geophysics Colorado School of Mines Spring 2011

geophysics Colorado School of Mines Spring 2011
Colorado School of Mines
Spring 2011
Spring 2011
Colorado School of Mines
Department News
Why Geophysics?
Cultural Experience
2010 Field Camp
Research Centers
Teaching Abroad
USGS Partnership
Women in Geophysics
Student Life
Class of 2010
This Just In...
Greetings from the Department of Geophysics!
We are pleased the Geophysics newsletter has
found its way into your hands and we are sure
you will find it both informative and enjoyable.
We invited our undergraduates to write articles
telling us how they discovered geophysics and
decided to major in it. In some cases, we have
included their entire articles; in others, we took
excerpts from their articles and sprinkled them
throughout the newsletter. You will enjoy their
As in previous issues, we have included
highlights of graduate research activities,
a recap of summer field camp, photos from
graduation, and feature articles on cultural
experiences of faculty and students traveling to
and from Golden. Special features in this issue
are a section on women in Geophysics and some
highlights of our growing interaction with the
United States Geological Survey (USGS).
This newsletter marks a changing of the
guard. In 2010 we celebrated the careers
and retirements of Barbara McLennon and
Susan Venable. Barbara gets credit for the
marvelous layout and publication of all of our
previous newsletters. We are grateful that Dawn
Umpleby has picked right up where Barbara left
off, producing this 2011 newsletter.
On the cover
December 2010 Geophysics PhD graduates: Yuanzhong Fan,
Rituparna Sarker, Jia Yan. Photo by Barbara McLenon.
Celebrations of Service:
Barbara and Susan Retire!
Susan Venable rocked her way to retirement
in 2010. During the 2010 RCP spring meeting
Susan was invited to sit in a rocking chair
with a Mines logo and a plaque on the back
that said “Have a Rockin’ good time – from all
your friends in RCP”. Considering that I had to
assemble the chair moments before we gave it to
Susan, I was surprised and thankful that it held
together on its inaugural run!
hn Stockwell,
ll, Dave
Dave H
le, B
bara M
on, Pa
aull S
Terry Young.
Barbara McLenon joined the staff of the
Colorado School of Mines as an independent
contractor hired to perform publication-related
work with the Center for Wave Phenomena (CWP)
in 1985. CWP at the time was an interdisciplinary
research group consisting of 4 mathematicians,
Norman Bleistein, Jack K. Cohen, John De Santo,
and Frank Hagin, and "publications" involved
typing papers laced with equations on a clunky
word processor called a "North Star Advantage".
CWP was officially in the Math department at that
Raising three daughters during her time here
prepared her for her unofficial role as "Mom"
for many of the graduate students. Barbara's
human touch in CWP and the Geophysics
department, her wit, kindness, and friendship are
perhaps the greatest assests that we will miss.
~ John Stockwell
We miss Susan and she fesses up to the fact
that she misses us – but only just a little. She
is busy with grandkids, projects, cleaning out
the basement from the move, and this and that.
She does admit that at the end of the day she
likes sitting on her front porch, rockin’ away.
~ Tom Davis
Over the subsequent 26 years, as CWP moved
from the Math Department to Geophysics, and the
faculty of CWP changed twice, Barbara's skills
expanded to typsetting, web page design, and the
production of the newsletters of CWP, and of the
Geophysics department, as well as the publication
annually of a 300-page-plus book of papers
written by members of CWP. Barbara's skills in
graphic arts, her inventiveness, and competence
transformed the public face of both CWP and the
Geophysics Department.
Susan and her husband Stan moved down from
Fort Collins 8 years ago to be closer to their
daughter. She wanted to keep active and did so
by joining us to handle the administrative side
of RCP and to work with the Department. As
in any 50 – 50 sharing plan she soon found out
it was more like 100 – 50 and there were never
enough hours in the day. Being the conscientious
soul that she is, she found working 12 hour days
enabled her to get by. Eventually though she
came to her senses and one day said “I quit”.
That was another shock for yours truly.
om Davis, Michelle Szobody, Susan Venable, Stan Venable,
Terry Young, Bob Benson
This spring undergraduates were asked to write about why they chose geophysics as their major.
Their answers are on the following pages, and in the “short takes” spread throughout this edition.
Paying the Toll - My Road Trip to Geophysics
While attending college there is one question that you will have to answer on a fairly regular basis.
“What is your major?”
I have found that over the past few years of answering this question I havee
been met with the same confused looks. Not many people know what Geophysics is and how it plays a
role in their everyday lives. In fact I wasn’t aware of the subject until my junior year in high school. Thee
path I have taken has been a bit like a road trip. I have taken wrong turns, changed directions, and payed
a variety of tolls along the way, but now that I’m finally here in my second year at CSM and actually
taking classes dealing with my major, I’ve realized it was all worth it.
It’s been an odd journey, especially since I don’t even know why it started but I do remember how. In
the second grade my teacher read the class a book about the city of Pompeii and the massive volcanic
eruption that occurred. Soon after I was hooked. I reread the story over and over again during our
reading hours, unable to get enough information. I was introduced to another aspect of geophysics in thee
fourth grade when we viewed a movie about plate tectonics. I can distinctly remember my reactions to the
film. I was completely
he film
terrified and absolutely fascinated at the same time.
I slowly began to change directions as my interests shifted over the next few years into the
meteorological sciences, focusing on tornados and major thunderstorms. My new goal in life
was to be a tornado chaser and I was in the perfect place for it. I lived in St. Louis, MO and
was quite often witness to extreme weather patterns. If there was a storm I would be outside
for as long as possible. This usually meant until my dad decided it was time for the both of
us to get inside and away from windows, and settle for just watching The Weather Channel
I traveled along this detour for quite some time, that is until I was reintroduced to geophysics
via a literal road trip. My family camped in Yellowstone National Park during the summer
off my ffreshman
reshhman year iin
n hi
ighh sch
l At first I wasn’t excited about the trip but after our first day of hiking around the geyser basins
I was one happy camper. As we spent our days exploring I soaked up as much information as possible and flipped on my turn signal.
It was about time to merge back on the geophysics highway. I spent the next several years researching and learning all I could about
Yellowstone and now had a goal in mind. I wanted to learn all I could and someday be able to research the area and everything that
was happening there.
Now that I had a goal in mind it was time to lay on the gas. I was done with high school the minute I walked through the doors on
the first day so I chose a different path. I attended the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Technology in Maryville,
MO for my junior and senior years and worked through all my general education classes. While there I decided it was time to figure
out where I would go to reach my end destination. This is when I finally figured out what Geophysics was and found my new home,
Colorado School of Mines. After visiting with my dad (and getting over my qualms about the “Howdy Folks!” sign in downtown
Golden), I was set on attending Mines.
For the next few months it was all work and no play. I was driving on the windy backroads through rain and snow in my attempts to
finish my classes, graduate and be accepted. I managed to complete my tasks and was set to attend Mines in the Fall of
2009. I had assumed that since I had sped through high school and the start of my college career that I would be able
to jump right into my major but little did I know that there were still a variety of toll booths ahead. I have now slowly
made my way through a year and a half worth of general education classes. I have hit a variety of road blocks along
the way, some pushing me to the point of reevaluating why I am here, but the fact of the matter is I have found my way
back to the main road. This semester I am in several Geophysics classes and I can finally see how these classes will
help me in the future.
I might still be traveling down the road but at least now there is an end in sight. I have yet to decide exactly
what but I know that each day I’m getting closer and closer to what I’ve been striving to reach for many years.
~ Liz Maag, GP Sophomore
Wrestling Geophysics
I came to Mines with my heart set on mechanical engineering and
nothing was going to change my mind. That was until a series of
eevents slowly led me to geophysics. At the Celebration of Mines I saw
a booth that said “Geophysics”. I said to myself, “How cool would it
bbe to say to people that I am a geophysicist,” but that was the extent of
me wanting to join the department. I then had Earth and Environmental
Systems where I started appreciating how cool the earth was. I decided
tto talk with Dr. Shorey, the professor for Earth and Environmental Systems,
ms, tto
o see wh
hatt maj
jor wo
ld bbetter
it me. I expressed
d hhow I loved physics, geology and math and he pointed me in the direction of geophysics. As I researched more
and more about geophysics I began to see what an incredibly fulfilling life I could make out of this major. That same day I went
down to the registrar’s office and changed my major to geophysics. Besides geophysics, I have another passion, wrestling. I am on
the Mines wrestling team and we sometimes miss a day or two of classes, but my geophysics professors are very understanding of
what I do and allow me to make up work I missed and catch up on notes I may have also missed. Geophysics is a small
department so the professors get to know you very well. I am not just a random person who came up to the professor
after class one day saying I am going to miss Friday’s quiz. Between wrestling and geophysics, I would say my life at
Mines is interesting and definitely a lot of fun!
~ Elias Arias, GP Sophomore
The Future Energy Resources Minister of Thailand
After exposure to off-shore seismic and gravimetric analyses at an exploration
and production site in Thailand, I became facinated with exploring combinations
of alternative energy and my passion for physics and mathematics. The chance to
combine all these interests spurred my curiosity, so over the next two years I tried to
immerse myself in the study of geophysics. The next year I participated in a drilling
site workshop and used various types of wave generators to explore beneth the
ground’s surface. Day after day, I discovered pieces of my future dream and career.
In 2007, my curiosity regarding 2-dimensional waves and vibrating plate patterns,
used to simulate the Pacific plate’s motion, allowed me to win the scholarship from
the national physics JSTP (Junior Science Talent Project) to develop this project with Professor Narin Nuttavut at
Mahidol University. My world of geophysics broadened further when I experienced computational geophysical lab
analysis, and gained international perspectives as a German exchange student.
What causes a tsunami? How do Pacific plate motions affect earthquakes? When will petroleum become obsolete and no llonger
be used to power mankind’s vehicles? The more I questioned the nature of the world’s cycles, the more facinated I became
with the complex physics equations which could answer my queries. But, there is no experiement, no professor, and no college
to teach me geophysics in Thailand. Therefore, I strived for education abroad. At the Colorado School of Mines Geophysics
Department, I have begun to find answers to my questions. Geophysics not only has the potential to answer pressing
challenges for my generation in Thailand, but it will prepare me for my future career in the South East Asia Petroleum
Company. This study will shape my achievements and aspirations to be the Energy Resources Minister in Thailand.
~ Detchai Ittharat, GP Freshman
Unlimited Possibilities
I became interested in geophysics because I am such a fan of the outdoors. Growing up, I
found a love for hiking, something about standing thousands of feet above the world is just an
incredible feeling. Anyway, always looking at mountains and their magnificence made me want
to pursue a degree that would allow me to study our beautiful planet or even planets beyond
this one. I want to be able to learn about the Earth and find ways to put its raw energy and
power to our (mankind’s) advantage, while still maintaining its beauty. A career in geophysics
can take you to some incredible places to make unbelievable discoveries. I have yet to hear of
someone who has regretted pursuing a job in this area. What I specifically want to study, I’m
not sure yet. All I know is I want to be involved in the wonders of our planet and solar system.
