ( 

     On Tuesday, the September issue of Lamont’s electronic newsletter was distributed ( The issue included links to seven stories from recent weeks, including one on the article by Adam Sobel, Suzana Camargo, Alison Wing, and colleagues on the prediction by climate models that increased atmospheric warming will lead to an increase in the intensity of the largest tropical cyclones; one on the study by Deepti Singh, Justin Mankin, and coworkers of the so-called North American winter temperature dipole – the increasingly common pattern of anomalously cold winter temperatures in eastern North America and unusually warm winter temperatures in the west; one on the work of Andy Juhl and Greg O’Mullan as part of last month’s health check of the entire Hudson River system organized by Riverkeeper; one on a paper by Lex van Geen, Jing Sun, Ben Bostick, and others demonstrating the important role of river–sediment interaction on the recharge of aquifers – much used for drinking water ­– beneath the floodplain of the Red River near Hanoi, Vietnam; one on the paper by Mike Steckler, Nano Seeber, Jonathan Gale, Michael Howe, and colleagues documenting evidence for a locked megathrust plate boundary fault system beneath Bangladesh; one on the paper by Ryan Abernathey colleagues on the role of sea ice in controlling portions of the overturning circulation in the Southern Ocean; and one on next month’s Lamont Open House. Links to other articles on Lamont research, news stories of Lamont science, blogs and videos by Lamont scientists, and upcoming events rounded out the issue. 

     On Wednesday, the Lamont Advisory Board met at the Columbia University Club in Midtown. Ryan Carmichael, Columbia University’s Deputy Vice President for Development, joined the meeting to update the Board on Columbia’s comprehensive campaign. The Board was also treated to an update on Lamont’s Real-Time Earth Initiative, divided into presentations by Tim Crone, Chris Zappa, and Ryan Abernathey. 

     Also on Wednesday, a remembrance of Dee Breger written by Stacy Morford was posted on the Lamont web site ( Several of Dee’s Lamont colleagues, including O. Roger Anderson and Enrico Bonatti, provided commentary and background for the story. 

     On Thursday, I visited New York University to give their Physics Colloquium. My host was my undergraduate classmate, condensed matter physicist and National Academy of Sciences member Paul Chaikin. 

     You might enjoy glancing at an interview with Art Lerner-Lam in the Chilean magazine Qué Pasa on the occasion of his visit to Santiago for several days late last month (; although the entire interview is in Spanish, it leads off with a cartoon version of Art examining the trace of a giant seismograph. On Wednesday, WNYC aired an interview with author Hali Felt about Marie Tharp and her maps of the global ocean floor ( 

     A new Earth Science Colloquium season launches today. Colloquium Coordinator Ben Bostick and an organizing committee that includes Alexandra Bausch, Bridgit Boulahanis, Jean Guo, Kira Olsen, Frankie Pavia, and Dan Rasmussen have largely filled the available slots for the fall with a diverse set of speakers on a broad range of topics. Today’s seminar will be given by Paul Asimow, the Eleanor and John D. McMillan Professor of Geology and Geochemistry at Caltech ( Paul will speak on “The mid-ocean ridge ferric iron crisis.” To all you siderophiles, your time has come. I hope to see you in Monell.