Geosciences Commencement Ceremony

The 2014 main UM Commencement Ceremony will be held in Washington-Grizzly Stadium at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 17. All candidates for degrees are to meet at the Oval at 8:45 a.m.

The Geosciences Department’s ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Charles Clapp 304 NOT at 2:00 p.m. as listed in the Registrar’s 2014 commencement announcement. The graduation picnic will follow at 12:30 on the lawn south east of the Charles Clapp building. Hamburgers, hot dogs, beverages, plates, and utensils will be provided. Please bring a hot dish, salad, or dessert to share.


Please let Lorene Skeel ( ) know as soon as possible if you will be participating in the departmental ceremony (cap and gown are optional for our ceremony). You may participate in commencement even if you will be graduating in summer or fall 2014. All participating graduates should complete the attached questionnaire and return it to Lorene by May 5.  Questionnaire


Guest Speaker – Mitch Plummer


On Monday, April 21, at 4:10 p.m. in CHCB 304, Mitch Plummer, Idaho National Laboratory, Earth and Water Sciences, will give a presentation entitled “Reconstructing Paleoclimatic Conditions via Inverse Modeling of Alpine Glaciers.”

Guest Speaker – T. Hutch Jobe

On Monday, April 14, at 4:10 p.m. in CHCB 304, T. Hutch Jobe, Vice-President, Geoscience and Exploration, SM Energy, will give a presentation entitled “SM Energy – Current North American Conventional and Unconventional Hydrocarbon Plays and Exploration Strategies.”


Guest Speaker – Michael Thorne

On Monday, April 7, at 4:10 p.m. in CHCB 304, Michael Thorne from the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah will give a talk entitled “Tectonics of the Deepest Mantle.”

Guest Speaker – Brian Yanites

Monday, March 24, at 4:10 p.m. in CHCB 304, Brian Yanites, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, will give a talk entitled “Quantifying Controls on Glacial Landscape Evolution.”

Melody Bechberger, ConocoPhillips – “Successfully Interviewing for Jobs.”

On Monday, March 24, at noon in CHCB 304, Melody Bechberger, ConocoPhillips, Development Geologist Texas Permian (MSU Earth Sciences Alum 2011), will give a talk entitled “Successfully Interviewing for Jobs.” Industry and academic interviews will be discussed. She will also hold practice interviews to help students improve their interview skills. To sign up for a practice interview, contact Mel at Lunch will be provided.


Thesis Presentation – Tetsuro Nagase

Wednesday, March 5, at 4:10 p.m. in CHCB 304, Tetsuro Nagase will give his thesis presentation entitled “Developing a facies model and sequence stratigraphic framework for the Devonian-Mississippian Sappington Formation in Montana.”

Investigating the coupling between woody riparian trees and river processes

University of Montana researchers in the Department of Geosciences are investigating the coupling between woody riparian trees and river processes, an important topic at the intersection of biology and earth sciences with implications for understanding how rivers and plants coevolve and for river management and restoration. To study the interactions between riparian plants, river flow and sediment dynamics, and river morphology, PhD student Sharon Bywater-Reyes and her advisor, Dr. Andrew Wilcox, are using ground-based LiDAR, a novel tool for developing very high-resolution measurements of both plant architecture and the topography of surrounding river bars. These measurements and other related field studies are being applied to the gravel-bed Bitterroot River, where native cottonwoods are keystone riparian species, and a sand-bed river in Arizona where invasive salt cedar have altered river dynamics.

SBR TLS scan image vegetopo

An image of a “point cloud” produced by the ground-based LiDAR (looks like a photo, but is actually data).


A panorama shot of one of the field sites (MPG Ranch, Bitterroot River, with the instrument used in the foreground and the hard-working grad student on the right)

In April of 2013, UNAVCO supported the first half of a two-part terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) project undertaken by scientists at the University of Montana. The April survey took place on the Santa Maria River in arid northwestern Arizona. The second half was conducted on the Bitterroot River in Montana in the summer of 2013.