~ Allie Grazulis, GP Sophomore
Why study Geophysics? Geophysics is a science of unlimited possibilities. Research in this area not only covers our Earth, but
beyond it, to our atmosphere and to other planets. Also, there are so many interesting things about Earth right around us, under our
feet or just above us. The study of geophysics stretches from tectonic plates on the ocean floor to the Hawaiian volcanoes to the
aurora borealis. That is what is so cool about this topic. It covers every aspect of what our Earth is, what is does and how it works.
A Washing Machine, A Computer, and EPICS2
When I was 13 years old I participated in many math competitions among elementary schools in
my city. Then, I was chosen to go to math Olympics. I also participated in a science competition
which I won for making a washing machine.
In 2000 I got an old computer that had a Windows 95 operating system. I started fixing my own
computer, and then other family computers, gradually becoming familiar with most computer parts.
After that I started using many graphic programs, such as Paint, Adobe Photoshop, etc., and then
I started doing 3D modeling using some programs like 3D Max. In 2008, I received a scholarship
to attend the Colorado School of Mines. Most of the people I knew were majoring in petroleum
engineering. Every one of them tried to convince me how important the petroleum engineering major
is because petroleum is the most important source of Saudi income. One can easily get a job and
make a llot
ot m
oneey. So I ddec
ided to major in petroleum engineering.
Last spring, I started taking petroleum engineering classes. Professors explained how important petroleum is in this world and how
their students can make a lot of money. They did not talk so much about the importance of the knowledge we were going to learn. As
a result of that, I started thinking about switching to a major with more science that is practical at the same time. After doing some
research and reading about the majors at Mines, I discovered Geophysics.
Last semester, I took EPICS 2 with Dr. Dave Hale. That class was about programming, which was one of the first things I hoped to
learn. During that class Dr. Hale showed us some of his geophysical work, which included processing data and turning it into a 3D
image so you can see the oil and gas reserves. He turned geophysical data into a model that revealed unseen activities inside the
What I am learning in geophysics right now makes me more excited about what I am going to learn in the
future. Everything I hoped to learn when I was young I am discovering inside the Geophysical Engineering major.
~ Abdulhamid Almumtin, GP Sophomore
The Many Wonders of Geophysics
As I dive into my academic career in geophysics here at Mines, I am continually amazed by
the multitude of applications of geophysics. Although geophysics used to be primarily used in
the petroleum industry, this is no longer the case. Nowadays, geophysics is being used in forensics,
archeology, and to detect unexploded ordnance. Geophysicists are also able to study the geophysics of
other planets and geophysics is being used by civil engineers in their quest to improve structures.
Though sometimes the many options available to me to explore as a geophysist may be rather daunting,
I also find it comforting and exciting. Today geophysicists are able to visit space, the ocean floor, travel
back in time, and assist in solving some of the world’s many mysteries, which is truly astonishing.
~ Jasmine Lambert, GP Junior
Area of Special Interest (ASI)
When I arrived at Mines to begin my studies as an undergraduate, I was already set on being a geophysicist simply because
it sounded “cool”. To fulfill certain requirements for assignments and projects in high school I had researched and examined what
geophysicists do for a living, but at the end of the day my final reason was because the name was cool. Throughout the first semesters
of undergraduate study I began to have doubts concerning my major, mostly because I had only taken geology classes and no
geophysics classes. To settle the doubt, I spoke to my advisor and he pointed out the main differences between geology and geophysics
and I decided to stick with geophysics and see how it would turn out.
Around this time Dr. Jeff Andrews-Hanna gave a lecture to the Planetary Geology class concerning Mars and how he applied
geophysics in order to analyze the southern highlands and northern lowlands anomaly. For me, this was a pivotal lecture because it
rekindled my interest in geophysics, and I started looking into an ASI (Area of Special Interest) in
Space and Planetary Science and Engineering. After summer vacation, the real geophysics studies
began with EPICS II, then Materials of the Earth and the Theory of Static Fields. So far I’ve
discovered a lot about geophysics and now my interest in the field is stronger than ever.
Looking back on my three completed semesters at Mines, I think that people are the main reason
I am studying geophysics. My professors’ experience, love for their field, and genuine interest
in their students’ learning are the main reasons I am majoring in Geophysical Engineering
with an ASI in SPSE. So I say kudos to all the Geophysics professors. Keep it t up!
~ Dan Shannon, GP Sophomore
From 90°F to -13°F: A Tropical Girl in a Frozen Golden
Nataly Zerpa, GP Graduate Student, Reservoir Characterization Project
When you meet a new person it is common to ask: Where
are you from? In my case it is a difficult question to answer
considering that I moved more than 29 times around Venezuela
and the world.
When I received
my letter of
acceptance from
Mines I was the
happiest person
in the world. It
took me around
three months
to get all the
done and to get my visa. Everything was ready for my trip to
my new hometown. When I booked my flight I realized that I
had to pack all my life in two pieces of luggage of 50 pounds
each. It was hard to decide what to bring and what not to bring,
but everything became easier when I opened my closet and
everything I saw was summer clothes: swimsuits, skirts, tanks
tops, summer dresses and sandals. I was not afraid of moving
to a different country, but I was concerned about the weather.
As soon as my plane landed I saw a white world waiting for
me. It was the first time in my life to see snow. I remember my
first impression: everything is white and white is an extremely
boring color. I have to confess that the best advice I ever got
was “Do not eat yellow snow”.
y in Golden was a very
y cold one. I went to walk
Myy first day
rom 3
00 R
Days to 300
Sunny Days
Hilde Haktorson,
GP Exchange
know much about Golden and Colorado
before I came, but what I had heard was
there is a lot of snow and temperatures
are very cold. It is wonderful to come
to a place where the weather is so
stable; if it is sunny when you wake up,
it is most likely sunny all day. This is
not the case in Bergen, Norway which
is where I come from. I have heard that
there are 300 sunny days a year here,
in Bergen it is 300 rainy days a year.
I also enjoy all the squirrels running
around campus every day and how
spotting a deer is a normal occurrence.
I’ve never been so close to wildlife
before. I also really like the mountains
in Colorado, both in the summer and
winter. I love snowboarding and I go as
often as possible. The snow is so much
better here than what I’m used to, and I
have already had a lot of beautiful days
C ill Sunde
S d Gjengseth,
th Hilde
Hild Haktorson,
H kt
Id Ianssen
L dh
at Copper Mountain.
What I have also experienced during
my time here are all the nice people.
Everyone you meet on the street is
nice, smiling and they often say hello
to you. A big difference from home
is that all the professors here know
your name and talk to you if they see
you. They are much more open and
seem interested in how the students
are doing. The professors back home
might not recognize you in the hallway,
and they definitely don’t know your
name. CSM also seems to have a good
connection with companies and they
often bring in people from the industry
to give lectures. This is very motivating
and I feel more ready than ever to go
from being a student to an employee.
I was actually supposed to be here for
jjust one semester, but after being here
and experiencing Golden for a couple
of weeks, I decided to stay for two
The time has gone by so fast and I
know that I am really going to miss
this place and all the people I’ve
gotten to know. This has been an
extraordinary experience and I am truly
happy I decided to go abroad one year,
especially to Golden. I will remember
this year for the rest of my life.
I arrived in Golden on a warm and
sunny Tuesday in August. It was scary
to come to a new and foreign country
and I was nervous, but luckily I was
travelling with two girls from Norway
who made my transition much easier.
Overall, I was very excited for the new
opportunity. The other girls had a place
to stay in Mines Park, and unfortunately
CSM was still working on finding a
place for me. In the meantime I decided
to stay at my friends’ place. We arrived
at campus and had no idea where to go
or who to ask for help. Fortunately we
met a really nice guy who helped us.
He even gave us and all of our luggage
a ride to Mines Park. It surprised us
how open, attentive and helpful people
were. Usually people from Norway are
not that helpful to strangers. During my
time here, I’ve noticed how warm and
sunny it is almost every day. I didn’t
around and everywhere I received a smile from people I do not
know asking me “How are you doing today?” At the beginning
it was weird, but then I got used to it and now I like it. Golden
is a very safe place where you just have to be aware of wildlife.
I remember one day I was walking to the grocery store and I
saw two mountain lions in front of me. I was so afraid! In five
seconds I remembered all the T.V. shows I've seen in my life
about animals that attack people. Nothing happened to me, but it
is a good story to tell.
I spent last summer in Golden, and I have to say that it is a
different place. I like it better because it is closer to what I am
used to. It is simply beautiful and there are a lot of outdoor
activities and things to do that you don't know where to start.
The only thing needed to make Golden a perfect place is a
beach. Since that is not possible I printed some pictures of
Venezuelan beaches and put them on my desk.
The 2010 Field Camp Experience
-Ashley Fish, GP Combined BS/MS Student
If hiking seven kilometers up a narrow,
mountainous trail while jug-hustling weren’t
insane enough, try hiking up a 45 degree slope
of debris flow channels with rolls of resistivity
survey wire on your back… at elevation.
Now, imagine being fortunate enough to be placed in these
situations with fifty new faces from all around the world, with backgrounds ranging from material science
to mathematics to geophysics. Further yet, imagine that such geophysics related mountaineering and rock
climbing adventures would breed lifelong friendship and memories worthy of story time with your future
grandchildren. This was Geophysical Field Session 2010, an experience to be remembered.
The goal of Geophysical Field Session 2010 was to understand the inner workings of the Upper Arkansas
Valley’s geological and hydrological systems; to locate and quantify potential geothermal energy resources
within Chaffee County, Colorado.
The first two weeks of Field Session consisted of field surveys ranging from seismic to DC Resistivity, from
SP to gravity and magnetics and covered the region from Chalk Cliffs down to Poncha Springs. We were
placed in unfamiliar territory and were challenged to reach beyond our comfort zones.
The second two weeks of Field Session were designed for data processing and report writing. With the
collaboration of Boise State, Imperial College London, and CSM faculty and students, we produced a quality,
220 page report outlining the geology and geothermal character of Chaffee County, Colorado.
