• November 26, 2018
    CMU's Wendy Robertson, Recipient of the 2018 International Association of Hydrogeologists International Service Award

    ​(by Andy Manning, The Hydrogeologist Newsletter of the GSA Hydrogeology Division)
    International Association of Hydrogeologists U S National Charter President Jim LaMoreaux presenting award to Wendy RobertsonDr. Wendy Robertson of Central Michigan University has been selected to receive the 2018 International Association of Hydrogeologists U.S. Chapter's International Service Award. The Award recognizes the efforts of hydrogeologists based in the United States who have shown an outstanding commitment to assisting the international community with groundwater-related needs. Wendy is receiving the International Service Award in recognition of her tireless and selfless work over the past eight years with Well Aware, an international nonprofit organization that provides drinking water systems in areas of water scarcity. Wendy's work as lead hydrogeologist has been instrumental in successfully providing clean and sustainable water systems for 52 communities and over 220,000 people in east Africa in great need. Her commitment, technical expertise, and willingness to work extensively on the ground directly with benefiting communities (taking numerous trips to east Africa) is a major reason why Well Aware boasts a 100% project success rate. This is truly exceptional in east Africa, where many water systems installed by nonprofits fail within a year of installation, and it could not be achieved without Wendy's dedication of countless hours of careful planning, smart implementation, and persistent follow-up on projects. Amazingly, she has performed this work largely on her own time, while maintaining a full-time faculty position at Central Michigan University. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at CMU, she further shares her passion for helping communities in desperate need of clean water by mentoring students involved with projects providing water to critical need areas. The Award will be presented to Wendy during the Hydrogeology Division Luncheon and Awards Ceremony at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana on Tuesday, November 6th. We hope you can join us there for the presentation. Congratulations Wendy!
  • October 11, 2018
    CMU prof to advise governor

    Lemke picked for state board that targets environmental and natural resources issues
    Larry LemkeLawrence Lemke, chair of Central Michigan University’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is among Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s initial appointments to the state Environmental Science Advisory Board. The nine-member board was created to advise the governor on issues affecting the protection of the environment and the management of the state’s natural resources. “Each individual has a unique set of skills to ensure Michigan’s natural resources and environment are preserved and protected,” Snyder said. Lemke’s current research encompasses groundwater pollution, air pollution and soil contamination. His term runs to Oct. 4, 2020.

  • October 3, 2018
    CMU prof catches a falling star

    Smithsonian considers $100,000 former doorstop for its collection
    22 pound meteoriteThroughout her 18 years at Central Michigan University, Mona Sirbescu, a geology faculty member in earth and atmospheric sciences, has had many people ask her if the rock they had found was a meteorite. "For 18 years, the answer has been categorically 'no' — meteor wrongs, not meteorites," she said with a smile. That has changed. Earlier this year a man from Grand Rapids, Michigan, asked her to examine a large rock that he has had for 30 years. She was skeptical but agreed to meet him. When he arrived, he pulled out of a bag the biggest potential meteorite she had ever been asked to examine. "I could tell right away that this was something special," she said. She determined that it was in fact a 22-plus pound meteorite, making it the sixth-largest recorded find in Michigan — and potentially worth $100,000.

  • September 17, 2018
    Seeking origins of life in rocks

    Geochemistry student gets training at nation's top labs, in running to get experiment time
    National School on Neutron and X-ray scattering labYou could say that Stephan Hlohowskyj is on the road to becoming a rock star. He is the first Central Michigan University graduate student to ever have been accepted to the prestigious National School on Neutron and X-Ray Scattering at the nation's two top research laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. And he was the only geoscientist there. The third-year molecular geochemistry doctoral student is using state-of-the-art techniques to explore the origins of life and the first signs of oxygen on Earth by examining trace metals in rocks. He was among the 30 percent ­of applicants nationwide who were accepted to get hands-on training in the research techniques available at the two national labs. Now that he has completed the summer program, he was invited to apply to run his experiment at Oak Ridge using its neutron technology, which can better pinpoint metals in Earth materials, like sedimentary rocks.

  • June 22, 2018
    Geology exam comes to CMU

    Status as Michigan's only test site could boost CMU graduates and program
    Geology displayBecoming the first and only location in Michigan where budding geologists can take a national exam required for licensing could help Central Michigan University’s own geology students. Administering the Fundamentals of Geology Exam here will allow CMU’s geology program to use it as an assessment tool to help determine how well students are prepared in eight fundamental content areas and improve on the program’s 85 percent placement rate in jobs and graduate schools, said Lawrence Lemke, chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The National Association of State Boards of Geology has approved CMU to be the only location in Michigan where geology majors can take the exam — a step toward becoming licensed. CMU seniors are encouraged to take the exam in their final semester or soon after graduation.

