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earth and environmental sciences

Department Welcomes New Faculty Member

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences welcomes new faculty member, Seth C. Kruckenberg (Ph.D. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities). Professor Kruckenberg specializes in structural geology, tectonics, textural and magnetic fabric analyses, and geochronology. His research focuses on understanding the dynamic interactions between deformation and melt migration at various levels in the lithosphere (mid-crust, upper mantle), mechanisms of dynamic strain localization, and the growth and evolution of orogenic systems.

Weston Observatory Records Earthquake in Maine

Many people at BC felt the October 16, 2012 earthquake in Maine (magnitude 4.0). Professor Alan Kafka compiled a blog of reports sent by Boston area people describing their experiences of the quake, and comparing those personal descriptions to the Devlin Hall seismogram. Professor John Ebel discussed the earthquake on WCVB news.

Scoping Out Seismic Monitoring Sites

Professor John Ebel and Department major Alissa Kotowski are leading an effort to find sites in New England to house seismic monitoring stations as part of the "EarthScope" project, a 10-year national project for detailed studies of the geology, geophysics and earthquake processes of the U.S.

Virginia Earthquake

Weston Observatory recorded the August 23, 2011 magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia and felt up and down the east coast. Observatory seismologists, John Ebel (Director), Michael Hagerty (Seismic Network Operations Manager), and Alan Kafka (Associate Director) were interviewed by dozens of media outlets about the earthquake. Media sampling: WCVB-TV | WBZ-TV | NECN | Boston Globe | Boston Herald | Forbes | International Business Times | WBUR.

Young Graphite in Old Rocks Challenges
Earliest Signs of Life

Earth and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Dominic Papineau and colleagues report in the journal Nature Geoscience that high-tech testing reveals tell-tale carbon deposits laced throughout ancient rock may actually be millions of years younger than the rock itself, raising questions about the timing of life's early emergence.

Fossils of early lifeforms on Earth

A key discovery of fossils of early lifeforms on Earth was made by Earth and Environmental Sciences research Professor Paul K. Strother and colleagues. Based on a study of these fossils, Strother and colleagues reported in a paper published online in Nature, that life on land may have evolved 500 million years earlier than previously thought.

Weston Observatory recorded the great Japan earthquake of March 11, 2011.


One graduate and four undergraduate students from within our department, entered the University Library's 2nd annual contest recognizing the best application of GIS as a research tool: Josh Coefer (1st place), Chris Soeller (2nd place), Brian Klaus, Katie Nadolny, and Sam Prendergast.