Unbeknownst to my classmates and me at the beginning of Field Session, we would accomplish and
experience much more than just a geophysical survey and analysis of geothermal activity in Chaffee County;
much more…
Within the four weeks of Field Session, my classmates and I were presented with the invaluable opportunity
not only to discover the quirks of applied geophysics but the opportunity to forge friendships, which I believe
will last a lifetime. Exploring Zapata Falls, getting temporary “flyerfly” tattoos, gator wrangling, eating familystyle dinners at the ranch, brewing Twinnings tea and cooking pasta on a camp fire, hiking miles while lugging
geophysics equipment up mountainous terrain, watching our TA break-dance, sitting in the geothermal hot tub
talking the night away under the stars, experiencing Dr. Bob’s geologic tours, and listening to our Professor
play the violin while writing reports ‘till dark thirty, were all bonding experiences never to be forgotten.
The Planetary Geophysics Lab
This has been a busy year for
Jeff Andrews-Hanna and the Planetary
Geophysics Lab. This past fall, the
group grew to four graduate students and
one undergraduate. Graduate students
Brian Davis, Ezgi Karasozen, and Yaser
Kattoum joined the group, as did GP
undergrad Ryan Isherwood. We now
have six people studying four planetary
bodies: Mars, the Moon, Venus, and
Saturn’s moon Titan.
Jeff continues his research
on the hydrological cycles of Mars and
Titan, the geodynamics and tectonics of
Mars, and impact basins on the Moon.
One big research focus this past year has
been the origin of the Valles Marineris
canyons on Mars. These enormous
canyons are up to 2000 km long, 200
km wide, and 10 km deep – much
larger than anything seen on the Earth
or anywhere else in the solar system.
This canyon must have formed in a
unique manner – and current research is
investigating the confluence of factors
that led to such a dramatic chasm on
Mars. Another big research focus is
on the history of water on Mars. Early
in the history of Mars, it possessed an
active hydrological cycle similar to that
The members of the Planetary
Geophysics Lab, from left to right:
Ryan Isherwood, Kelsey Zabrusky,
Brian Davis, Jeff AndrewsHanna, Yaser Kattoum, and Ezgi
Karasozen. (Clockwise from top
left) Valles Marineris (a, MOLA
topography), the Cape Verde
outcrop on Mars (b, Opportunity
Rover image), sedimentary
deposits in Becquerel crater and
Sinus Meridiani (c, d; HiRISE
images), the large sedimentary
mount in Hebes Chasma (e, Viking
image mosaic), the South Tharsis
Ridge Belt (f, MOLA topography),
the topography of the Moon (g,
LOLA topography), the gravity
and topography of the Orientale
basin (h, i), and Olympus Mons
(j, Viking image; k, MOLA
on the Earth today. A paper published
in 2010 investigated this hydrological
cycle in detail, focusing on the origin
of an extensive set of evaporite deposits
currently being explored by NASA’s
Opportunity rover. These deposits
formed as groundwater rose to the
surface and evaporated, leaving behind
a thick stack of salt-rich sedimentary
rocks. A follow-up study, now in press,
looks at how the hydrological cycle of
Mars changed over time as the planet’s
climate changed.
In related work, graduate
student Kelsey Zabrusky is using a
variety of datasets from NASA orbiters
to reconstruct the original extent of
these ancient evaporite deposits on
Mars. Her work found that the deposits
once covered a very large area of the
martian surface, and the deposits being
explored by NASA’s rover are only a
small remnant of the original deposits.
She presented this research at both the
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
(LPSC) and the Geological Society of
America meeting, and placed 3rd in a
graduate student research fair poster
competition at CSM.
Brian Davis is using
geophysical data to investigate the
structure and evolution of Valles
Marineris. By combining gravity and
topography data, he is able to look
below the surface at the deep structure
of the canyons. Evidence suggests that
at one time, the canyons were filled
with thick sedimentary deposits, only
a vestige of which remains today. The
erosion and removal of these deposits
would have had significant geophysical
consequences for the entire region.
Brian submitted an abstract on this work
to present at the 2011 LPSC conference.
Ezgi Karasozen is
investigating a very different tectonic
province on Mars: the South Tharsis
Ridge Belt. Mars is a very alien world
in many ways, but some aspects of the
planet look a lot like home. This belt
of ridges on Mars looks very much
like the basin and range province
in the southwestern United States.
Understanding how these ridges formed
will shed new light on the geodynamic
and tectonic evolution of Mars.
Yaser Kattoum is using gravity
data to study giant impact basins on
the Moon. The surface of the Moon is
dominated by impact basins – when you look up at the Moon
at night, the dark spots you see are volcanic plains filling
these impact basins. With the help of Yaoguo Li and Rich
Krahenbuhl, he will be applying techniques currently being
used in the exploration geophysics community to see what they
will reveal about the sub-surface structure of these lunar impact
Not to be outdone, the undergrads in the lab have been
busy as well. In the first half of 2010, Joyce Hoopes assisted
Jeff in research on the methane lakes of Titan. In the summer,
Lauren Jozwiak from MIT joined the group as a summer intern.
She spent her summer studying Olympus Mons on Mars, the
largest volcano in the solar system. She used lava flows to
reconstruct the paleotopography around Olympus Mons, in
order to shed light on when the volcano formed. GP undergrad
Ryan Isherwood is now continuing this work, by using
geophysical models to study the deformation of the surrounding
lithosphere that resulted from the growth of this volcano.
Lauren and Ryan will present this research at the 2011 LPSC
~ Jeff Andrews-Hanna, Assistant Professor.
Rocks to Rockets: Why I Chose Geophysics
For the past three years here at Mines I had studied to become
an exploration geologist. However, while sitting on a rock in
Arches NP during week one of geology field camp, I realized
that this was not the kind of thing I wanted to do with the rest
of my life. Although I didn’t know
what I wanted to do at the time,
I promptly went home and spent
the next semester taking required
core classes while deciding what I
was going to do. Having already
completed more than half of the
credits towards the new Space and
Planetary Science and Engineering
ASI coupled with a lifelong
passion for space and a natural aptitude
itude towards computing
the decision was easy as I made the realization that geophysics
was the place for me.
Now that I look back on my decision, I wonder
why I did not make it sooner. It seems obvious to me now
that after years of watching the night sky, countless hours
watching and reading science fiction, and a still well rooted
interest in the geosciences, geophysics was where I belonged
from the start. I am excited to see how far this path will
take me as I continue to study and look towards the sky
~ Matt Emmett, GP Freshman
One of the most difficult things to teach a student is to think
independently. One of the ways this is taught is through
problem solving. This is often done through projects; advanced
gravity and magnetics and digital signal analysis labs come
to mind. However, all of this class work cannot compare with
doing actual research. The idea of actually applying knowledge
gained from classes to find out something useful is quite
staggering the first time. With a typical school assignment there
is a specific answer to get, with research there are only goals.
Personally this school year (2010-2011) has been the
first for attempting this kind of problem. At first, the idea is
extremely intimidating, since you are basically attempting to
do something that has no known answer because few or no
people have worked that specific problem. This is the reason
for research advisors; they are there to help you with the
thought process of what to do next and why, what papers to
read, what goals to set and so on. Jeff Andrews-Hanna helped
me with my research problem and he was amazing. Doing
this type of problem by myself, at this point in my education,
would have been extremely difficult, time-consuming and
likely frustrating. Jeff however broke the problem down into
smaller pieces and allowed me to attempt this sort of work in a
situation where I still had a full time class-schedule.
In the end the answer achieved in the problem is not
what is important (in fact it is still in progress) but rather what
is personally learned. The experience from this will be useful
for a long time, likely my whole career, and thus one of the
most valuable things I could receive at this point in time. It
is for this reason that I am thrilled that Colorado School of
Mines has this type of opportunity for undergraduate students.
Because of this and the experience that I have had in the
various classes at this school, I am glad that I choose to come
tto this university and specifically
tto this department. It has, thus far,
bbeen a wonderful and interesting
rride even if it can be bumpy
~ Ryan Isherwood,
GP Senior
From being born nearly the same time as the
Hubble’s initial launch, to seeing the death of the ninth planet,
my life has been enriched with a profound interest in what’s
out beyond the reach of our imagination. It can be said that
although geology seems to be more about the what, where and
when, my passions have always been more geared towards
the why and how. That being said, it is easy to see how this
interest is greatly paralleled by the geophysics core value of
discovery and study of that which cannot be seen in order to
explain process of that which can. From this, what greater
place is there to study the unknown than bodies outside our
Undergraduate Research:
Planetary Geophysics
S t u d y in g
Wa v e
P he no m e n a
SEG “Best Paper in Geophysics” Award
Dr. Jyoti Behura and Professor Ilya Tsvankin were presented SEG’s
“Best Paper in Geophysics” Award at the SEG 2010 Annual Meeting
in Denver. “It is an impressive achievement for Jyoti to receive
this award for a paper written when he was in graduate school,”
states Tsvankin, Jyoti’s Ph.D. advisor. Jyoti completed his degree
in May 2009 and is a geophysicist with the Imaging Research and
Development team of BP America, Inc., Houston.
The paper, “Role of the inhomogeneity angle in anisotropic
attenuation analysis,” presents a thorough treatment of a complex
wave-propagation problem with far-reaching implications in seismic
inversion. The possible influence of the so-called inhomogeneity
angle (the angle between the directions of wave propagation and
maximum attenuation) on attenuation coefficients had long confounded
in¬version and interpretation of seismic attenuation measurements even in
isotropic media.
Dr. Jyoti Behura, CWP graduate;
Dr. Steve Hill, SEG Past President and
CSM Adjunct Associate Professor;
The fundamental result obtained by Jyoti and Ilya for arbitrarily anisotropic Dr. Ilya Tsvankin, Professor, CWP.
media is that the group attenuation coefficient measured from seismic data is
practically independent of the inhomogeneity angle and reflects the intrinsic
attenuation of the material. This conclusion provides a basis for using
directionally-dependent attenuation coefficients in fracture characterization
and lithology discrimination.
14IWSA = A Great Journey
~ Mamoru Takanashi, PhD Candidate,
Center for Wave Phenomena
It was the longest journey of my life: I flew to the other side
of the globe, from Denver to Perth, Australia, traveling on five
different airplanes for a total of 30 hours, with one flight delay
on the way from Los Angeles to Brisbane. Still, it was worth the
effort to travel to Perth in April, 2010 for the 14th International
Workshop on Seismic Anisotropy (14IWSA).
Perth Harbor
Perth, which is known as one of the top-ranked cities for
liveability, is beautiful, warm, safe, and offers great seafood.
Another important characteristic is that it is the capital of the
most resource-rich state in Australia, and a large portion of the
natural resources is exported to my home country of Japan.
I would like to devote myself to
research relevant for the regions from
which Japan imports oil and gas.
The meeting attracted more than 80 geoscientists from Australia and all over the world. It was a
good opportunity to present my research and learn about state-of-the-art technologies from other
anisotropy experts. It was also interesting to hear from local geoscientists about the status and
problems in gas/oil exploration and production in Western Australia.
