Lamont Weekly Report, June 7, 2019

    For most of this week I was in South Hadley, Massachusetts, at a Gordon Research Conference on the Interior of the Earth. The meeting, organized by Roberta Rudnick (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Louise Kellogg (University of California, Davis) – who sadly passed away seven weeks before the start of the conference – was devoted to the topic of “Processes and Outcomes of Material Recycling between Earth’s Surface and Interior.” In a meeting filled with geochemists, seismologists, and mantle dynamicists, my assignment had been to organize a half-day discussion of what we can learn on the conference topic from observations of the other rocky planets. Josh Russell also attended and gave a poster presentation on “Seismic anisotropy across length scales: Reconciling in situ constraints with natural and laboratory petrofabrics.”

    Gisela Winckler, Jenny Middleton, and Julia Gottschalk spent this week on the JOIDES Resolution, as part of the science team for International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 383, Dynamics of The Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Gisela is sailing as co-chief scientist, Jenny as stratigraphic correlator, and Julia as sedimentologist. Gisela wrote yesterday, “After a 5-day/1625-nm transit from Punta Arenas to the central South Pacific, we are now very close to Point Nemo, the pole of inaccessibility. We have successfully completed our first coring site, four holes at U1539, with a maximum depth of 270 m. We have recovered an exciting long record of high sedimentation that will allow us to look at climate variability in the Southern Ocean, one of the key regions of the global climate, in unprecedented detail. Sedimentation rates are on the order of 20 cm/kyr, which is extremely high for an open ocean site, and alternating between siliceous and carbonate-rich material. We are looking forward to six more core sites to come, three more in the central South Pacific and three at the Chilean margin.” The cruise has caught the attention of the Columbia Global Center in Santiago, Chile (, as well as local media in Chile (

    As part of its centennial year, the American Geophysical Union is celebrating ocean researchers during the month of June, and Eos kicked off that effort Monday with an article featuring the importance of Maurice Ewing to marine seismology and ocean science more generally (, through his research and as the first director of Lamont. From 1956 to 1959 Ewing was President of AGU – Robin Bell is only the second scientist to serve as AGU President while working at Lamont – and since 1976 AGU and the U.S. Navy have given a medal named in Ewing’s honor. Past Ewing medalists have included Wally Broecker, Manik Talwani, Walter Pitman, Arnold Gordon, Richard Fairbanks, Gerard Bond, Mike Purdy, and Mark Cane.

    On Tuesday, Nature published online a paper coauthored by Kerstin Lehnert on providing access to the data behind scientific papers ( The author team, led by Shelley Stall at the American Geophysical Union, pointed to the example set by the Earth, space, and environmental sciences – including the EarthChem Library managed by the Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance managed at Lamont – to ensure that such data are “findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable” (FAIR). They further called on all fields of science to emulate the more than 100 repositories, communities, societies, institutions, infrastructures, individuals, and publishers that have signed up since last November to the Enabling FAIR Data Project’s Commitment Statement in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences for depositing and sharing data ( AGU issued a press release at the time of the paper’s posting (

    From Wednesday to Friday, the Lamont Core Repository hosted a meeting of the Curators of Marine and Lacustrine Geologic Samples. Nichole Anest wrote, “[This group gathers] to discuss issues related to sample curation, including archiving, dissemination of samples and data, best practices of sample collection, and metadata standards. Representatives of repositories from all over the USA and Britain and Canada attend. The first meeting of this group was in 1977. This year, we are focusing on creating a combined cyberinfrastructure for users to be able to search and request samples from all of us in one place.”

    On Wednesday, the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans published online a paper coauthored by Marco Tedesco on the transport of meltwater from the southern Greenland Ice Sheet into the Labrador Sea. The author team, led by Renato Castelao at the University of Georgia, showed with high-resolution ocean models the importance of coastal upwelling winds in moving meltwater up to 150 km from the coast, where eddies and mean circulation can transport the meltwater farther offshore. Whereas meltwater from west Greenland is either transported to Baffin Bay or circumnavigates the basin, meltwater from east Greenland in late summer or early fall can reach the center of the basin, where it can influence stratification and winter convection, a source of dense Labrador Sea Water that ventilates the North Atlantic.

    Yesterday, Lamont’s Center for Climate and Life announced that Pierre Dutrieux, Kevin Uno, and Dan Westervelt had been named Climate and Life Fellows and would receive support for research projects they had proposed in response to the most recent call for innovative research ideas ( These three will join 11 earlier named Climate and Life Fellows at Lamont, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, and the Center for Climate Systems Research.

    Today, Nature Communications published a paper by Chris Scholz, Yen Joe Tan, and Fabien Albino from the University of Bristol on the mechanism of tidal triggering of earthquakes along mid-ocean ridges. One of the mysteries of such triggering has been that seismicity peaks at low tides, when faulting should tend to be inhibited on ridge normal faults. Chris and his colleagues showed that at Axial Volcano, on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the seismicity is driven by the tidally induced inflation of the axial magma chamber. A critical parameter in bringing theoretical models for the process into line with earthquake observations is the magnitude of the bulk modulus of the magma chamber relative to that of the surrounding rock.

    Two interviews with Lamont scientists have been added to our web pages this week. A Nicole deRoberts interview of Billy D’Andrea ( last Friday focused on his work on plant molecular proxies of paleoclimate and the impact on the human population of the climate changes he has documented in such environments as Easter Island and the high-latitude North Atlantic. And a Kevin Krajick interview of Lynn Sykes, tied to the recent publication by Columbia University Press of Lynn’s latest memoir on Plate Tectonics and Great Earthquakes: 50 Years of Earth-Shaking Events (, was posted yesterday.

    From Wednesday to Friday next week, Columbia University with host the 2019 New York Scientific Data Summit (, jointly organized by the Center for Computing Systems for Data-Driven Science in Columbia’s Data Science Institute and Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Computational Science Initiative. Ryan Abernathey will be giving a presentation on the Pangeo project, Chia-Ying Lee will be coauthoring a presentation on the rapid intensification of hurricanes, and Gavin Schmidt from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies will be giving a keynote talk on challenges in climate science. Preregistration is required.

    On Thursday afternoon next week, the Earth Institute will host a Town Hall meeting at which Alex Halliday “will share reflections on [his] first year at the Institute, as well as plans and potential opportunities for the upcoming year and beyond.” The program will include a talk by Natalie Boelman on “Eavesdropping on the Arctic: Understanding wildlife responses to environmental change and anthropogenic activity.” There will be added shuttles from the Lamont campus and back to accommodate those who can attend.

    In the meantime, may you enjoy World Oceans Day ( tomorrow and what is forecast to be a pleasant late-spring weekend in the New York area.