Lamont Weekly Report, September 7, 2018

    For the second week in a row, the Observatory was saddened by the loss of a member of the extended Lamont family. Erik Hauri, a Visiting Senior Research Scientist in Lamont’s Geochemistry Division hosted by Terry Plank during the fall semesters of 2016 and 2017, passed away after a long battle with cancer ( An isotope geochemist who made important contributions to our understanding of the evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle, volatile cycles and budgets in the Earth and Moon, and hotspot magmatism and dynamics, Erik spent his entire professional career at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. Terry adds, “Erik established one of the premier ion microprobe labs in the world and was the first to measure the water concentration in undegassed lunar glasses. He was the leader of the Deep Carbon Observatory Reservoirs and Fluxes community and in that role helped establish a new network of autonomous gas-sensing instruments on volcanoes. He has been a mentor to and collaborator with a host of Lamont students and postdocs, notably Philipp Ruprecht, Megan Newcombe, David Ferguson, Elizabeth Ferriss, Alex Lloyd, Claire Bendersky, Anna Barth, Dan Rasmussen, and Henry Towbin. He and I co-authored 16 papers together on the water concentration of magmas in different tectonic settings.”

    As we ponder the additional contributions that might have been made by a colleague taken from us too soon, we can derive some comfort from new Lamont milestones.

    Yen Joe Tan recently received the good news that he has been named one of two recipients of the 2018 Edward Prince Goldman Scholarship in Science from the New York Community Trust ( This prize is funded by the Sidney Prince Trust and is given annually to one or more students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences engaged in the study of science.

    The Ocean and Climate Physics Division this week welcomed Postdoctoral Research Scientist Luke Schiferl. Luke obtained his Ph.D. in environmental chemistry earlier this year from MIT, where he worked on the variability of ammonia concentrations over the U.S. from satellite observations, aircraft measurements, and model simulations; and on the effects of particulate matter and ozone on global crop production. Luke then moved two subway stops to join Róisín Commane’s group at Harvard, and he’s followed her here. At Lamont Luke will continue work begun at Harvard on the quantification of Arctic and boreal carbon dioxide and methane fluxes, and their spatial and temporal variations, from aircraft and flux-tower measurements as well as numerical optimization techniques.

    The Marine Geology and Geophysics Division, not to be outdone, welcomed Yao Lai as a new Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow. Yao received a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering earlier this year from Princeton, where she worked on fracturing by fluid injection in elastic solids and gas transfer by bubble bursting at the air-sea interface. At Lamont, she will collaborate with Indrani Das on models for the formation and propagation of basal crevasses in glaciers and ice sheets, and she will apply such models to airborne radar observations, satellite images, and ice sheet simulations of the Thwaites Glacier.

    Also this week, Judith Otero joined the Marine and Large Programs Division as the Assistant Business Manager. Judy comes to Lamont with more than 15 years of experience in higher education, primarily at the State University of New York and the City University of New York. At Lamont she will assist with subcontracting efforts for the U.S. Science Support Program for the International Ocean Discovery Program.

    Einat Lev, Brett Carr, and Dan Rasmussen spent this week in Naples, Italy, attending the Tenth International Cities on Volcanoes Conference ( Einat writes, “The conference connects volcano scientists with stakeholders from communities in volcanic regions around the world. In addition to great science, this year the meeting includes a photo contest. Lamont has a strong representation among the 24 finalists, with photos by each of the three of us.”

    On Wednesday, Columbia University’s Sponsored Projects Administration announced the good news that the university’s fringe rate on salaries applicable to grants and contracts from federal funding agencies has dropped from 30.3% to 28.2%, effective July 1 of this year. Investigators on current awards should have a few more dollars to spend on other expenses. The fringe rate on awards from non-government sources remains at 30.5%.

    On Tuesday, Franziska Landes was interviewed for Academic Minute, produced by WAMC Northeast Public Radio, on her work on lead contamination in soils in New York City backyards ( Also on Tuesday, the Finger Lakes Times ran a story about the paleoclimate studies that Billy D’Andrea and Nick Balascio and their colleagues have been conducting in the Lofoten Islands and the influence of climate change on the history of Viking settlements in the region ( Indrani Das was quoted in a Gizmodo story yesterday on some possible applications of data to be acquired by the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) on NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite – 2 (ICESat–2), scheduled to be launched in about a week from Vandenberg Air Force Base (

    Two important events are scheduled for Friday of next week. Lamont’s Changing Ice, Changing Coastlines Initiative is hosting an inaugural workshop for Observatory scientists interested in the cryosphere and sea-level change. According to organizers Martin Wearing, Laura Stevens, Julian Spergel, Chloe Gustafson, Miranda Cashman, and Alex Boghosian, “This first event will focus on big-picture research questions in glaciology and sea-level research and is aimed at making introductions and facilitating discussions between participants.” An e-mail invitation from Martin yesterday asked those interested in attending to fill out a Google survey and prepare a short introductory slide presentation. The workshop will be in Monell Auditorium from 10 am to 3 pm.

    And at 3:30 pm that same afternoon, Lamont will host the 14th Excellence in Mentoring Award ceremony. The finalists for this year’s award will be announced next week by the Mentoring Award Committee, which is co-chaired by Kuheli Dutt and Bob Newton and includes Bridgit Boulahanis, Suzana Camargo, Arlene Fiore, Sheean Haley, Frank Pavia, Eunjin Han from IRI, and Greg Yetman from CIESIN.

    In the meantime, at 3:30 this afternoon the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is hosting a welcoming party for the 19 new graduate students who have just begun their Ph.D. studies. Food and drink will be provided behind Lamont Hall. I hope to see you there.