The next IWSA meeting will be held in Bahrain in February 2012.
Coupled Geomechanical and Seismic Modeling of Compaction-Induced Traveltime Shifts for
Multicomponent Data
~ Steve Smith, PhD Candidate and Ilya Tsvankin, Advisor, Center for Wave Phenomena (CWP)
Time-lapse seismic methods have proven successful in evaluating changes in petroleum reservoirs caused
by production. In particular, production-related reservoir compaction can produce dramatic changes (such
as surface subsidence) in the overburden. Accurate modeling of compaction-related time shifts requires
combining geomechanics with full-waveform simulation of seismic data. We study the influence of
compaction-induced stress and strain around a reservoir on compressional (P), mode-converted (PS), and
shear (S) waves. Geomechanical reservoir models are used to generate stress-related stiffness coefficients,
which serve as input to 2D anisotropic finite-difference modeling. Reflectors are placed at multiple depths
to evaluate time-lapse anomalies for different source locations and a wide range of reservoir pressures. The
baseline and monitor shot records are processed by windowed cross-correlation analysis to compute “visualization
on ssur
s ooff
arrival time shifts with respect to the baseline survey. Geomechanical modeling shows that the stress-induced velocity field is
anisotropic, and anisotropy is largely responsible for the offset dependence of P-wave time shifts. Although for PS- and S-waves
the contribution of stress-induced anisotropy is smaller, their time shifts are still determined by the entire triaxial stress field (often
only vertical strain has been studied). The developed methodology not only helps
understand the behavior of traveltime shifts for multicomponent data, but can be used
in the inversion for the stress fields of multi-compartment reservoirs. Rock-physics
models with complexity
beyond the regionally
dependent, empirically
determined P-wave
parameters can be
incorporated to explain
compaction and time shift
effects. Current and future
work includes systematic
studies of signatures for
heterogeneous reservoirs
at multiple depths and
Seismic Workshop in Czech Republic
~ Ilya Tsvankin, Professor, Center for Wave Phenomena
In June 2010, Professor Ilya Tsvankin and Professor Emeritus Norm Bleistein attended the SWLIM VII workshop in
Teplá in western Czech Republic, which was organized by Ivan Pšenčik, Peter Bulant and their staff from the Geophysical
Institute in Prague.
It was a great time to renew old friendships, make new
friends, and share our science with the other participants.
Because we were in this lovely isolated environment,
the evenings were spent in informal group discussions,
including postmortems on that day’s presentations. This was
a wonderful learning and bonding experience!
The SWLIM meetings have occurred at five-year intervals. This time, there were 46 presentations on theory of wave
propagation, seismic imaging and amplitude analysis. The talks ran consecutively in one meeting room so that everyone
had a chance to hear the wide spectrum of presentations. The
participants were primarily from Europe with one speaker
from Japan and others from the USA, Brazil, Egypt and
Canada. Industry, academia, and government laboratories
were all well represented. Meeting details can be found at
            
ravity gradiometry is among the oldest exploration geophysical methods and played an important role in the early
discoveries of oil fields in the United States. Despite a long hiatus of about 60 years, the method has had a dramatic comeback
since the 1990s because of the availability of modern gravity gradiometers. Gravity gradiometers measure the spatial gradients of
the earth's gravitational acceleration using paired accelerometers offset by a distance. The gravity gradiometry survey has evolved
from its earlier marine acquisition to the much wider airborne acquisition at the present. It is poised to become the next revolution
in airborne geophysics. There have been interesting and significant advancements in the application of gravity gradiometry, data
processing techniques, and quantitative interpretation methods over the last decade. The Center for Gravity, Electrical, and Magnetic
Studies (CGEM) has
been an important
part of the community
that is developing the
advanced processing and
interpretation algorithms
for both mineral and
petroleum exploration.
Our initial effort began
with several research
projects on the processing
and inversion of marine
gravity gradiometry data
following the formation of
the Gravity and Magnetics
Research Consortium.
Within one year, we
developed a wavelet
transform-based and an
equivalent source-based
de-noising algorithm for
estimating and removing
the high-frequency
noise in the marine data.
Meanwhile, we applied
the unique expertise of
our group in generalized
potential-field inversion
and produced the first full
3D inversion algorithm
for recovering the 3D
This image shows results of 3D inversion of gravity gradient data (right) over an iron ore target in the
density distribution from
Quadrilátero Ferrífero, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The known iron formation, seen in the geologic cross section
multi-component gravity
on the top left, contains ore bodies that have a distinctly high density contrast which produces well defined
gradiometry data. Next,
anomalies in airborne gravity gradient data. The three cross sections on the left show slices through
we turned our attention
three different models corresponding to the top geologic section. A single component (vertical gradient)
to practical details and
is sufficient to produce geologically reasonable and interpretable models like the one shown in the middle
focused on data from
of the image. Including two horizontal components with the vertical gradient increases the quality of the
airborne platforms.
resulting model, while six components significantly improves the recovered density model by delineating ore
First among these was
geometry and dip.
the effect of low-pass
filtering inherent in the acquisition system designed to remove noise from aircraft dynamics. In a collaborative project with Geoscience
Australia, we investigated the adverse effects of such filtering on geophysical interpretation and developed an effective means to
ameliorate the effect through consistent processing and inversion. We also investigated the obvious but often over-looked issue of
the required resolution in digital elevation model used in the terrain correction. We established a clear understanding and practical
guidelines concerning basic terrain requirements, which is somewhere between the high-resolution LiDAR data and the commonly
available SRTM data from NASA.
During this period, we also took an interesting and fruitful detour to investigate the use of gravity gradiometry in the non-intrusive
inspection of cargo containers. This is a collaborative effort with the University of British Columbia and our research produced a
method for rapidly imaging cargo containers to detect high-density anomalies associated with hidden fissile materials. The work
interpretation. For this work, Cericia
Martinez received the informal award
of Best Student Paper from the SEG
Mining and Geothermal Committee
at the 80th SEG Annual Meeting in
Denver, CO.
Through the persistent effort by students
and faculty members in CGEM,
we have become one of the leading
research groups in the processing and
interpretation of gravity gradiometry
data. Many active projects are ongoing
and new students interested in this field
are joining our group. We are looking
forward to continuing our contribution
to this growing and exciting new field.
Congratulations to the CGEM team on their award-winning year!
SEG 2010 Mining and Geothermal Committee’s Best Student Paper
Award: Cericia Martinez (presenter), Yaoguo Li, Richard Krahenbuhl,
and Marco Braga for their paper on 3D Inversion of gravity gradiometry
for iron ore exploration in Brazil.
ASEG 2010 Laric Hawkins Award: Andy Kass, Kris Davis and Yaoguo
Li: Rapid gravity and gravity gradiometry terrain corrections via an
adaptive quadtree mesh discretization.
- The Laric Hawkins Award is awarded for ‘The most innovative use of a
geophysical technique’ for a paper presented at the ASEG Conference.
SEG 2010 IQ Best Earth Paper Award, Finalist (winner not yet decided):
Richard Krahenbuhl, Yaoguo Li, and Tom Davis: 4D gravity monitoring
of fluid movement at Delhi Field, LA. A feasibility study with seismic and
well data.
- The IQ Earth Award is designed to acknowledge those who are “creating
a fundamental change in visualizing and interpreting subsurface structure,
rock and fluid properties; driven by renewed focus on multidisciplinary
integration and the new quantitative earth model paradigm; applied by the
next generation subsurface scientist.”
has attracted attention in the port
security community. The development
of prototype systems based on our
proposed method and utilizing the next
generation gravity gradiometers is being
More recently, there have been two
important developments within CGEM.
The first is rapid calculation of the
terrain correction, which is an absolute
pre-requisite to any quantitative
interpretation in exploration problems.
We have leveraged the work used
widely in image and video processing to
increase the speed of terrain correction
by 300 times or more without sacrificing
accuracy. We use an adaptive quadtree
mesh to discretize our digital elevation
model, keeping small terrain cells where
necessary and allowing large cells where
possible. The cell sizes are calculated
not only as a function of distance, but
also as a function of terrain roughness,
which is a huge improvement on the
original idea of the Hammer Zone.
With this method we can allow coarse
discretization in areas of little terrain
relief, regardless of the distance from the
observation point. For this work, Andy
Kass and Kris Davis received the Laric
Hawkins Award for the most innovative
geophysical research at the 21st ASEGPESA Conference in Sydney, Australia.
The second development is the
successful application of the entire suite
of processing and inversion algorithms
in the interpretation of airborne
gravity gradiometry data from iron ore
exploration in the Quadrilátero Ferrífero,
Minas Gerais, Brazil. The targeted iron
formation contains ore bodies that have
a distinctly high density contrast that
produces well defined anomalies in
airborne gravity gradient data. Three
density contrast models were obtained
by utilizing different combinations
of gravity gradient components. The
commonly discussed vertical gradient of
the vertical gravity anomaly is sufficient
to produce geologically reasonable and
interpretable results. Including more
components, especially horizontal
gradients, leads to much better inversion
quality in terms of ore geometry, dip,
and distribution of high density contrast.
Furthermore, an understanding of the
procedure involved in inverting data
for a 3D density distribution has been
developed. The procedure includes
a comprehension of gravity gradient
processing steps, terrain correction,
noise characterization, mesh design,
inversion parameters, and quality of
maging the
Forge of
Vulcan in
~ Andre Revil,
Associate Professor
tromboli, here we are. The mythical island of the Mediterranean sea where Odysseus fought the Cyclops, the
creature of Poseidon. The mythic island of the god of Winds, Eolus. We are here to see the unseen, thanks to
geophysics. Stromboli is a stratovolcano corresponding to the northernmost island of the Aeolian volcanic arc
north of Sicily in Italy. It rises from a depth of 2000 m below sea level to an elevation of 924 meters above sea level.
Its existence is related to the subduction of the African plate under the
Eurasian plate and it has been characterized by persistent activity for the
1000 years. It is also a very dangerous volcano because of the occurrence
of paroxysms and the possibility of flank collapses that have the potential
to generate huge tsunamis on the Western part of the Mediterranean Sea.
We are seventeen modern heros (including 12 students from various
countries) here to image for the first time the beast. To reach this goal, we
have developed the longest resistivity
cable in the world: 2.5 kilometers made
of 16 segments of 160 m, 64 electrodes
with a spacing of 40 m between the
take-outs. This tool matches our ambitions. Two weeks of hard work and we have the
first tomograms of the structure of Stromboli. We also took some time enjoying the
Strombolian activity at the top of the volcano. We plan to come back at the end of
2011 to complete
the resistivity
survey and to
obtain magnetic
and gravity
measurements to
enable a joint 3D
inversion of all the
geophysical data.
