User:Dr. Lords/draft/DTM 2

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This is a draft for article about the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism[edit]

if you have comments or advice please use the talk page for this draft, thanks.

opening paragraph[edit]

Located in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s department of terrestrial magnetism (DTM) is one of six main branches of the Carnegie Institution of Science. The department employs researchers ranging from astronomers and astrophysicists to geophysicists, geochemists, cosmo-chemists, and planetary scientists to study the various magnetic phenomena of planets and similarly related fields.[1]

Historic impact[edit]

The department of terrestrial magnetism was founded in 1904 by the scientist Louis Bauer, whose primary field of interest involved mapping the earth’s geomagnetic fields. In accordance with his ambitions, worldwide expeditions were undertaken by researchers soon after the formation of the department. By 1929, they had collected sufficient data to update and correct many navigational charts and quantify “temporal variations in the geomagnetic field”[2]. This, in turn, allowed for further research of seismic activity such as volcanic action and earthquakes. After the completion of the work, the department shifted its focus to a more diverse array of studies.

By 1925, two physicists were already expanding the breadth of research done at the DTM. Director Merle Tuve and his colleague Gregory Breit decided to tackle the difficult venture of proving the existence of the ionosphere.[3] Their results not only established a basic component of the atmosphere used in atmospheric sciences today, but in conducting their research, a global network of radio stations was created. Due to their capability to emit shortwave radio communications, these stations became vitally important during World War II for military use. During the same era, the DTM became a world-renown center for the study of nuclear physics.[4]

Post-war DTM physicists began some of the earliest work in biophysics.Later came ventures in seismology, astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, planetary formation and evolution, and radioisotope geochronology.[5] A particularly significant discovery was made by astronomer Vera Rubin, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Science for her work confirming the existence of dark matter in the universe in 1993.[6]

What began as the specific dream of one man has since evolved into a multitude of studies; the focus of the department however, remains true to the original goal – to understand the physical Earth and its place in the universe. [7]

Modern programs[edit]

Research at the department of terrestrial magnetism today spans a wide variety of topics, including determining the ages and structure of the universe, studying the causes of local phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanic behavior, and detecting planets outside of our solar system. Under the current director Sean Carl Solomon, the DTM is presently conducting seven collaborative research projects. [8]

California and Carnegie Planet Research[edit]

Together with the California Planet Survey consortium, DTM scientists are helping to maintain and improve the Exoplanet Data Explorer (exoplanet being defined as a planet orbiting a star outside of our solar system). This data explorer is an interactive table and plotter for exploring and displaying data from the Exoplanet Orbit Database which is a carefully constructed compilation of quality, spectroscopic orbital parameters of exoplanets orbiting normal stars from the peer-reviewed literature.[9] This database is also responsible for updating the Catalog of Nearby Exoplanets.


For more details on this topic, see MESSENGER.

Acronym for a MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging mission, the MESSENGER spacecraft was launched on August 3, 2004 with the goal of orbiting Mercury by March 18, 2011.[10] Following three flybys of the planet, the intended orbital phase will use flyby data as a foundation for performing a more detailed investigation of the least explored planet in our solar system.

Led by Director Sean Carl Solomon of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, MESSENGER will investigate previously unexplored characteristics and the environment of the planet, including its inexplicable magnetic field, gaseous atmosphere, and craterous surface.[11]

High Lava Plains Volcanism[edit]

This project is based on the principle of continental intraplate magmatism, the interaction of continental tectonic plates based on their magmatic properties. Joining forces with scientists from all over the United States, geochemist Rick Carlson represents the DTM in this investigation. The basic goal of the study involves observing various levels of the earth’s crust underneath the surface to understand the connection in magmatic properties to volcanic activity.[12]

Plate Boundaries Observatory[edit]

