Department Announcements


Mark Skidmore co-author on breakthrough paper about life under Antarctic ice in Nature. To read more click here and here.

Teams Comb Flathead Indian Reservation for clues about ancient, recent fires. Read article.

Graduate student Alicia Wilder has been awarded a College of Letters and Science Travel Grant to present her research on the Lazufre volcanic center at the XIX Argentine Geological Conference in Cordoba, Argentina, in June

Jordy Hendrikx, Karl Birkeland, Robyn Wooldridge (Graduate student), Alex Marienthal (Graduate Student) and Matt Wieland (undergraduate) are heading to the 2012 International Snow Science Workshop in Alaska, 16-21 September. 

The International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) is a biennial meeting of the professionals who work in the field of snow science and winter recreation. This is the only such conference which takes place and has been ongoing since 1976. It is truly international with participants from countries world wide where winter sports are popular. Professionals from Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North and South America are in attendance. The workshop is designed to bring together practitioners such as ski patrollers and mountain guides, forecasters who may work for ski companies, Departments of Transportation or the US Forest Service, engineers from mining companies, architecture firms or government, scientists who teach and research snow science and others who participate in the world of snow. In addition, it provides an opportunity for local mountain user groups to participate in a higher level learning environment. The conference is designed to promote the exchange of ideas and research and introduce the latest forecasting tools and winter products.

The Department of Earth Sciencs have 18 papers submitted to this conference, as either lead or co-authors including research with a number of past and present students and collaborators.

A full schedule of talks can be viewed at:

Awards given to Daniel Lawver:
Jackson School of Geosciences Student Member Travel Grant ($400.00) 2012
Paleontological Society Steven Jay Gould Award ($800.00) 2012
Chelonian Research Foundation Linnaeus Fund ($1600.00) 2012
MSU College of Letters and Sciences Student Travel Grant ($500.00) 2012
Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid ($1000.00) 2011

Another congrats to Anita Moore-Nall on receiving one of only six Sloan Scholarships at MSU. She will receive $12,833.33 for the fall and spring semester.

Congratulations to Anita Moore-Nall on your travel scholarship application to attend the 2012 SACNAS National Conference in Seattle, Washington from October 11-14.
The abstract entitled Isotopic Evidence from Late-Stage Calcite and Brecciated Host Rocks from Abandoned Uranium Vanadium Deposits in Montana and Wyoming Suggests a Possible Hydrothermal Source  has been accepted for a Poster Presentation at the Science, Technology, and Diversity for a Healthy World in Seattle. Congratulations! 

Gary Michelfelder's paper was accepted as part of the 2012 New Mexico Geological Society's Fall Field Guide.

Michelfelder, G.S. and McMillan, N.J. 2012. Geochemistry, origin, and U-Pb zircon ages of the Sierra Cuchillo laccolith, Sierra County, New Mexico. In 63rd Annual New Mexico Geological Society Fall Field Conference Guidebook, Sierra County and Surrounding Areas, p. 121-133.

Terra Spotts received a student research grant ($2500) from the Geological Society of America for her proposal for “Determining methane fluxes from glacial sediments at Robertson Glacier, Alberta, Canada”

Zach Adam received a student travel grant ($750) from NASA to attend and present a poster at NASA’s AbSciCon, Astrobiology Science Conference in Atlanta, GA, April 17-20, 2012

Zach Adam’s poster earned second place in the student poster competition of about 150 posters at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Atlanta, GA, April 17-20, 2012 and he was awarded a $1000 prize. Mark Skidmore and Dave Mogk were co-authors on this posters. Adam, Z.R., Skidmore, M., Mogk, D.W. (2012) “Investigating a Caudosphaera-like acritarch from the Mesoproterozoic Belt Supergroup, Montana”.

David "Cary" Woodruff had a paper published in the online journal Cretaceous Research titled "A new titanosauriform from the Early Cretaceous Cloverly Formation of Montana". Named Rugocaudia cooneyi, this titanosaur is the very first one ever found in Montana, and is also the northernmost known titanosaur in all of North America.

Cathy Whitlock, Dave McWethy, Laurie Stahle, Teresa Krause are coring lakes in Tasmania and New Zealand as part of their NSF grant (WildFIRE Partnerships in Research and Education) to understand the linkages between fire, climate, and people.   Joining them in the field are other participants from Montana: Prof Dennis Aig, Danny Schmidt, and Savannah Lozier (MSU Science and Natural History Filmmaking Program), Prof Bruce Maxwell and Jason Baldes (LRES), Gabe Yospin (IoE), Loga Fixico and Matt Weingart (Salish-Kootenai College), and Bob Keane (USFS Fire Lab, Missoula).  These teams will be working "down under" through March.

Cathy Whitlock has assumed new duties as co-Director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems.  The IoE is the first joint-university institute in the state, with hubs at both UM and MSU, and its goal is to advance integrated environmental sciences and related fields.  The IoE is supported by a $20 million grant from the NSF EPSCoR program for the next five years, and Whitlock is the MSU Science Lead.

PhD student Virginia Iglesias has a new paper in the international journal The Holocene, entitled:  
Holocene climate variability and environmental history at the Patagonian forest/steppe ecotone: Lago Mosquito (42°29'37.89''S, 71°24'14.57''W) and Laguna del Cóndor (42°20'47.22''S, 71°17'07.62''W); DOI: 10.1177/0959683611427330.  Her co-authors are Cathy Whitlock, Maria Bianchi, Gustavo Villarosa, and Valeria Outes.

Sandra Underwood, who received her PhD from our department in 2010, recently has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Reserch. The paper is a chapter of her dissertation reserearch. Her co-authors are Dr. Todd Feeley, and Micheal Clynne of the USGS.


Paleontologists Frankie Jackson and Dave Varricchio recently selected students for their May 2012 research trip to China, sponsored by the National Science Foundation grant International Research Experience for Students (  Students participating in the trip include Christian Heck, Paul Germano, Hannah Wilson, Danny Barta, and Anita Moore-Nall from MSU and four students from UM, Montana Tech, and Salish-Kootenai College.
Hannah  Wilson, a freshman honors student at MSU, began conducting research on dinosaur eggs during fall semester of 2011, mentored by Dr. Frankie Jackson and graduate student Daigo Yamamura. Hannah recently received research stipends from the Undergraduate Scholars Program and the Vice President of Research in order to continue this work through fall semester 2012.  Congratulations Hannah!

The paleontology program recently acquired a new GMC Sierra extended cab, 4-wheel drive pickup truck for field work through the generous donation of Phillip Varricchio and the Varricchio Family Foundation. take a look here.