Top right photo:
The acquisition
area with the ABEM SAS 4000 resistivimeter and
Andre Revil (left) and Anthony Finizola (right).
Left photo: Carrying the 16 reels along the flank of
the volcano is a hard job.
Figure: Soil temperature, CO2 concentration and
electrical resistivity tomogram along one of the two
profiles investigated during this mission.
Bottom right photo: Activity!
Congratulations to Ali Araji, GP 2011 MS
graduate, winner, Fall 2010 AGU Meeting, Near
Surface Focus Group, Outstanding Student Paper
Award: “A Numerical Investigation of Cross-Hole
Seismoelectric Conversion” co-authored by
A. Revil, B.J. Minsley and A. Jardani
Detecting Leakage in Embankment Dams
Scott Ikard, M.E., E.I., Ph.D. Candidate, SmartGeo Fellow
Considering the 85,000 dams (with a mean age of 51 years) and the estimated 100,000
levee-miles contained within U.S. borders, there is an emerging demand for time-lapse
geophysical monitoring applications in the water resources industry. With respect to
embankment dams and levees time-lapse geophysical monitoring is an evolving tool,
and is useful primarily for detecting leakage and internal erosion in these structures to
ensure their continuous safety. The self-potential method is particularly well-suited for
time-lapse monitoring of earthen dams. When combined with time-lapse geotechnical
information such as pore water pressures, seepage rates and water levels in piezometers
and observation wells, and additional supplementary geophysical data, this method can
yield a rich and accurate dataset to be used for real-time interrogation of these structures.
To help advance the state of practice of time-lapse monitoring applications, I have performed a laboratory experiment
designed to simulate leakage in a porous material. The experiment consisted of monitoring the time-evolution of selfpotential at the surface in a sand tank while an injected salt slug migrated through a simulated preferential flow path.
I conducted this experiment collaboratively with SmartGeo (an NSF-sponsored program on intelligent geosystems)
researchers and members of Andre Revil’s Hydrogeophysics research
group, and we have recently submitted a resulting manuscript to Water
Resources Research.
Figure 1 (right) shows a photo of the preferential flow path in the sand tank
(fig 1D), and the experimental layout in cross-sectional (fig 1a) and plan
(fig 1b) views. Also shown in fig 1c is the transverse mean self-potential
profile measured across the channel prior to the injection of the salt slug.
As expected, this profile shows the signature behavior of a self-potential
anomaly over a preferential flow channel.
Figure 2 (below) shows the self-potential response (after removing the
background trend) measured at the surface due to the salt slug migration
through the preferential flow channel. Time t = 0 seconds represents the instant the salt slug was injected, and timelapse surface maps are shown for 270 seconds following the slug injection. These maps show the evolution of the
measured anomaly due to the salt slug migration through the preferential flow path with time, and clearly illuminate
the channel. By tracking the position of an equipotential
within tank through time we estimated a flow velocity through
the channel of 0.0045 ± 0.0002 m s-1. This very closely
approximates the flow velocity of 0.0059 m s-1 that we
observed with a green food dye tracer in the tank. Numerical
modeling produced surface contour maps with equipotentials
on the same order of magnitude as those observed in the
experimental data, and yielded a flow velocity of 6.9 x 10-3
m s-1 through the channel. Velocity information is useful for
quantifying the channel permeability. I will apply this method
at a small leaking embankment dam outside of Vail, CO in the
summer of 2011 to test its effectiveness in a field setting.
Seeing the Unseen
Juliusz Radziszewski, Research Faculty, Center for Rock Abuse
When it comes to inspecting interiors of opaque objects like rocks, ceramic or metal parts, living
organisms, etc. only a handful of methods are available. Computed Tomographic (CT) imaging is
a method of choice if non-invasive or non-destructive treatment is required. Both nuclear magnetic
resonance (NMR) and X-Ray CAT scans have become standard methods of medical diagnostics.
They provide digital information on their 3-dimensional arrangements (cellular morphology),
chemical or density distribution and other properties of samples. The 3-D tomographies are derived
from a large number of sequential 2-D photographs obtained during the stepwise rotation of the
sample. Our micro X-Ray CT machine provides micrometer precision and serves mainly the needs
of geo-sciences (geophysics and geology) but also other researchers on the CSM campus: petroleum
and chemical engineers and fuel cell investigators.
Below are examples of research currently in progress at the CSM Micro X-Ray Computed
Tomography (MXCT) facility. More information is available at:
Bugs: Fossilized in amber, the mosquito’s CT shows fine details of its external shape or internal
organs and allows paleontologists and entomologists to study minute evolutionary changes when
compared to contemporary specimen. This mosquito is 26 million years old.
Rocks: Oil shales are an enormous potential energy resource in western Colorado. The CT of oil
shale shows layering of base carbonate rock, pyrite inclusions, kerogen distribution and overall
structure of fractures and pores. Detailed analysis allows for determination of rock porosity, organic
content and mechanical properties, the information required for optimizing oil and gas extraction.
The images obtained are used to construct micro-mechanical models that describe the strength of
characteristics of the rock.
Undergraduate Research in the
Center for Rock Abuse
Last semester I began working
for Dr. Michael Batzle at the Center for
Rock Abuse, as well with Dr. George
Radziszewski. This semester I have begun
to learn how to use various IDL-based
image-processing software packages
to help examine rock core samples.
These samples are first examined in the
department’s Micro-X-Ray Computed
Tomography (MXCT) machine which
uses X-Rays to gather thousands of
images of the sample as it is rotated 360
degrees. The data processing software is
then used to construct three-dimensional
images of the sample. The packages can
be used to acquire information about a
wide array of the sample’s properties
including individual grain dimensions and
Gordon Osterman,
GP Junior
Jesse Havens,
GP Graduate Student,
Center for Rock Abuse
The Bakken Formation has recently made
headlines with an estimated 400+ billion barrels
of oil in place with approximately 4-7% of that
recoverable through primary production. Perhaps
the more staggering figure is the number of
fracture stages companies have been placing in
horizontal wells (rumored at 20-40). While total
production has steadily increased, there has not
been sufficient evidence that proves more stages
correlate with higher ultimate production. Each
company appears to have a different theory about
completion strategies and how the hydrofracture
stimulations are contained. In the midst of
uncertainty lies opportunity…
In the Center for Rock Abuse we have the ability
to measure rock samples
under realistic in-situ stress
conditions. Engineering
properties such as Young’s
modulus and Poisson’s
ratio that are required for
reservoir simulation and
hydrofracture models have
been shown to change
under different stress
conditions, frequency
ranges, and strain amplitudes. Under the
tutelage of Mike Batzle we have one of the few
laboratories in the world that can acquire the data
necessary to separate these effects. In the Bakken
our goal is to produce geomechanical data that
the industry can apply to hydrofracture modeling
and reservoir simulation to improve production
strategies and drilling techniques.
With these data, various rock
properties can be determined noninvasively. In addition, the MXCT machine
is capable of analyzing very small samples
(I was shown images acquired from another
similar machine that was examining
structures on the order of hundreds of
nanometers). Since the image-processing
software is fairly new on campus, it will be
my job to learn how the various packages
work and how best to apply them to the
data. Though formidable, it is an exciting
challenge that I look forward to meeting
this semester.
in the
RCP & the Next 25
~ Tom Davis, Professor,
Reservoir Characterization Project
Amazing how 25 years can go by
so quickly. One year ago I was
writing about preparations for the
25th anniversary of the Reservoir
Characterization Project (RCP)..
The year flew by and we turned
25, so “What’s the big deal?” Well
it turned out to be a bigger deal
than I imagined. We had the largest number of attendees
(135) ever for our 25th Anniversary Meeting held October
14 and 15. We booked out the Fossil Trace Golf Club for
the reception and the weather was perfect. The collage of
pictures from this event shows that everyone enjoyed the
Our 25th anniversary not only provided a look back,
but more importantly, a look ahead. An amazing lineup of speakers provided the look ahead and, for those of us that had the pleasure to hear these
oracles express their viewpoints, it was incredibly enlightening. The talks focused on several
themes including integration, geomechanics, multicomponent seismology, time-lapse seismology,
microseismic, life of field, etc. A talk entitled “Why RCP matters” generated an enthusiastic
response and led to discussion of the need to demonstrate value.
Everyone agreed that technology will continue to be the main driver in the search for energy and
that we have a long way to go to develop new technologies for the future as resources are going to
be more difficult to find and exploit. Also, it is apparent that technology is of little value unless it
is used, and used well, by people. Thus the real focus has to be on people and education. For that
reason Mines and RCP are well positioned for the next 25 years.
Congratulations to Cucha Lopez, GP 2010 MS
graduate, Reservoir Characterization Project,
Winner, SEG Award of Merit - Best Student
Oral Paper, 2009 Annual Meeting: “Sandstone
Petrofacies Prediction to Characterize
Permeability for Postle Field, Oklahoma, Thomas
Davis, co-author (Awarded 2010 SEG Annual
Meeting, Denver).
In late January, at the invitation of
former CWP students, Professor
Tariq Alkhalifah, of King Abdullah
University of Science and Technology
(KAUST), and Dr. Abdulfattah
Dajani, of Saudi Aramco, Roel
Snieder and Ken Larner presented
their multi-day short-course to young
professionals of Aramco in Dhahran,
on the east coast of Saudi Arabia, and to graduate students and postdocs of KAUST, on the Red Sea
near Jeddah, on the west coast. The topic of the course was “The Art of Being a Scientist”. This
short covers material to help young researchers develop effective research habits. At both locations,
the audience size was large (30 to 45 students), and, throughout, interactions with the bright and
enthusiastic students were lively and virtually nonstop. The course was well-received at both places;
as exemplified by the following quote from the
evaluation held at the end of the course:
“The presentations were awesome. I am glad to
have found this early in my academic career. Now if
only my university had required faculty members to
come to your talk, that would have been beneficial
for them too. Thank you for putting all the things
together that otherwise would have taken me years
and many unfortunate incidents to figure out.”
The course at KAUST was a component of the Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) held between
semesters, involving more than 50 internationally recognized scientists. On the day following the
end of WEP, Roel and Ken presented talks in the workshop, "Seismics: the present, and where are we
headed from here?" with invited geophysicists from the U.S. and Europe.
Words fail in describing the campus, labs, and
lightning-speed build-up of both faculty and students
at KAUST, the three-year-old research university.
The food and sites both in Dhahran and Jeddah
were wonderful, but most special during the trip
were the many friends, mostly Mines graduates, we
spent time with both at Aramco and KAUST. Space
doesn't allow us to name everyone, but we especially
appreciate the wonderful hosting by three CWP
Ph.D. alums, Tariq Alkhalifah, Abdulfattah Dajani,
and Mohammed Alfaraj.
