Thursday, October 29, 2015

UW Researchers to Publish Geophysics Study in Science

 We at EPSCoR were glad to hear that UW geoscientists will publish research in Science this October 30th.  (Just in time for Halloween!) 

James St. Clair, a UW doctoral student, is lead author of the paper, titled “Geophysical Imaging Reveals Topographic Stress Control of Bedrock Weathering.”  Steve Holbrook, a professor of geology and geophysics; Cliff Riebe, an associate professor of geology and geophysics; and Brad Carr, a research scientist in geology and geophysics, are co-authors of the paper. 
James St. Clair

Geophysical imaging of the subsurface was conducted by UW’s Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG).  Scientists at MIT and the University of Hawaii contributed numerical models of the stress distribution in the subsurface. 

Geophysical imaging uses different tools to create a detailed picture of the composition, shape, and density of subsurface rock strata.  Scientists can use a variety of technologies to take measurements, and then combine those measurements into maps of the mountain surface and interior.  The team performed seismic refraction and electrical resistivity surveys to look at the depth to bedrock at three mountain sites.  These three sites were chosen because they showed variant, or different, regimes of mountain topography and tectonic stress. 

Researchers used geophysical surveys to estimate the volume of open pore space in the subsurface.  This is an indication of how much water the subsurface can hold.  Computer models showing the state of stress at those sites showed striking correlation with open pore space measurements.  This means that scientists may be able to use measurements of the stress in the earth’s crust to see where water can be stored. Stress in the earth’s crust creates fractures in the earth’s subsurface, and those fractures create space to hold water.      

 “We found a remarkable agreement between the predictions of those stress models and the images of the porosity in the subsurface with geophysics at a large scale, at the landscape scale,” Holbrook says.  “It’s the first time anyone’s really looked at this at the landscape scale.” 

St. Clair is excited to be publishing research in Science, a prestigious scientific journal.  He feels lucky to work with such a talented, experienced group of scientists.  He believes that these results may be extremely useful to hydrologists, geomorphologists, and geophysicists. 

Steve Holbrook adds that there is still a lot of work to be done to test this model in different environments.  However, he says, “Now we have a theoretical framework to guide that work, as well as unique geophysical data to suggest that the hypothesis has merit.” 

Written by Jess White

Friday, October 16, 2015

High Plains American Indian Research Institute Event October 19, 2015

This October 19th, the High Plains American Indian Research Institute (HPAIRI) welcomes Walter Echo-Hawk.  Echo-Hawk will give his lecture, "From Self-Determination to the Human Rights Era of Federal Indian Law," at 1:00 pm in the Wyoming Union West Ballroom.  

An attorney since 1973, Echo-Hawk has also served as tribal judge, author, activist and law professor during his distinguished career.  He represents Indian tribes on important issues including treaty rights, water rights, religious freedom, prisoner rights, and repatriation rights.  

Echo-Hawk is the inaugural "Walter R. Echo-Hawk Distinguished Visiting Scholar" at Lewis & Clark Law School for 2015.  He is the author of In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2013); In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided (2010); and Battlefields and Burial Grounds: The Indian Struggle to Protect Ancestral Graves in the United States (1994).  He is a Pawnee Indian with a BA in political science from Oklahoma State University and a JD from the University of New Mexico.

Echo-Hawk's lecture is the first of a two-part program for this Fall.  The second event, "Indigenous RIghts as Human Rights," will be hosted by the Center for Global Studies on November 11, 2015.

For more information, please contact HPAIRI at

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bringing Stakeholders Together to Discuss Water Issues in Wyoming

WyCEHG will host the second statewide Water Interest Group meeting this October 14, 2015.  

This community event is an opportunity for people interested in Wyoming water issues to learn about WyCEHG research, provide directions for future studies, and partner with the WyCEHG research team.  

WyCEHG promotes a multifaceted approach to water awareness.  Community outreach and feedback are crucial to this cooperative effort.  WyCEHG is looking forward to building on the work begun by WyCEHG scientists and Wyoming community leaders during the first Water Interest Group meeting, which took place on October 7, 2013.  

You can find registration details here.  For questions, please contact