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Dr. Hansen's Research

The main purpose of research at Hope College is the training of the next generation of scientists.  In the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department we do this by inviting students into our laboratories early in their undergraduate careers and collaborating with them for several years on significant publishable research.  My students generally present the results of their research at national meetings like the annual meetings of the  Geological Society of America , The International Association of Great Lakes Research, and the Association of American Geographers or regional meetings like those of the Michigan Space Grant Consortium and the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters (list of student research presentations over the last 3 years - link).  They also publish the results of their work in internationally recognizable journals such as Geomorphology, The Holocene and Lithos. 

DUNE RESEARCH

Since the year 2000 the main focus of my undergraduate research program has been the coastal sand dunes along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.  These make up the largest collection of freshwater coastal dunes in the world.  Our studies of these dunes give us valuable information that will help us manage and protect them and yields important insights into both the development of coastal dunes in general and climate change in Michigan over the last 5000 years. Our coastal dune research falls into several different topics.

CONTEMPORARY DUNE PROCESSES

Brian Yurk checking sand traps at the crest of a large parabolic dune (150 feet tall) southwest of Holland. This research concentrates on the transportation and deposition of sand on large actively migrating dunes. Student research projects have focused on:

  • How the pattern of sand transportation and deposition is influenced by seasonal changes in temperature and wind velocity.

  • How the depositional patterns are influenced by the steering of wind by the topography of the dunes.

  • How the deposition of sand influences the vegetation patterns on the slopes of dunes. The principal Hope College students involved in this work have been Brian Yurk, Katie Sherron and Ryan Zietlow. Deanna vanDijk from Calvin College and Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman from Hope College have also collaborated on this work.

HISTORY OF DUNE COMPLEXES

In order to create a history of the Lake Michigan dune complex we need to know when the dunes began forming, the timing of the various episodes of dune growth and migration, the ways in which these events changed the geometry and position of the dunes. Our chief clues in answering these questions come from the study of dune paleosols. Paleosols are old soils that formed on the surface of a dunea during periods in which the dune was not migrating or growing. These soils are buried by sand during episodes of new dune growth and migration and are later exposed by erosion. By mapping theses paleosols we can obtain information on the position and geometry of the dunes earlier in their history, and by obtaining radiocarbon ages from plant remains in the paleosols we can get information about the timing of periods of dune stability and mobility.We also obtain information on the history of the dunes by mapping the current dune surfaces and determining their ages using a technique called optically stimulated luminescence. Students doing this work have tended to work in teams that concentrate on the history of individual dune complexes. By putting these individual projects together we have developed a general history of the coastal dune complexes along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. The principal Hope College students involved in this work have been:

  1. Will Weiss and Kevin Woloszyn (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore)
  2. Martin VanOort (Van Buren State Park)
  3. Emily Timmons, Sean Derby and Ryan Zietlow (Warren Dunes and P.J. Hoffmaster State Parks)
  4. Martin VanOort and Ben Hansen (dunes southwest of Holland)
  5. Michelle Knapman and Dan Miller (P.J. Hoffmaster State Park)

Alan Arbogast of Michigan State University and Mark Bateman of Sheffield Centre for International Drylands Research have collaborated with us on this work.

SEDIMENTARY STRUCTURES IN DUNES

The arrangement of different kinds of sedimentary layers in dunes (sedimentary structures) can give information about the conditions under which the dune sands were deposited. Our work on sedimentary structures in the Lake Michigan dunes have concentrated on the origin of pinstripes: thin black layers made up of relatively small dark mineral grains. The goals of these studies have been twofold: to understand how pinstripes form and to trace the sand grains in these pinstripes to their original source.

Principal Hope College Students involved in various aspects of this research have been Kieko Kito, Anna Davis, Kristin McPhee, Eric Johnson and Brad Johnson. We have collaborated with Karen Halvholm of the University of Wisconsin St. Claire on this project and have received invaluable advice from John Barwis (retired from the Royal Dutch Shell Corporation)

SEDIMENT CORES FROM SMALL LAKES WITHIN DUNE COMPLESES

Sediments collect continuously at the bottom of small lakes within dune complexes and sediment cores taken from the bottom of these lakes contain a record of environmental changes in the surrounding dunes. We began looking at these sediments for clues to dune history three years ago and are still learning how to "read" this record. So far we have been able to use variations in the concentration of windblown sand in these cores to construct high-resolution chronologies of dune mobility and stability extending back five thousand years. We have also examined diatom fossils, pollen and minerals in the cores for clues to environmental change in the surrounding dunes. The principal Hope College students who have been involved in this research are:

  1. Emily Timmons and Sarah Dean (analysis of windblown sand)
  2. Trevor Daly (analysis of diatoms)
  3. Elliot Eisamen and Kimberly Jongsma (analysis of pollen )
  4. Carrie Thomason and Amanda Brisbin (mineralogical analysis).
    Tim Fisher of the University of Toledo has collaborated with us on this work.