Partnership with the
GP Graduate Student
I early morning. Before the sun
hhas even risen you’re awakened
bby a slight tremble. You think
iit’s nothing, but the shaking gets
sstronger and you begin hearing
gglass tinkling and dogs barking.
You hide under the doorframe as furniture is overturned
and plaster is knocked loose. You’ve just experienced
an earthquake. Scenes like this have become more and
more frequent in the past few years. Large earthquakes,
such as the one that struck Haiti last year, have wreaked
more devastation than ever before, in terms of loss of life
and economic loss. In order to help limit the devastation,
I’ve been working since last summer with the USGS’s
National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) on a
project to determine Vs30 values for the U.S., which will
in turn tell us about the ground amplification across the
Haiti Shake Map and USGS logo
Vs30 is the shear wave velocity that’s been averaged
over the top 30m of the surface. In general, loose soils have low Vs30 and from USGS website
solid rock has high Vs30 values. Despite the fact that we don’t have dense
coverage of Vs30 data over the U.S., we do have country-wide topography and geology data. Topography
is most helpful, because in general, the steeper the topographic slope, the higher the Vs30 is. For a few
cases such as table mesas, which are solid rock with very small slopes, the geology map would take an
average of other Vs30 measurements in that same geologic unit and apply that as the Vs30 at an unknown
location in that unit. Thus, by using the cokriging geostatistical method, we can weight Vs30, geology, and
topographic slope so that with all 3 datasets we can come up with the most accurate Vs30 map of the U.S.
to date. Unfortunately, since flat areas where cities are built are generally comprised of loose soils, the soil
amplification of populous areas is likely to be quite large when an earthquake strikes. That’s why Vs30 is so
important, since the velocities can be put into tools such as ShakeMap and PAGER at the USGS, which allow
for faster emergency response should a large earthquake occur.
Why Geophysics? - USGS
When I was in elementary school, around second or third grade, I joined my best
friend’s Girl Scout troop. During my time in that troop, we came up here to Golden
to the Colorado School of Mines twice for their Girl Scout Badge Day that they hold
here every February. This day is set up for the troops in grades 4th through 6th to learn
about math, science, and engineering by earning badges associated with each of those
subjects. We would participate in many different activities including building bridges
out of tooth picks and gummies, making asphalt cookies out of melted chocolate and
oatmeal, and touring the campus. These activities helped us to learn a little about whatt
it is like to be an engineer, and after
that I knew where I was going to go
to college, The Colorado School of
High school is where I found out
what I wanted to study here at
Mines. I took a geology class for
a semester during my junior year,
which I enjoyed so much, it was
my favorite class in all of my four
years. I took what I learned in that
class and paired it with my love
for earthquakes and volcanoes. So
I decided to major in Geophysics,
which takes math, science, and
geology (all subjects that I love) and
involves them with my fascination
with earthquakes and volcanoes.
15 Weeks, 30 States and the
Advanced National Seismic System
I began working for the USGS, in the Earthquake Hazards
Program, the summer following my freshmen year in college.
I was hired as an engineering aide on the Advanced National Seismic System
(ANSS) backbone task, which installs/maintains a 100+ station network
throughout 49 states. The ANSS is a subset of the Global Seismic Network
(GSN), and the two often coordinate on maintenance efforts and monitoring.
Our office is located on the Colorado School of Mines campus, but both
the ANSS and GSN are headquartered at the Albuquerque Seismological
Laboratory (ASL) on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
directed by Lind Gee.
Photo: Installing radio communications to a repeater site which then sends seismic data
back to the NEIC in Golden, CO via satellite.
When I began my work at the USGS, I was part of an eight person team
split between our two offices in Golden CO and Albuquerque NM. At present,
there are six of us: 3 Electronics
Technicians, 1 Research
Geophysicist, 1 Supervisory
Research Geophysicist, and 1
Then I arrived here at Mines
Engineering Technician (my
freshmen year and learned that the
job title after promotion). The
USGS had an office right here on
summer I began, we were in
campus, and a part of that office was the midst of a satellite vendor
the National Earthquake Information upgrade, which required visits
Center. I have taken two tours
to every individual station to
swap out the satellite dish and
through the Earthquake Center and
modem to the new company’s
thought that it was fascinating to
learn a little more about earthquakes equipment, among other
themselves and what they do there at maintenance issues. This was
completed late in the 2009
the center. Someday I hope to get a
calendar year, and we then began
job working there, so I can take what an equipment upgrade. This
I have learned from my professors
upgrade required us to replace
and the courses I taken here at Mines seismometers and data loggers at
and use them in a job that I would
sites with older equipment, with
love and enjoy going to everyday.
3-component Streckeisen STS-2
broadband seismometers, and Quanterra Q330 data loggers. This upgrade was
completed late into the 2010 calendar year, and the only work left to do was
~ Lindsay Patterson, GP Sophomore
sporadic maintenance trips whenever they occurred.
A particular highlight of the job for me is the large amount of travel time. During the summer, I spend almost 15
weeks in the field working an average of 80-hour weeks. I have gotten to travel to nearly 30 states, and work in some
amazing places. My favorite trip was a 3-week installation/maintenance trip to Jackson Hole, WY to work on the
Intermountain West Network. We stayed in a condo in downtown Jackson Hole and travelled every day to work on the
surrounding stations in Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, and parts of
Idaho. Being paid to backpack through the Tetons to install solar sites is one of the best
experiences I can imagine. There have been many more trips like this to Northern California,
Washington, Maine, and even home to Michigan. The travel aspect is what I enjoy the most.
Also, the opportunity to work and attend meetings with the leading folks in the field is quite
extraordinary. Working with people from IRIS, Passcal, the USArray, Project IDA-Scripps,
Lamont-Doherty, and many people within the USGS itself has proven to be an unbelievable
~ Travis Pitcher, GP Junior
Women in Geophysics
Planting SEEDs
Cericia Martinez, GP Graduate Student
In August of 2010, I had the exciting opportunity
to introduce a group of middle school students in
6th-8th grades to the world of Geophysics. The
Summer Engineering Education & Development
(SEED) Program was a joint effort between the
campus Minority Engineering Program (MEP) and
Skinner Middle School from the Denver Public
School District. The SEED program is meant to
introduce at-risk youth to science and engineering
in the hopes of encouraging statistically
underrepresented students to pursue a college
Through the week long program, students participated in geophysics and civil engineering classes with field trips to Dinosaur Ridge
and the Geology Museum. Activities were focused on improving critical thinking skills, team work, and time management. In the civil
engineering section, classes were focused
on providing the students with the skills
necessary to build a balsa wood bridge
for a group competition at the end of the week.
In the geophysics class, students learned
about what the area of study is and what some
of the tools and applications are. Topics
meant to provide a broad overview ranged from
discussion of Earth’s gravity field to the
exploration of Mars’s surface. The students put
on their geophysicist hats and attempted
to discern what everyday household items were
in a ‘black box’ or bag using only the
tools readily available to them: their ears, nose,
and hands. At the end of the week, with
many grunts and shouts of ‘Wow, that’s heavy!’
students were given the chance to see
and pick up some of the equipment used by the
By the end of the week, students had
barely brushed the surface of the many science
and engineering topics. In a feedback
discussion with the students, it was obvious
they were excited about what they learned. It was amazing to see some end the week with a spark of exhilaration in hearing about a
possible future for them that they may never have thought possible before. Hopefully their experience here at Mines has planted a seed
and inspired them to explore something new; whether it is science or engineering related, or simply the aspiration of higher education.
Saudi Women Enjoy Opportunities in Geophysics
I 1938, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia witnessed its first oil discovery at the 7th drill site located in the
ccity of Dammam, otherwise known as Dammam Number 7. The development of this well, at a production
rrate of 1,500 barrels per day, quickly established Saudi’s main economic foundation. Eighty years later,
Saudi Arabia continues as one of the world’s largest and most important oil producers. The oil and gas
iindustry in Saudi Arabia is today operated by one of the world’s largest oil producing companies, Saudi
Aramco. This company oversees one of the largest reserves of crude oil, acting as its exporter in the
ccountry. This company further operates extensive networks for oil and gas refinery and distribution.
Saudi Aramco has not only influenced the country’s industrial sector but has also shown significant
iinterest iin the
h educational
i l sector. For a long time, Saudi Aramco has sponsored foreign internships for undergrad, master and PhD
male students in all engineering fields. Recently, Saudi Aramco has begun sponsoring Saudi female students as well, marking a
significant turning point in Saudi history, especially since Saudi females were never allowed to participate in
engineering before this new opportunity. Among its educational contributions, Saudi Aramco provides great
opportunities for petroleum, geology and geophysics internships ensuring a great educational and cultural
~ Qamar Bu Khamseen, GP Senior
“It is either the medical school or nothing. And if you are lucky, maybe a scholarship will come along”.
This has always been the case, mostly for females in my country, Saudi Arabia. And despite that there have
been some more opportunities in the past couple of years; I had to choose between medicine and applying
for a scholarship in the year of my graduation from high school. My scholarship provides students a wide
list of majors to choose from. I knew nothing about what is best for me. I started to read about science and
Mines Women Challenge Mining Superstition/Rescuers Train
to Save Lives of Miners
Georgiana Zelenak, GP Sophomore
Traditionally mining has been the work of men. Superstition
abounds underground, and right up there with the legend of Tommy Knockers
rescuing miners in danger there is the belief that a woman underground brings
bad luck. Even today men say that they would crawl out of the mine before
they would allow a woman to rescue them. The Colorado School of Mines
Mine Rescue Team Silver (CSMMRT Silver) is out to change this attitude and
prove that an all-women rescue team can perform as well as a group of guys.
In February CSMMRT Silver became the first all-women team to
compete in an official mine rescue competition. During the Mine Emergency CSMMRTSilver, top row: Kelly Puzak, Gracie
Bernard, Georgie Zelenak, Hannah Brinkmann,
Response Development exercise in Idaho Springs teams ran incident
Dianna Ponikvar, Christine Geier; bottom row:
command and served as backup and primary teams during a simulated mine
Chelsea Pomeroy, Erin Keogh, Nicole Henderson
emergency. First aid, fire fighting, and underground construction skills were
tested as teams from Pennsylvania State University and University of British Columbia, as well as the Colorado School of Mines allmale Blue Team and CSMMRT Silver competed. All teams performed well, and
Team Silver was proud when we placed second at the end of the competition.
Many probably wonder why a geophysics student is involved in mine
rescue. Being on the team has taught me communication skills that could never be
learned in the classroom.
As the co-captain for my
team I am responsible
for maintaining
communication between
the group working
underground and the
people at the fresh air base
Confined space rescue - Christine Greier
on the surface. In a sense
I am the lifeline, the one that makes sure a backup team could reach us if we
ran into danger. Effective communication is obviously a necessity.
