Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Activity / 2014 / Mima Munds Mystery-- Solved?

Environmental Studies

Mima Mounds Mystery-- Solved?

Story posted September 26, 2014

Event date(s): September 01, 2014 — September 01, 2015

Photo credit: Dominic Sherony/Creative Commons (inset) Washington State DNR. Busy critter. It takes scores of generations of gophers (inset) to build mima mounds, meters-high hillocks of soil in which gophers burrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2014 4:00 PM, Druckenmiller Hall, Room 16
Lunch for students with Professor Gabet, 12:00-1:30, Mitchell South, Thorne Hall

Professor Emmanuel "Manny" Gabet, a geomorphologist at San Jose State University in California, sayS prehistoric generations of pocket gophers created the vast fields of Mim mounds found in south puget sound, Eastern Washington and in other locations around the world. Local geologists and wildlife researchers aren't so sure.

Gabet's research sits at intersection of geomorphic and biological processes that shape landforms. Gabet has previously taught at the University of Montana and the University of California at Riverside, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Crustal Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has received grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, US Department of Agriculture, and the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science. 

Sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the departments of Biology, and Earth and Oceangraphic Science, with funding support from the Concerts and Lectures General Fund.

"Over the decades, 50 or more explanations have been offered for the fields of broad, meter-high mounds of soil found across the western United States and on every continent except Antarctica. The ideas have ranged from earthquakes to glaciers to UFOs. But now it seems that generation upon generation of gophers built the millions of mounds seen today. And it took a computer model programmed to act like the burrowing rodents to unearth the truth." Richard Kerr, Science Now, 20 December 2013