Written by Dr. Lauren Neitzke Adamo, Museum Co-Director 


Greenland Ice Sheet

As the end of January quickly approaches, we can be assured of few things: the temperatures will surely start to plummet, all New Jerseyans will start to stalk the weather forecasts for oncoming snow, and the Rutgers Geology Museum will hold its Annual Open House event.   

For the 51st year, visitors, scientists, rock and mineral enthusiasts, and children young and old will converge on the College Avenue Campus on the last Saturday in January to spend the day embracing their inner geologist. Visitors to the event will be able participate in all the well-loved events usually held at the Open House, like the lecture series, mineral sale, mineral identification station (sponsored by the Friends of Mineralogy: New Jersey Chapter), arts and crafts stations, hands-on children’s lectures, and special appearances by other local science centers.  However, for the first time ever, all Open House activities will focus on the central theme of Polar Science!

As stories of declining sea-ice in the Arctic, massive icebergs breaking off the ice shelves of Antarctica, etc. continue to hit the airwaves, it has become more important than ever to understand the critical issues affecting these sensitive climatic areas and the ways scientists are trying to understand the rapid changes occurring at both poles.Alestch Glacier

As the continental and alpine ice sheets around the world continue to melt, scientists are working diligently to document the extent of the melting, as well as predict how the melting will affect future generations.  Dr. Åsa Rennermalm, from the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, will present some of her recent research from Greenland (image 1) linking the hydrology and water drainage of the ice sheets to the observed climatic changes in the Arctic region.  Dr. Lucas Zoet, Professor of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will discuss the technology and methods used and some preliminary results of work done in the Swiss Alps (image 2) trying to unravel the complex relationships that govern the flow of glaciers and ultimately the rate of future sea-level rise. 

Transantarctic MountainsVisitors will also hear directly from scientists about what it is like working and living in these harsh and icy environments, and even get the chance to try on some of the equipment worn while in the field. Rutgers University’s own resident meteorite expert, Dr. Julianne Gross, will chronicle her two-and-a-half-month expedition to one of the coldest places on the planet, the Transantarctic Mountains (image 3), in search of meteorites. 

Mark your calendars, break out your winter jackets, and stop by our 51st Annual Open House for a fun and educational day exploring the North and South Poles!

Events will be held at Scott Hall and Geology Hall on Saturday, January 26th, 2019 between 9 am and 3 pm.  Download a copy of the event flyer or visit the Open House page for details on locations and times.  All events are free to the public and no pre-registration is required.