The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) is part of the Earthscope Program funded by the National Science Foundation. Its purpose is to study the three dimensional strain field across the Western United States that has resulted from active plate boundary deformation, focusing on three problems: plate boundary dynamics and evolution, the physics of earthquakes, and magmatic processes.[13] The observatory has two main components for conducting research: Global Positioning System (GPS)]] receivers and strainmeters, used to examine the strain field over both short and long timescales.[14]

The GPS receivers are designed to measure ground movement in millimeters over the course of days to decades across large spaces.[15] The strainmeters have two separate functions: borehole strainmeters strain change by sensing differences in shape of an instrument cemented in rock, which is then used to observe deformations before and during volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.[16] Long-baseline laser strainmeters combine the qualities of both borehole strainmeters and GPS receivers in that they measure the changes in distance between two points both accurately and stably.

Plume-Lithosphere Undersea Melt Experiment[edit]

The Plume-Lithosphere Undersea Melt Experiment (PLUME) is a two-year study of seismic images of the deep roots of the Hawaiian hotspot. The purpose of this multi-institutional (University of Hawaii, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Yale University) experiment is to understand more fully the formation of the Hawaiian Islands over the course of millions of years.[17] The primarily acknowledged hypothesis is that there is a “plume of hot, buoyant material, which rises from the Earth's deep interior and partially melts, leading to sustained volcanism at the surface.” Other hypotheses have been proposed; using data collected by both land and ocean-bottom seismometers, patterns of mantle flow and melting that occurs in the deep interior beneath Hawaii have been used to further investigate the cause of the Hawaiian hotspot.[18]

Southern Africa[edit]

The Kaapvaal Craton Project, located in South Africa, investigates the formation and stabilization of a craton, or a section of stable continental crust typically found within tectonic plates. Its lithospheric root reaches as far as a few hundred meters within the earth’s mantle. Geochemist Rick Carlson of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism contributed research to make the creation of a main web page possible[19]; currently, the project continues as a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional experiment with an objective of producing a three-dimensional model of the Craton and its root.[20]

Carnegie Astronomic Planet Search[edit]

The Carnegie Astronomic Planet Search is being conducted by an eleven-member team of scientists (including three from the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism [21]); their objective is to search for gas giant planets (similar to Jupiter) and brown dwarf stars orbiting nearby dwarf stars. In discovering said planets, this team plans to research several topics. One includes studying the formation of gas planets in order to determine whether the primary method of “birth” is by core accretion or by disk instability around late M dwarf stars [22]. Another involves detecting giant gaseous planets with orbital periods long enough to sanction the survival of habitable, Earth-like planets on shorter-period orbits.

Currently there are two telescopes being used for research in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere; one in Chile, the other in California. Both the du Pont telescope located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and the Hooker telescope of the Mount Wilson Observatory in California plan on following one hundred nearby dwarfs and other low-mass stars for ten years or more in conducting their research .

Honors received by DTM faculty and staff (2000-2010)[edit]

  • Alan P. Boss – Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003) [23]; Fellow, Meteoritical Society (2002) [24]; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001) [25]
  • Paul Butler — Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize of the American Astronomical Society (2002) [26]
  • Richard Carlson– Norman L. Bowen Award, American Geophysical Union (2008) [27]
  • Larry Nittler — Alfred O. Nier Prize of The Meteoritical Society (2001) [28]
  • Vera Rubin – Richtmyer Memorial Award (2008) [29]; Honorary D.Sc. Degree, Ohio Wesleyan University; James Craig Watson Medal, National Academy of Sciences (2004)  ; *Catherine Wolfe Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (2003) [30];
  • Sara Seager – member of American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2009) [31]; Harvard Bok Prize in Astronomy (2004) [32]; John Scott Medal, honorary D.Sc. from *Grinnell College (2001) [33]
  • Steven Shirley – elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2010) [34]
  • Sean Solomon – Nelson P. Jackson Award (2009) [35]
  • Alycia Weinberger —Vainu Bappu Gold Medal of Astronomical Society of India (2000) [36]

Related Links[edit]

Carnegie Institute of Science Terrestrial Magnetism Official Website


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