Research@Mines Archive:
November, 2020

South Dakota Mines Students Help Create a Living Laboratory at Eco Prayer Park

The Trinity Eco Prayer Park in downtown Rapid City is going through some renovations to create a living laboratory for hands-on learning and research.

The West Dakota Water Development District and a group of Rapid City area businesses are funding upgrades recommended by a team of South Dakota Mines students at the Trinity Eco Prayer Park in downtown Rapid City. The upgrades will increase the water flow capacity and provide easier maintenance at the park. This will help maintain the original intent of the park, which is to slow, spread, infiltrate, and naturally filter the stormwater that runs off part of downtown before it enters Rapid Creek. Most importantly, the project also creates opportunity for a living laboratory where future students can study urban runoff, associated water quality issues, and sustainable stormwater management practices. 

Urban runoff is a major contributor to pollution in waterways around the world. In general, precipitation falls onto a rooftop, runs across a parking lot and into a curb and gutter where it drops into a storm sewer making its way to a local water body. During this process the water never comes into contact with soil, which is our natural filter. Hence, the runoff is untreated. To deal with this problem, many cities have installed natural treatment systems, known as green infrastructure or low impact development practices. This allows runoff that is shed by city streets, parking lots and sidewalks t...

Last Edited 12/8/2020 03:22:08 PM [Comments (0)]

T. Rex Fossil Getting Facelift at South Dakota Mines

Kayleigh Johnson, lab manager and preparator at the James E. Martin Paleontology Research Lab at South Dakota Mines, is working to conserve a Tyrannosaurus rex skull discovered in the early 1980s near Mud Butte, SD. This is the sixth T. rex ever to be discovered in the world and has been dubbed the Mud Butte T. rex.

RAPID CITY, SD (Nov. 10, 2020) — Some 65 million years ago he stalked what is now northwestern South Dakota, no doubt earning his nickname the “Tyrant King.”

In all likelihood, this Tyrannosaurus rex specimen took his last step and last breath near Mud Butte in Meade County, less than 100 miles north of Rapid City. Today, one of his jaw bones rests safely inside a plaster fiberglass jacket in the James E. Martin Paleontology Research Lab (PRL)  at South Dakota Mines. Measuring about 2 ½ feet long, the jawbone weighs in at 30 pounds. His teeth, dark and smooth, measure 5 ½ inches long.

Another piece of the jaw belonging to Mud Butte T. rex is being staged for an exhibit in the lab’s storage area, a room bursting with shelves of paleontological treasures yet to be prepared. The Museum of Geology on campus displays the remainder of his skull – on a table sandwiched between two marine reptiles. His presence is so innocuous that one museum staff admits she sometimes forgets to mention him to guests.  

Kayleigh Johnson, lab manager and preparator, hopes to change that.

Johnson has a dream that one day, the T. rex skull will be displayed in all its glory. “But it’s going to take more work and a lot mo...

Last Edited 11/10/2020 05:13:32 PM [Comments (0)]

The A in STEAM

Alexandra Kliche, Mines Industrial Engineering Graduate, shares her pursuit of STEAM subjects (Science, Technology Engineering, ARTS, and Math)

At the edge of human knowledge, where the work of previous scholars offers little help, science and engineering pioneers must take a leap into the unknown. Innovators are a wide range of individuals with diverse backgrounds: from the physicist who makes a discovery that expands our understanding of the universe to the everyday engineer who finds an elegant solution to an immensely difficult problem. One thing these forerunners have in common: almost all cite the critical importance of creativity in the discovery process.

A team of Mines students including, Alexandra Kliche (IE 20), Alex Kringen (IE 20), Kate Knott (IE 20), and Hans Leonhardt (IE 20) are exploring the boundaries of engineering, art, and music. Their senior design project, called “Gateway,” is an interactive engineered art project planned for installation on the ceiling near the front door of the university Music Center (Old Gym).  The project includes aspects of mechanical and electrical engineering. Its designed to sense the location of an individual below it and play various notes based on the person’s movement.  Black Hills Energy saw promise in the team’s design and offered a $4500 grant for its installation.

“I see engineering as part of art,” says Kliche, who is the visionary for the collaborative project.  “The same creative process is required in engineering, art and music. All these pursuits are about b...

Last Edited 12/8/2020 03:19:27 PM [Comments (0)]

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