  • April 25, 2018
    More frequent severe storms?

    Senior's meteorology research predicts increase in Michigan
    Weather Map of MichiganEmily Tinney's senior research project has good news for future Michigan severe storm chasers, not-so-good news for builders. The Central Michigan University meteorology major from Haslett, Michigan, has determined through computer models that there could be a 35 percent increase in the frequency of the most intense storms in Michigan. "Knowing this will help us to prepare by building our infrastructure better and taking steps to protect our agriculture from more damaging storms," said Tinney, who compared storm data from 1990-2005 to 2085-2100. "No one has looked at how the change in weather patterns will impact Michigan in the future from a life-and-property standpoint." She presented her findings Tuesday, April 24, at the state Capitol during CMU's 17th annual Capitol Scholars event, which showcases CMU's student research projects to the public and recognizes how they advance the understanding of science and technology.

  • Drilling for geological answers
    CMU faculty member on global team looking for climate data beneath ocean
    Natalia ZakharovaIt didn't take long for Natalia Zakharova to launch into research after joining the earth and atmospheric sciences faculty in August. At the end of January, the Central Michigan University assistant professor joined 33 scientists from around the world to study one of the most seismically active areas in Europe: a 5-million-year-old rift in the Gulf of Corinth. The expedition drilled deep into the "young" rift for sediment cores that tell the geologic history of the area, such as faulting, landscape evolution, earthquake activity and climate fluctuations. Zakharova aims to bring some core samples back to CMU, where she has been creating a lab that she and students will use to study the conditions under which rocks break and rifts form.

  • A boatload of opportunities
    It's raining possibilities for former New York meteorologist pursuing her Ph.D. at CMU
    Maria MolinaFrom New York City weather forecaster on Fox News to doctoral student at Central Michigan University to adventurer on an Antarctic expedition, meteorologist Maria Molina is harnessing the winds of change. Molina left New York in 2016 to pursue a Ph.D. in earth and ecosystem science at CMU, but over the horizon was something she couldn't have predicted: being chosen for a monthlong expedition to Antarctica with women of science from around the world. In November, Molina found out she was accepted into Homeward Bound, an initiative launched in December 2016 to create a global network of women with backgrounds in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math and medicine) to help influence environmental policy.

  • CMU meteorology students learn science behind hurricanes
    Photo courtesy of 9&10 News
    Marty Baxter in front of digital weather mapAs Hurricane Irma tore through Florida, meteorology students at Central Michigan University used it as a chance to learn about forecasting hurricanes. Since students got to campus, they’ve been watching to see what’s going on with the major hurricanes to hit the United States this year and understand the science behind them. We met the next generation of meteorologists. They include Cedar Junior Woody Unruh. They’ve spent the past few weeks learning as much as they can about hurricanes. “It’s completely different to see it in a real world setting. You see these concepts that we talk about in class and you see them actually applied to the real world, which is really interesting to see how storms move and basically, it’s not just a text book,” said Unruh. They’ve covered everything from how the storms form to what influences where they’ll head.

  • Tropics producing more hurricanes this year
    Just days after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma is taking aim on the southeastern U.S. In addition, there are two more named storms in the Atlantic basin at this time: Jose and Katia. "So we're, I think, about two storms above normal by this date in a typical season," said Dr. John Allen, Assistant Professor of Meteorology at Central Michigan University. "And part of that is we've actually been extremely low in previous seasons." The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the Atlantic basin was back in 2011. Before that, it was 2005 during the times of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Dr. Allen -- who specializes in hazardous weather -- says no one knows for sure why 2017 is more active than recent years, but says there are some contributing factors.

  • CMU presents at this year's Midwest Geobiology Symposium
    Student explaining research posterGeobiology is a rising field of interdisciplinary study centered around the interactions between earth and biological systems – the "co-evolution of life and the earth." This can range from nearly pure chemistry, as in Dr. Anthony Chappaz's research group, to microbiology studied by Dr. Deric Learman's team, and including those of us in between who use biological markers to get at interactions between life and geochemistry. This October, several of us drove to Cincinnati for the 5th annual Midwest Geobiology Symposium (www.midwestgeobiology.org), hosted by the biology and geology departments of the University of Cincinnati.