RESEARCH IN METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY

Metamorphism is the process by which rocks are transformed by heat, pressure and chemically active fluids in the interior of the Earth. Up until eight years ago understanding the role of fluids in metamorphism was the main focus of my research and I still continue to work on the problem in collaboration with Dan Harlov at the GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, Germany. Recent student projects in metamorphic petrology have included:

  1. Khurram Ahmend's examination of trace element chemistry of biotites in metamorphic rocks from south India.
  2. Carrie Thomason's study of partial melting in high temperature metamorphic rocks from south India.
  3. Jesse Reimink's study of fluid induced chemical and mineralogical changes in metamorphosed conglomerates from the Keweenaw Peninsula.

We are gearing up for a study of metamorphic rocks in southwestern Halland Province, Sweden in collaboration with Arancha Pinan-Llamas from Hope College, Leif Johansson from Lund University Sweden and Dan Harlov from the GeoForwschungsZentrum, Potsdam

RESEARCH IN THE COMING YEAR

In May and early June 2008 Dr. Pinan-Llamas and I plan to work with two Hope College students mapping metamorphic rocks and structures in Halland, Province Sweden. I also plan to work with several other students on a study of the history of coastal dunes along the western coast of Lake Michigan. This will involve mapping paleosols,and modern dune surfaces and examining sediment cores from small lakes behind the dunes.

Abstracts Based on Presentations by Hope College Students at Professional Meetings 2002-2007 Presenter's names are underlined, undergraduate student coauthors in bold.

2011

LaBarge,L., Yurk, B., Mulcahy, C. and Hansen, E. Mathematical Model of Dune Grass (Ammophila Breviligulata) Population Dynamics: Testing a Possible Mechanism for Blowout Initiation. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, Oct. 11, 2011.

2011

Erber, N., DeVries-Zimmerman, S., and Hansen, E. Plant Macrofossils and Other Paleoenvironmental Indicators in an Allegan County Peat Bog. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oct. 11, 2011.

2011

Hazel, D., LaBarge, L., Erber, N., Johansson, L., Hansen, E., Calc-Silicate Enclaves in High Grade Gneisses from Halland, Southwest Sweden. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oct. 9, 2011.

2011

Hazel, D., Hansen, E., and DeVries-Zimmerman, S. Charcoal Abundance in a Peat Bog from Allegan County, Southwest Michigan: Paleoenvironmental Indications. Michigan        Academy of Science Arts and Letter Annual Meeting, Saginaw Valley State University, Mar. 11, 2011.

2011 Hansen, Edward, Reimink, Jesse, and Haserodt, Megan. Rare Earth Element Minerals in the Allouez Conglomerate, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. Michigan Academy of Science Arts and Letter Annual Meeting, Saginaw Valley State University, Mar. 11, 2011.
2011 Hansen, Edward, Reimink, Jesse, Haserodt, Megan, Harlov, Dan, and Rhede, Dieter. Oxide and Epidote Textures and Chemistry in a Copper Ore Deposit from Michigan, USA. GeoForschungsZentrum Seminar of the Chemistry and Physics of Earth Materials Research Group, Potsdam, Germany, Jan. 2011.
2010

LaBarge, L., Wyatt, C., Johansson, L., Reimink, J.R., Dean, S. and Hansen, E.C. Stensjöstrand Supracrustals: A High-grade Supracrustal Belt in Halland, Southwestern Sweden. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver Colorado, Nov. 1, 2010.

2010

DeVries-Zimmerman, S., Hazel, D.G., Hansen, E.C. and Fisher, T.G. Paleoenvironmental Indicators in a Peat Bog from Allegan County, Michigan. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, Nov. 3, 2010.

