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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

November 30, 2011
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141|
Christiana Kapsner | UMD Public Relations Assistant | 218 726-8830 |
Erik Brown | Professor and Acting Director | UMD Geological Studies | 218 726-8891 |

UMD's Large Lakes Observatory Tapped for National Geographic Special

UMD Research Associate Doug RickettsUMD Research Associate Doug Ricketts
The upcoming National Geographic Special, "Drain the Great Lakes," features data and research from UMD's Large Lake Observatory faculty member Nigel Wattrus and UMD Research Associate Doug Ricketts. The program airs 9 p.m. EST, Thurs., December 1, on National Geographic channel 26, and will be rebroadcast at 10 p.m. EST that same evening.

"Drain the Great Lakes" explores the North American Great Lakes, the largest system of free fresh water on earth, and the huge influence it has on the North American continent. This groundbreaking television program pulls a virtual plug on the huge lakes, using computer-generated imagery to reveal hidden secrets of their human history and changing geological past. More than 34 million people live by the shores of the Great Lakes and include some of the greatest cities in the world.

"UMD's Large Lake Observatory researchers have produced a spectacular dataset using highly sophisticated lake floor imaging equipment," said Erik Brown, professor and acting director of UMD's geological studies. "There are only a handful of institutions worldwide that have the top of the line imaging system that is available on the Blue Heron, UMD's research vessel."

A part of UMD and established in 1994, the Large Lakes Observatory is the only institute in the country dedicated to the study of large lakes throughout the world, and its research ranges from lakes in the East African Rift Valley and Central Asia to the Great Lakes of North America. The focus is to understand how lakes function, how they have behaved in the past, and what will happen to them in the coming years. In particular, the Observatory focuses on global implications by investigating aquatic chemistry, circulation dynamics, geochemistry, acoustic remote sensing, plankton dynamics, sedimentology, and paleoclimatology. With a global outlook, an international reputation, and programs in six continents, the Observatory attracts students from around the world and provides unique research opportunities to UMD undergraduate students.

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