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Montana Tech Alum Donates Data Set to the Geophysical Engineering Department


3/16/2011

In May of 2007, Hugo Pulju returned to his alma mater to attend commencement and class reunion activities. During his time on campus, Mr. Pulju discussed the possibility of donating a unique data set to his alma mater, Montana Tech and specifically to the Geophysical Engineering Department. "I had thought about this donation to Montana Tech for some time and it felt like it was the opportune time to do it," said Mr. Pulju recently in a phone interview. The data, which has been appraised at $2,307,500, was made to the Geophysical Engineering Department in December 2010.

"This is unique and interesting data that would be almost impossible to replicate," announced Dr. Marvin Speece, professor in the Geophysical Engineering Department at Montana Tech. "The area the donation was taken from is a very interesting area geologically." The seismic acquisition area is located in the Montana Disturbed Belt (Montana Thrust Belt) along the western edge of Glacier National Park. It is a mountainous area with rugged surface terrain and complicated subsurface structure that exhibits thrust faults and folds.

The seismic data were acquired by Pulju’s company, Techco Inc., located in Denver, Colorado, between 1982 and 1984. The gift consisted of 188.5 miles of 2D seismic data acquired in Flathead and Lake Counties, Montana. The seismic lines were acquired using vibrators (Vibroseis Method) and helicopter-assisted dynamite shooting (Poulter Method). The 1983 seismic program comprised 2 lines of 24-fold (96-channels) Vibroseis data totaling 52 miles and 4 lines of 24-fold (96-channels) heli-portable dynamite data totaling 78.8 miles. The 1984 program comprised 4 lines of 30-fold (120-channels) heli-portable dynamite data totaling 57.7 miles.

Pulju spent many years Montana Tech. He began at Tech in 1948 and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering in 1958. He then obtained his master’s degree in Geological Engineering in 1964. "I knew all the students at Montana Tech for almost 20 years. I have many stories to tell," he chuckled. "I think I am the longest lived Montana Tech student. I started at Montana Tech in ’48 and finished up in ’64." Pulju has many great memories and friends from his time at Montana Tech. Outside of the classroom, Pulju was active on campus. He played, managed, and coached baseball at Montana Tech for four years.

The Geophysical Engineering Department tapped into the resources of another Montana Tech alum, Skye Callantine, a ’98 Geophysical Engineering graduate who works for Chesapeake Energy. Skye’s donation made it possible for the Department to transcribe the data from 30-year old magnetic tapes and ship the data to campus.

"From an academic standpoint, this data is invaluable," said Speece. The Department currently has graduate students processing the data. They plan to write NSF proposals to fund further processing, interpretation, and publication of the data.

For more information, please contact Marvin Speece at 406-496-4188.