2010

DeVries-Zimmerman, S., Cooper, J. and Hansen, E.C. The Research Experience Across Cultures at Hope (REACH) Program at Hope College. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, Nov. 2, 2010.

2010

Hazel, D. and Hansen, E. Fire History Reconstructed from Charcoal Abundance in a Peat Bog from Allegan County, Southwest Michigan. Michigan Space Grant Consortium
Annual Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Nov. 13, 2010.

2009

Hansen, E., Reimink, Jesse, and Harlov, D. Titantite, Pseudorutile and REE Minerals in the Allouez Conglomerate, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. Institute of Lake Superior
Geology Annual Meeting, Ely, Minnesota, May 7-8, 2009.

2008

Daly, Trevor, Reconstructions of the Histories of Small Coastal Dune Lakes along the Southeastern Shore of Lake Michigan: Clues from Sediments and Diatoms. Geological Sciences Section 2008 Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science Arts and Letters.

2008

Brisbin, Amanda, Iron-sedimentation in Small Lakes within the Lake Michigan Coastal Zone. Geological Sciences Section 2008 Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science Arts and Letters.

2008

Reimink,Jesse, Mineralogical Evidence for Oxidizing, Rare-Earth Transporting Fluids in the Metamorphism of Conglomerates for the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. Geological Society of America 2008 Annual Conference.

2008 

Dean, Sarah, Deformation and Migmatization in the Stensjostrands Naturreservat, Halland Province SW Sweden. 2008 Annual Conference of the Geological Society of America.

2007

Dean, S., Hansen, E., Fisher, T., and DeVries-Zimmerman, S. Geomorphic history of coastal dunes north of Saugatuck Michigan: The role of sand supply.  International Association for Great Lakes Research Conference on Great Lakes Research Book of Abstracts 45.

