Earth Sciences

Marine Biodiversity and Pretty Pictures: A Report from Indonesia's Raja Ampat

 When SETI astronomer Mark Showalter is not looking up at Saturn and its rings, he prefers to spend his time looking down, preferably through the viewfinder of his underwater camera. Mark will present a slide show from his recent visit to Raja Ampat, a remote dive site in Indonesia recognized as having the highest marine biodiversity of any place on Earth. 

Apocolypse: Earthquakes, Archeology and the the Wrath of God

‘Earthquakes and Archaeology’ is an emerging field with impact on both earthquake science and archaeological and historical studies. It has been controversial as archaeologists and historians have traditionally rejected earthquakes as an important agent. But now with the advent of plate tectonics and modern instrumentation, this controversy is subsiding as we begin to offer answers to some key questions in both disciplines:

Aerosol particle roles in climate change: How coordinated measurements from aircraft, satellites, & Earth surfaces are helping to reduce uncertainties

The 2007 assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that uncertainty in radiative forcing of climate had been reduced compared to the previous assessment, a result of improved understanding of aerosol radiative effects. This talk shows how field experiments by NASA and collaborators, which coordinate measurements from aircraft, satellites, and Earth's surfaces, have contributed to that improved understanding. Dr.

Discovery of Strong Cycles in Fossil Diversity

Richard Muller and his collaborators have recently analyzed the most complete record of marine animal fossils ever compiled, the "Compendium" of Jack Sepkoski, which lists all known fossil marine animal genera back 542 million years. When the fossil diversity (number of distinct genera) is plotted, it shows a very strong 62 Myr cycle. The cycle is particularly evident in the species that endured for relatively short times, as shown in the diagram below (published in Nature, vol 434, 208-210, 10 March 2005).

Creation and Destruction of Continental Crust at Subduction Zones

Dr. Eli Silver of UC Santa Cruz will outline some of the latest research on plate tectonics. Presently, continental crust is being created in subduction zone settings (sites where tectonic plates converge) such as the Aleutians and Sumatra, due to both magmatic addition to the crust and to tectonic off-scraping. Other subduction zones (Central America, Tonga, Mariana, Peru, northern Chile, northern Japan, Kuriles) are undergoing crustal destruction through the process of subduction erosion.

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