    The Geobiology Symposium is intended, primarily, to be a forum for early career researchers to present their findings, get feedback, and network with like-minded scientists in the region. All presentations are given by graduate students or postdocs, and posters are primarily by postdocs, graduate students, and undergrads. The conference is sponsored by the Agouron Foundation, a California-based private non-profit.

    ​​This year, Stephan Hlohowskyj (pictured), a new EES Ph. D. student in the Chappaz group, presented his research on developing a novel tool for quantifying molybdenum species in sulfidic water. Trace metals like molybdenum are key witnesses in the great forensic investigation of when and how Earth's atmosphere became oxygenated. Geologists haven't yet done a thorough job of cross-examining these witnesses; Stephan's dissertation research will provide the tools needed to improve that investigation. We were also accompanied by Clara Brennan (also in picture), an undergraduate doing her capstone project with the Chappaz group. Clara survived her first conference with great aplomb, especially given that the interdisciplinary nature of geobiology means she was faced with information from traditionally very unfamiliar fields.

    Next year, the Midwest Geobiology Symposium will be held at Washington University, St. Louis and we're aiming to bring an even larger group of student presenters
  • Weathering a century of storms and sun - National Weather Service honors CMU for 100 years of service
    Local forecasters often cite historical data to provide perspective on days the weather feels like it’s going to extremes. For example, in the sweltering summer sun they’ll point out that 106 degrees is the hottest temperature recorded in Mount Pleasant, and when the temperature drops below zero, they offer the frigid fact that 30 below is the coldest temperature on record.

  • National Weather Service honored CMU with its partnership and 100 years of observation
    The National Weather Service named Central Michigan University a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Monday with an award honoring its partnership and 100 years of weather observations.

  • CMU to offer new major in Environmental Science
    Central Michigan University's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences is introducing a bachelor of science degree​ in environmental science and will be accepting students starting this fall. The new program is designedd to provide students with an in-depth understanding of environmental systems and prepare them for positions in a high-demand sector.

  • Digging deep into Earth's science - geology majors learn from experience
    In a recent classroom lab at Central Michigan University, students sat at the edges of their seats prepared for what ​​could only be called a rocking good time.

  • CMU meteorology students launch weather balloon in storm
    Central Michigan University meteorology students launched a helium-filled weather balloon - with meteorological instruments trailing behind - into the angry skies (Wednesday). The goal of the launch is to collect a profile of the atmosphere in order to collect information to help combat the uncertainty of forecasting spring storms.

  • CMU's Dr. Marty Baxter participates in winter weather forecasting experiment
    Marty Baxter in front of classDuring the week of February 15 - Dr. Baxter took part in the annual Winter Weather Forecasting Experiment at NOAA's Center for Climate and Weather Prediction in College Park, Maryland. This month-long experiment pairs forecasters and researchers from around the country with forecasters from the Weather Prediction Center. During the experiment, newly developed computer models and forecast techniques are tested for winter weather events across the U.S. In addition, Dr. Baxter gave a presentation for NOAA personnel on his research on the "Distribution of Single-Banded Snowfall in Cold-Season Central United States Cyclones".

  • Mapping Mother Nature's impact on wine - CMU students track weather patterns at Michigan winery
    The unique Michigan weather on Old Mission Peninsula plays a key part in making your glass of pinot perfect. For CMU meteorology faculty and students, this make the region ripe for research to help maintain Michigan's $300 million wine industry.

  • CMU professor presents research at international symposium in Poland and Germany
    Mona SirbescuIn June, 2015 Dr. Mona Sirbescu presented her recent research developments on magma crystallization at two international conferences. The 7th International Symposium on Granitic Pegmatites in Ksiaz, Poland, (17th – 21st of Jun​e) was attended by about 100 scientists from 6 continents. She also gave an invited talk at the annual conferences of DMG, the German Mineralogical Society in Potsdam, Germany (26th -27th of June) to an audience of about 60 researchers specialized in the areas of Petrology, Petrophysics, and Geochemistry.

  • CMU Alumnus becomes CNN meteorologist
    When he was a child, Derek Van Dam built a tree fort in his front yard and climbed it every day. One day, while watching a blustery thunderstorm from the window of his childhood home, his tree fort was knocked over. Frustrated but full of wonder he developed a passion for science, the atmosphere and the weather.