2007 Timmons, E.A., Fisher T., Hansen, E., and Krantz, D. Geomorphic history of a dune complex along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan.   International Association for Great Lakes Research Conference on Great Lakes Research Book of Abstracts 195.
2007 Daly, T  Paleo-environmental changes recorded in diatom assemblages from a small coastal dune lake near Holland Michigan. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2007 Annual Conference
2007 Dean, S. Geomorphic history of the Saugatuck Dunes: Clues from an inland dune lake. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2007 Annual Conference
2007 Johnson, E.  The effects of glacial and post glacial transport on Lake Michigan coastal sands. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters Annual Conference 2007 Annual Conference
2007 Thomason, C.  Mineralogy and chemistry of sediments from a small coastal dune lake.  Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2007 Annual Conference
2007 Timmons, E.  A ground penetrating radar study of an interdune depression near Holland, Michigan. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2007 Annual Conference
2006 Dean, S., Thomason, C. , Fisher, T.,G., and Hansen, E.  Sedimentation patterns in a small coastal dune lake: Fluvial versus aeolian inputs.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 38, No. 7, 82
2006 Thomason, C., Johnson, E., Hansen, E., and Fisher, T.G. Mineralogy and geochemistry of sediments from a small coastal dune lake along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 38, No.7, 82.
2006 Eisaman, E., Daly, T., Timmons, E., Fisher, T.J., and Hansen, E. Sand, diatoms, and pollen from a small coastal dune lake in southwestern Michigan: Possible links with dune history. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 38, No. 7, 82.
2006 Timmons, E.A.,Krantz, D., Dean, S., Johnson, E., and Hansen, E. Sedimentary structures in a broad interdune depression (dune slack) in a Lake Michigan coastal dune complex: A GPR study. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 38, No. 7, 63.
2006 Johnson, E., Warner, J., Peaslee, G., and Hansen, E. Origin of finer grained (<150 micron) dune sand along the southeastern coast of Lake Michigan: the glacial connection. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 38, No. 7, 519.
2006 Timmons, E., Hansen, E., and Fisher, T.G.  Chronology of eolian activity in a coastal dune complex near Holland, Michigan. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.
2006 Eisaman, E., Daly, T.  Dean, S., Timmons, E., Hansen, E., and Fisher, T.  Clues in small lake sediments to histories of coastal dunes southwest of Holland, Michigan. Great Lakes Dune Conference, October 3-4, Traverse City Michigan.
2006 Davis, A and McPhee, K. Origin of pinstripes in Lake Michigan coastal dunes. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2006 Annual Conference
2006 Derby, S. The chronology of dune growth and migration in the Grand Marais Embayment, southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2006 Annual Conference
2006 Eisaman, E. Origin of small Lakes in a coastal dune complex southwest of Holland, Michigan. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2006 Annual Conference
2006 Timmons, E.  Using sediments from small dune lakes to reconstruct the history of Lake Michigan coastal dune complexes.  Council For Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill, May, Washington D.C.
2005 Daly, T., Eisaman, E., Fisher, T.G., Hansen, E, Kashgarin, M., Timmons, E. Evolution of small backdune lakes along the Lake Michigan coast, northern Allegan County, Michigan.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37, No. 7, 63.
2005 Hansen, E., Zietlow, R., Timmons, E., Davis, A., McPhee, K., Derby, S., and Bateman, M. D. Evolution of compound coastal dune complexes along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37, No. 7, 426-427.
2005 Timmons, E., Hansen, E., Fisher, T. G., Elisaman, E., and Daly, T.  The record of dune growth and migration preserved in small lakes within a Lake Michigan coastal dune complex. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37, No. 7, 462.
2005 Kito, K., McPhee, K., Davis, A., Hansen, E. and Peaslee, G. Origin of dark sand along the Lake Michigan coast. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37, No. 7, 507.
2005 Timmons, E., Fisher, T. G., and Hansen, E. C. The record of eolian activity in the sediments from a small lake within a coastal dune complex, southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37, No. 5, 72
2005 Kito, K.  Mineralogy of sand grains from tills along the southeastern coast of Lake Michigan. 2005 Michigan Academy of  Science, Arts, and Letters 2005 Annual Conference
2005 Timmons, T.  Eolian deposition in a small lake within a Lake Michigan coastal dune complex. 2005 Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 2005 Annual Conference
2005 Timmons, E., Eisaman, E., and Daly, T.  The Correlation between the geomorphic history preserved in coastal dunes and small lake sediments southwest of Holland, MI. Tenth Annual Michigan Space Grant Consortium Conference Abstracts, 7
2004 Kito, K., Hansen, E., and Peaslee, G. Mineralogy of Dune Sands along the Southeastern Shore of Lake Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 36, No.5, 371.
2004 Derby, S., Timmons, E., Zietlow, R., Knapman, M., Miller, D, Hansen E., and Bateman, M. Geomorphic history of Lake Michigan coastal dunes at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 36, No.5, 284.
2004 Knapman, M., Miller D., Hansen, E., And van Dijk, D. Geomorphic history of Parabolic and Back Dunes at Hoffmaster State Park. 2004 annual meeting of The Michigan Academy of Arts and Letters, Michigan Academician 36, 56-57.
2003 Hansen, E.C., Knapman, M.Y., Miller, D.L., Bodenbender, B.E., and Havholm, E.G. Mineralogy of beach and dune sand, southeastern shore of Lake Michigan.Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 35, No.6, 174.
2002 Hansen, E.C. and Yurk, B.  Migration history of a large parabolic dune along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan.   Seventh Annual Michigan Space Grant Consortium Conference(October 5, 2002).
2002 Sherron, K., Hutchful, M.N., Johnson, B., Yurk, B., Hansen, E., and van Dijk, D.  Wind and depositional patterns on a large migrating parabolic dune, southeastern shore Lake Michigan.  Abstracts with Programs 2002 G.S.A. Annual Meeting.
2002 Yurk, B., Hansen, E.C., Sherron, K., Johnson, B., Arbogast, A.F., and van Dijk, D.  Migration history of Green Mountain Beach parabolic dune, southeastern shore of Lake Michigan.  Abstracts with Programs 2002 G.S.A. Annual Meeting.
2002 Johnson, B., Bodenbender, B., Yurk, B., and Hansen, E.  Magnetite layers in a massive parabolic dune, southeastern shore of Lake Michigan.  Abstracts with Programs 2002 G.S.A. Annual Meeting.
2002 Yurk, B.  Geological history of the dune complex along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan.  6th Annual CUR (Council on Undergraduate Research) Undergraduate Research Posters on Capitol Hill
2002 Yurk, B., Weiss, W., and Wolszyn, K.  Pattern of sand transport and deposition in an actively migrating parabolic dune southwest of Holland, Michigan.    Michigan Academy of Science Arts and Letters, 2002 Annual Conference