Rescue has also taught me how to face my fears head-on. When I joined the
team I had an intense fear of confined space. Within the first few training
Mines Emergency Respnse Development (MERD):
sessions the team was required to go through the underground maze, which is Kelly Puzak, Hannah Brinkmann
a labyrinth of irrigation tubes and restricted crawl spaces. On my first attempt
I couldn’t get more than a few feet. Yet, with the support of my team, I was able to make it through the maze on my second attempt.
By the time the team attended Fire Academy in mid-November I was able to move through a hundred-foot long irrigation pipe no
broader than my shoulders. If I can do that, I honestly believe that I can do anything.
I am proud to be a member of the CSM Mine Rescue Team, and would highly
encourage anyone from any background to join the group. You’ll never face a
harder challenge, and yet you will also never find a more rewarding activity.
Left Fire Academy, top row: Hannah Brinkmann, Georgie Zelenak, Gracie Bernard,;
bottom row: Christine Greier, Maura Sullivan
engineering majors. And I ended up choosing geophysics.
Math and physics have been a passion for me. I was applying to Colorado School of Mines so I chose geophysics knowing that it is one
of strongest departments in the school. I did a little research about the program and the required courses and I liked it. Not to mention
that my scholarship’s sponsor is a big oil company in my country, so they take a good care of geophysicists and engineers. Although it is
only my third semester here, I love geophysics and all the courses that I am taking..
~ Hala Qatari, GP Sophomore
More than anything mine rescue has taught me the importance of teamwork and
trust. If we were ever called to help with a real emergency I would literally have to
trust my teammates with my life. As a team we would weigh the risks and rewards
of a situation and decide on a course of action. Future work in geophysics, although
maybe not quite as risky, would need the same sort of teamwork.
    
Me g h an Helper, GP Junior
At the Colorado School of Mines there are a plethora of extracurricular opportunities and clubs.
Clubs for athletes: club hockey and cycling club. Groups dedicated to the right side of the brain: Anonymous Right Brain
Society and Mines Little Theater. Societies rooted in academics and service: Blue Key and
Tau Beta Pi. I personally have the privilege and responsible of being the president of an
organization: Earth Works.
Earth Works strives to promote green education and life styles. Throughout the year, Earth
Works participates in local clean-ups at Red Rock, Clear Creak, and the bus stops along
Jackson Street and South Golden Road. We love to get dirty, have fun, and preserve the
natural environment. After the Four Mile Canyon Fire, Earth Works went to the affected
area to learn and lend a hand in erosion
mitigation. The week of Earth Day is the
most exciting time for Earth Works. This
year, Earth Works scheduled lectures on
water conservation and leave-no-trace
camping, tree planting, clean-ups and
a huge bash in Stratton Commons with
Kendra Johnson, Vice President informational exhibitors, bands, beer and
and Meghan Helper, President
at the Four Mile Canyon erosion
Earth Works works for its members. The
projects we work on and the direction
the group takes are entirely up to the members. We accept all potential
members and are always looking for people who love to work outside,
improve our planet and goof off.
Some of the Earth Work’s members at the Four
Mile Fire cleanup.
Why Geophysics? - Discovery
Deciding a major is a tough thing to do. At least it was for me. I came to Mines wanting
to study Mechanical Engineering. That thought quickly left my head after first semester
of freshman year. Then I was undecided until fall semester of my sophomore year when I
decided to try Civil Engineering. However, it was a fallback. I didn’t know what else to
do! I was frustrated because I was craving excitement, but instead I felt like I was settling. I
would toss and turn at night trying to figure out what it is I actually wanted to do. This is
surprisingly a fairly difficult decision when one is majoring in engineering. Let’s say you
wanted to be a pilot, so you were going to school for aviation. You would know what you
were ggetting
tting iinto,
t wh
hatt you would be doing when you were done with school. You would be flying airplanes! I was
jealous of those people who had a passion for something and were going after it. With engineering, you couldn’t possibly
know what you would be doing or where because it’s so broad. Engineers can work anywhere, on anything, for anybody!
I just knew that I wanted an adventure more than anything.
On a random thought, I started looking into geophysics. I remembered learning about it at the major/minor fair the last
semester but I had so much information in my head that I didn’t really stop and think about it. As I researched it, I started
finding some pretty cool stuff! Earthquakes, volcanoes, natural hazards… Exploration? Whoa! All these words
caught my interest. I still don’t know what I’m going to be doing or what I’m going to be working on, but the beauty of
geophysics for me is that I’m ok with that! The words “discovery” and “exploration” had intrigued me and I was ready
to jump into it. So now I’m taking some classes specific to geophysics and learning even more about all the possibilities
and what I would like to do. I could specialize in planetary science? Hmmmmmmm……..
The thoughts are still there: what should I do? Where am I going to be after I graduate? But, instead of worry and
frustration, there is excitement and motivation. And let me tell you, it feels great.
~ Dani Hunt, GP Sophomore
American Conservation Corps Clinton Global Initiative
Chelsea Newgord, GP Junior
Last summer I worked for
American Conservation
Corps (ACC), which is
a subset of the Rocky
Mountain Nature
Association – a nonprofit
organization supporting
Rocky Mountain National
Park. About twenty-five
college students are hired
each summer and then
divided into crews of six
people. My crew worked
mostly in the Red Feather Another day “in the office” – Conundrum Hot
Lakes area where we made Springs Trail
a new trail, maintained
older ones, put in log checks, cut trees, and trimmed branches daily as we hiked
through the Roosevelt National Forest. Our crew also spent a week backpacking
and working in the Rawah Wilderness with another ACC crew. At the end of
the summer, we spent two weeks in the White River National Forest near Aspen
working on the Maroon Bells trail and Conundrum Hot Springs Trail. My
favorite part was travelling around the most beautiful parts of Colorado to hike
and work every day and
laughing and having a
lot of fun with the people
on my crew. Though it
was hard (and sometimes
tedious) work, I learned
a lot this summer about
the outdoors, working
and living with the same
people, and enjoying
Backpacking to our
campsite in Rawah
Why Geophysics? - Questions
B Earth is not just a ball hanging out in
t sky, and as I learned about it, I became
with its geological history, with the
and processes that shape it, and with the
within the solar system. I
a became curious about the scientific model,
learning to use symbols and math to see
i a simplified manner the complexity of the
Bethany Behrens, GP Junior
EPICS II is just a class, right?
You sign up, pick a project, get a team, and write
some reports. It seems that EPICS projects rarely
get finished in a semester.
This makes sense
because of the magnitude
of some of the projects.
Since EPICS is only
a class, students work
on their project for the
allotted time then move
on. This is not so for one
EPICS team.
team chose to work on an essential oils distillery
for women in Zambia so the women could make
a living for themselves. Right at the beginning of
the semester, a unique opportunity was presented to
them: Clinton Global Initiative University. CGI U
is a organization started by President Bill Clinton to
bring young people with ideas together to help those
in need. The team applied, and they were selected
to attend CGI U at the University of Miami. At the
conference in Miami, they met people from all over
the world including Egypt and Haiti. Many people
of influence were in attendance as well - President
Clinton and a member of the Kenyan Parliament
to name two. Ideas were shared and friends were
made. That was in spring of 2010.
The team decided to continue working
on the oil distillery throughout the fall semester
of 2010. They completed the prototype and did
some test runs with lavender. The prototype has
some improvements to be made, and the team
decided to work on it in the spring semester of 2011,
seeing as they all have more time this semester.
Again they applied to CGI U, and again they were
accepted. This year the conference is in San Diego.
All expenses paid for a trip to California without
missing a day of school. Can’t beat that.
universe. And I came to admire the humbleness of
this approach.
Today I study geophysics because it puts me in
the center of this amazement about the planet,
because it helps me to expand my questions and my
understanding, and because it helps me to live my
life as if I could feel the tectonic plates moving and
the whole earth rotating under my feet. What will I
do with it? I do not know. I am learning, which is a
lot to do, and, after all, time will tell. But for now,
because I believe that we only live once, this is my
way of making the most of my life on Earth.
~ Arantxa Gallasstegui, GP Sophomore
I study Geophysics because I like questions. I like questions better than I like
answers. Questions open my mind, they show me different ways to see the
world, and they teach me about the preconceptions that help or hinder new
understandings. I carried and lived existential questions most of my life…
to which I found no answers. Except that they showed me all that I did not
know… so much so, that amazement to the spectacle of life resurged in me as
if I were a newborn. And this newly energized curiosity found its focus on the
planet from which I came.
Geophysics Internships
for Underclassmen:
It Can Be Done
Stephen Cuttler, GP Junior
Though many of the undergraduates
the geophysics major know that there
will likely be many jobs available
to us after graduation, one of the
major frustrations of the major is the
apparent lack of companies willing to
give undergraduates internships. This
is especially true for the freshman and
sophomores desperately trying to get
a start in the industry who are turned
away out of hand because of their
class. However, there are internships
out there, and underclassmen can get
them. You just have to know how to
First of all: do your homework.
Colorado School of Mines offers
an invaluable service through its
DiggerNet website. The Diggernet
website provides students with a
good place to start and maintain
a good resume, cover letter, and
letters of recommendation as
well as making them available to
prospective employers. A job agent on
DiggerNet will automatically search
for internships and job opportunities
within parameters you establish and
send you a daily email with the results.
You can view and apply for those
internships on Diggernet, but if the
time restriction allows, I recommend
a different course. Keep track of what
companies are looking for students,
as well as their industry and the
type of internship they’re offering,
research the ones you find particularly
interesting, then put together a plan for
Career Day.
When Career Day comes, the most
important thing to remember is to be
confident and stick to your plan. Talk
to as many companies as you can, even
if they do not appear to be interested
in you. Appearing confident and
knowledgeable about the company,
the internship, or the industry often
impresses companies more than an
impressive resume, and can actually
compensate if you are missing things
in your resume that they are looking
for. Take every opportunity you can to
give away a resume, even if they make
it clear that they will not give you a
job. Though you may not get a job this
semester, this shows the company that
you are interested and increases your
chances of getting hired at a later
date. However, the most important
thing you can do at career fair is to
talk to as many companies as you can.
You never know which companies
may be interested in you, and the
more resumes you hand out means the
better chances you have of getting an
If all goes well, a company will
contact you about setting up an
interview. Take it, no matter how
you feel about the company or your
chances. Every interview is not only
a bid for a job, but also practice for
future interviews; learn from the
mistakes you make so that when the
next one comes around you will avoid
those mistakes. When the interview
comes, be confident, friendly, and
most importantly honest. Play up
your strengths (minors, past work,
clubs, skills) at every opportunity, but
also be honest about your weaknesses
and shortcomings. No company
expects to hire the perfect candidate,
and they like to see that you are aware
and have learned from your mistakes.
