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 he worked on the environmental remediation of military bases. A memorial service for Dann, a native of Detroit, will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in September.
     Bel Hautau, who worked as a secretary at Lamont for the 30 years from 1966 to 1996, passed away on Wednesday. Greg Mountain remembers her from his time as a grad student and writes, “she could magically transform scrawled, hand-written drafts of papers from dog-eared yellow pads of paper into double-spaced typewritten manuscripts in a flash.” Ted Baker adds, “She was a very warm, strong, and generous person who made a solid contribution to Lamont both personally and professionally, truly a pleasure to be around. One of the things I remember most about her was her laughter.” Bel and her husband Ralph raised eight children, 24 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held today at the Moritz Funeral Home in Tappan.
    The Geological Society of America has announced that Kevin Krajick is to give the 2014 Halbouty Distinguished Lecture, named in honor of geologist and petroleum engineer Michael Halbouty ( GSA established the lecture series to provide an opportunity to invite one lecturer each year to speak on “broad, overarching topics of natural resources (water, land, energy, and minerals).” Kevin will give this year’s lecture at the GSA Annual Meeting, to be held in Vancouver this October, on the topic of “Diamond hunters, declining resources and the 21st century geoscientist.”
    The Icepod team returned from Greenland this week after logging nearly 20 hours of flight time over the ice sheet and adjacent ocean. Robin Bell, Chris Bertinato, Alex Boghosian, Winnie Chu, Tej Dhakal, LingLing Dong, Nick Frearson, Sarah Starke, Kirsty Tinto, and Chris Zappa worked closely with the New York Air National Guard to install and operate the system on an LC-130. Following a halting start that included an engine lost after stopping for fuel and ice cream in Labrador, the team mapped the front of nine major outlet glaciers, including Eqip and Jakobshavn. Images and elevation measurements were acquired of melt channels, lakes, moulins, calving fronts, and the bed of the ice sheet. The flights this month demonstrated that Icepod is now able to map the ice sheet from top to bottom. 
   On Tuesday, the Geochemistry Division welcomed Visiting Research Scientist Maria Villa Alfageme. An Associate Professor in the Applied Physics II Department at the Universidad de Sevilla, Maria is a radiochemist who specializes in the measurement of natural and anthropogenic nuclides to address environmental problems. She will be visiting through September and will be hosted by Tim Kenna.
    That same day, Lamont was visited by Pfizer’s Global Environmental Health and Safety Leadership Team. At Pfizer’s Pearl River facility for a two-day meeting, the team had sought the visit as an opportunity to learn more about work on this campus on the impact of climate change on supply chains, business operations, and infectious disease vectors. Pete Sobel arranged for a brief campus tour, and the 11-member group then held a lively and wide-ranging discussion with Yochanan Kushnir, Art Lerner-Lam, Richard Seager, Adam Sobel, and IRI’s Madeleine Thomson. Planning is underway for follow-on sessions.
    On Wednesday, Natalia Zakharova successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis. The topic of her thesis, completed under the supervision of Dave Goldberg, was “Carbon sequestration in unconventional reservoirs: Geophysical, geochemical and geomechanical considerations.” Congratulations, Dr. Zakharova!
    Several new entries were added to the Lamont Log ( this week. There is a Wisconsin Public Radio interview with Stephanie Pfirman on the FutureCoast project, designed to cast some of the possible long-term impacts of climate change into human terms through imagined voicemail messages from the future. In another piece, Rajib Mozumder writes of his field project with Ben Bostick and Lex van Geen documenting arsenic contamination in aquifers and well water in Bangladesh. On our blog pages, Margie Turrin posted a new entry on her work with Dave Porter collecting CTD casts in a fjord in northwestern Greenland (
    Yesterday, the campus celebrated the contributions to the Observatory of three long-term staff members who have retired or will soon do so. Bonnie Deutsch started at Lamont in 1994 in our Security and Safety Office and moved after a few years to our Office of Purchasing, where she has handled the purchasing of everything from lab supplies to computers and furniture; Bonnie’s last day on the job will be next week, after which she will move to Florida. Miriam Colwell’s first job at Lamont was as a secretary in Marine Biology in 1988; she transferred to the Publications Office and then to the Library; Miriam will step down as Geology/Geoscience Librarian at the end of September. Dale Chayes arrived at Lamont in 1973, and he’s held the positions of Research Assistant, Research Staff Engineer, Staff Associate, Senior Staff Associate, and Lamont Research Engineer; a veteran of more than 150 oceanographic cruises and the developer of instrumentation and software for science data acquisition at sea and at both poles, Dale formally retired at the end of last month. Together, these three colleagues have logged more than 87 years on behalf of the Observatory.
    Please join me in thanking Bonnie, Miriam, and Dale for their countless contributions to our scientific and educational missions, and in wishing them well for their next endeavors.