Finally, don’t get discouraged. Not
every company will be interested in
you, not every resume will lead to an
interview, and not every interview
will get to a job. However, if you
take every opportunity you can, you
will find an internship.
CSMAA and Internships
Loralee Wheeler, GP Sophomore
Since I am dead set on getting an internship this summer, I decided to join the CSM
Student Alumni Association (CSMAA). They advertised networking as well as help
with resumes and mock interviews. After joining, one of the directors of the group,
Heidi, told me about the mentoring program that they have. If you signed up for
this program, the directors of CSMAA would use your application to match you up
with an alum, who would be able to assist in internship/job search, resumes, mock
interviews, and more. This was exactly what I was looking for, so I signed up immediately.
The directors of CSMAA matched me with Melanie, a geophysicist working at Encana Oil & Gas in Denver.
She had worked everywhere from Houston, TX to Alaska with several different oil companies. She then
invited me to visit several companies in Denver and meet the geophysicists there to get an idea of what work
as a geophysicist is actually like. Along with this, Melanie is glad to help me build my resume, prepare for
interviews, and she constantly invites me to meet other geophysicists. I will keep in contact with her for the
rest of my life, giving me a great friend and a great contact.
Softly, a piano’s blithe melody marks the
beginning of tonight’s tanda.
Beauty without flaw, elegance sans force, the delicate
whisper of a violin flickers in the air.
Strings of lights accent Mercury's salon, creating the
illusion of a crisp winter’s eve. Roses adorn every table
top, every hairdo. Legs crossed with perfect posture, bailarínas anxiously await their moment to shine.
From across the dance floor, a gentleman dressed in modern, sleek attire catches my eye. He gradually approaches
with purpose and poise. While maintaining eye contact, he gently nods and extends a hand as an invitation to dance. I return the
As we approach each other, a woman’s voice, poetry born in Buenos Aires, ignites passion in the hearts of the dancers... “En el mundo
habrá un lugar para cada despertar, un jardín de pan y de poesía”…
From the depth of the soul, the stranger from across the room and I join on the dance floor in closed embrace. Contact from waist to
chest, my left arm is draped around his neck; our frames become one. My
y eyes
y closed, I surrender to my lead’s self expression. The
collaborative adventure, the game of tango,
has begun.
Argentine tango is a passion of mine; it’s an
form of art; a form of relaxation. It’s a game
of complete connectedness between partner
years ago at Mines.
expression of mind, body, and soul. It’s a
of give and take, of complete awareness,
and self. I was introduced to the dance three
Every week, the CSM ballroom club
offers lessons in Argentine Tango and
other dances such as blues, swing, and
waltz. As a treat after the lessons, we
treck to the Mercury cafe in Denver
on Fridays. On special occasions,
there might be a live band, or maybe
even performances by professional
dancers from Buenos Aires, the birthplace of Argentine Tango. If we get lucky, one of them might even ask us to dance. . .
~ Ashley Fish, Combined BS/MS Student
I had a strong desire to maintain a high
GPA. Sigma Nu provides an environment
that has allowed me to accomplish this.
I often have quick access to people
who have taken the class before and are
willing to help, as well as others who are
currently taking the same class. We even
have academic workshops and study
sessions on a regular basis.
To join or not to join?
Matthew Fackler, GP Junior
It seems like a hasty decision,
but looking back, I’m extremely
appreciative that I made that
decision sooner rather than later.
Sigma Nu has provided more value
to me than any other organization
or club I’ve been a part of at Mines.
Coming to Mines, as most students,
Fall 2009 – Burying a brother’s truck
Fall 2009 – Shaving cream fight with
Alpha Phi
In regard to preparation for life after
Mines, we have regular sessions on
topics such as networking and managing
money. I have also had the privilege
of holding four officer positions:
Recorder, Reporter, Social Chair, and Lt.
Commander. This has given me the skills
to manage my responsibilities and work
in a cooperative manner with fellow
members. In regard to entertainment,
there is never a day that goes by in
which there isn’t either an excellent
event set up by one of our officers or
a random and hilarious conversation.
In my time here, I have never made a
more important decision than the one to
become a member of Sigma Nu. It brings
friends, fun, and personal growth which
complete my Mines experience.
In the fall of 2008 I came to CSM
as a freshman. I knew that Mines
would provide the best engineering
education in the state, but I was
about to find that it would do more
than mold me into a competent
geophysics major. Just in the
first week of school, invited by
my fellow roommates in Weaver
Towers, I visited the fraternities.
Later that week, I was given a bid
by Sigma Nu and attended their bid
dinner. Reluctant to join, I asked
several tough questions, but each
answer gave me a greater image of
Sigma Nu, and I accepted my bid
right then.
Spring Convocation
Doctor of Philosophy, Geophysics:
Praj Mazumdar
Master of Science, Geophysics:
Allan Haas
Cucha Lopez
Sony Mohammad
Alana Robinson
Maria Gabriella Melo Silva
Bachelor of Science,
Geophysical Engineering:
Brandon Bush
Joseph Cohrs
Sarah Devriese
Renee Francese
Roxanna Frary
Leslie Godfrey
Joyce Hoopes
Jessica Shirey
Gordon Johnson
Kristen Swaim
Colin Leek
Ariel Thomas
David Manthei
Craig Markey
Tracy McEvoy
Michael Mitchell
Front: Mike, David,
Kristen, Cucha, Sarah
Far Left: Joyce
Right: Allan
Above Rear: Cliff, Colin,
Ariel, Leslie, Gordon,
Brandon, Roxy, Jessie
Cliff Preston
Class of 2010 - Congratulations Grads!
Fall Convocation:
Doctor of Philosophy,
Bachelor of Science,
Agnibha Das
Bo Beins
Kristopher Davis
Alexander Radelet
Yuanzhong Fan
Orion Sandoval
Rituparna Sarker
Jia Yan
Master of Science,
Yongxia Lu
Yong Ma
Colin Melvin
Ibrahim Mustafayev
Above: Will, Bo, Alex, Orion
John (Will) Waters
Left: Fan, Kris, Ritu, Agni, Jia,
William Woodruff
Prof. Mike Batzle, Prof. Yaoguo Li,
Prof. Ilya Tsvankin, Prof. Terry Young
to Justine Gomez, Administrative Assistant,
Reservoir Characterization Project and Shingo
IIshida, Communications Specialist, Center for Wave
Phenomena. Justine joined the department in July 2010
aand Shingo in April 2011.
The Department of Geophysics graciously acknowledges the
following individuals and entities for their generous support
of department and student activities during the 2010-2011
academic year. Thank you for your continued support!
Anadarko Petroleum; BP America; BP Corporation
North America Inc.; Rutt Bridges; CGGVeritas; Chevron
Corporation; ConocoPhillips; Devon Energy; ExxonMobil;
Global Geophysical; Hess Corporation; ION; Marathon
Corporation; Newfield Exploration; Schlumberger/RPSEA;
SEG Foundation; Sercel; Shell Oil Company; TGS;
US Department of Energy
Congratulations to Professor Roel Snieder on
receiving the 2011 Outstanding CSM Researcher
Award for senior faculty!
Roel has also been busy with the new graduate course “Introduction
to Research Ethics” in the new Center for Professional Education:
T Colorado School of Mines (CSM) aims
tto integrate elements of ethics training in the
ccurriculum of the CSM. For this reason, former
Provost Steve Castillo initiated an Ethics Across
tthe Curriculum committee that is co-chaired by
Roel Snieder (Geophysics) and Carl Mitcham
((Liberal Arts and International Studies). Starting
tthis initiative was timely, because the National
Science Foundation now requires that all students
aand postdoctoral fellows that are funded by this
oorganization receive training in ethics.
Earlier, Roel developed the course “The Art of Science” that annually is taken
by about 60 graduate students. He currently is setting up a new Center for
Professional Education that aims at promoting, coordinating, and initiating
training for graduate students in general professional skills.
Mark your calendars! The CSM
alumni luncheon at SEG San
Antonio will be held on Tuesday,
September 20, 11:30am,
location to be determined. For
more information, please see
Michelle Szobody at the CSM
booth or contact her directly at See you
Roel and Carl started the new graduate course
“Introduction to Research Ethics” (SYGN502) This course proved to be
such a success that now two section of the course are offered. The class is
co-taught by teachers from liberal arts and science/engineering to ensure
that students meet a variety of view on research ethics. The course goes far
beyond behavioral issues such as plagiarism and makes students think about
the impact of their work. The class ends with every student writing and
presenting his or her personal ethics statement.
ongratulations to
Geophysics Professor
Dave Hale and department
head, Terry Young, on
receiving the 2010 and
2011 (respectively) faculty
award for Best Teacher in
Geophysics, voted by the
senior class Thank you,
Dave and Terry, for your
passion and dedication to
students and faculty!
The Undergraduate Bucket List
Essau Worthy-Blackwell, GP Senior
So you have decided to spend the next four, five or nine
(just kidding!) years of your life obtaining a degree in
Geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines. The
following is a “Bucket List” of things to do while “serving
your time” here:
10. Visit the candy bowl at Dawn’s desk everyday (some
days more than once!)
9. Golden City Brewery - Golden's second largest brewery.
Best visited on a brilliant sunny afternoon when you really
should be studying.
8. Ask Dr. Hale why he doesn't teach students a “real
programming language” like FORTRAN. You may want to
duck flying erasers.
7. Ask Dr. Li about the science of Dowsing. (See #8.)
6. Coors Tour on a Monday – That lab report due tomorrow
will practically write itself!
5. Hike North Table Rock - unlike South Table Rock or the
Geology Museum, you can visit North Table Rock without
ever being forced there to learn something.
ur sincerest gratitude and appreciation go out
to the brave men and women of the Golden
Fire Department and all of the additional crews who
assisted with containment of the Indian Gulch fire
that burned nearly 1500 acres in the foothills above
Golden in March. Thanks to their efforts, no injuries
were reported and no structures were lost. Above:
the Bravo Boys of the Genesee Fire & Rescue,
including Geophysics Professor and GFR Captain
Roel Snieder (second from left). Below: Air support.
4. Field Camp – Stand back world! We're about to do
Science! (Joke unapologetically stolen from xkcd.)
3. Float Clear Creek - Inner tubes can usually be bought
around Golden, or borrowed from an upperclassman.
2. Coors Tour on a Friday – All the fun of a Monday visit,
relatively guilt - free. Thirty ounces of freedom awaits!
1. E-Days! For four days in March, students from
surrounding campuses will visit Mines for the events,
concerts and parties. - True Story.
Department of Geophysics
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401-1887
Nonprofit Organization
U.S. Postage Paid
Golden, Colorado
Permit No. 7
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