For more than 10 years, the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and the Seismological Society of America are proud to offer fascinating non-technical presentations on seismology-related topics to general audiences across the US through its IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lectureship Program. Each speaker is an expert in his/her specific research area and is skilled in effectively communicating new and exciting findings to the public. Lectures are typically presented at science museums, universities or similar settings as part of the venues’ established speaker series. Up to two IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecturers are selected each calendar year (depending on funding) with each scientist presenting 3-6 lectures.
NOTE: In some cases, Department seminars may be scheduled in conjunction with a Public Lecture.
For more information, please contact:Perle Dorr
IRIS Education and Outreach Program
Dr. Thorne Lay
Department of Earth and Marine Sciences,
University of California, Santa Cruz,
Santa Cruz, California
A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them
During the decade 2004-2014, 18 huge earthquakes with seismic magnitudes larger than 8.0 struck around the world, sometimes causing horrendous destruction and loss of life. The annual rate of such events was 2.5 times greater than had been experienced over the previous century of seismological observations. Deployment of global networks of very high-quality seismic, geodetic, and tsunami recording systems had preceded most of these events, allowing unprecedented signals to be recorded for these great earthquakes.
Geophysicists have analyzed the recorded waves and ground motions to determine details of each earthquake, advancing our understanding of these dangerous events. Most of the earthquakes have involved surprises, rapidly revising scientific ideas about the behavior of huge fault ruptures and indicating the need for improved mitigation efforts.
Dr. Doug Wiens
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences,
Saint Louis, Missouri
Fire and Ice: Volcanoes, Earth Structure, and the Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet
The continent of Antarctica supports the largest ice sheets in the world. The history of the ice sheets is intertwined with the geological history of continent, involving processes such as mountain building, the response of the land to the weight of glaciers, and heat flow melting and lubricating the bottom of the ice sheet. Very little is known about the history of Antarctica because the ice sheets preclude the usual geological sampling and mapping, so seismology offers a method to “see through the ice” and understand the continent beneath. Recent advances in technology now allow autonomous seismographs to be deployed across the continent for the first time.
In this presentation I will discuss projects that are installing seismographs across Antarctica and summarize recent discoveries. New results reveal that East Antarctica represents an ancient continent, with an average geological age of greater than one billion years and with highlands supported by thick continental crust. In contrast, West Antarctica shows evidence of recent tectonic activity, and high heat flow that may lubricate the base of the ice sheet. The seismographs record earthquakes from magma movement associated with volcanoes beneath the ice. The high mantle temperatures suggest low mantle viscosity, such that the response of the land to ice mass changes will occur within a few hundred years. These insights are changing the way we model the recent history of the ice sheet.
Seismograms also provide important constraints on the movement and forces acting on the ice sheets. “Icequakes” ranging from very small cracking events near the surface of the ice sheet to massive crevassing and calving episodes produce unique seismic signals that help reveal the physics of ice movement. The largest signals come from a unique region on the Whillans Ice Stream, where a 100 mile-long section of the ice stream lurches forward twice a day, triggered by ocean tides, and sending seismic waves traveling across the entire continent. This unusual behavior may signal the slowing down of this ice stream in response to changes in the amount of water along the ice stream bed.
2015 Lecture Series Schedule
|January 31, 2015 9:00AM||Dr. Jean-Paul Ampuero||Earth's Cocktail Party: Deciphering the Physics of Earthquakes With Networks of Seismic Arrays||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey|
|March 04, 2015 11:00AM||Dr. Thorne Lay||A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them||University of Texas at El Paso|
|May 09, 2015 1:00PM||Dr. Doug Wiens||Fire and Ice: Volcanoes, Earth Structure, and the Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet||Fernbank Science Center|
|May 13, 2015 2:00PM||Dr. Doug Wiens||Fire and Ice: Volcanoes, Earth Structure, and the Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet||IRIS Webinar|
|June 22, 2015 2:00PM||Dr. Thorne Lay||A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them||IRIS Webinar|
|July 13, 2015 7:00PM||Dr. Thorne Lay||A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them||OMSI Science Pub, The Hollywood Theatre|
|September 10, 2015 7:30PM||Dr. Thorne Lay||A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them||Seattle Town Hall|
|October 23, 2015 7:00PM||Dr. Thorne Lay||A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them||Cleveland Museum of Natural History|
|October 25, 2015 3:00PM||Dr. Doug Wiens||Fire and Ice: Volcanoes, Earth Structure, and the Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet||Southwestern Oregon Community College|
|October 26, 2015 7:00PM||Dr. Doug Wiens||Fire and Ice: Volcanoes, Earth Structure, and the Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet||OMSI Science Pub, The Venetian Theatre|
|October 27, 2015 7:30PM||Dr. Doug Wiens||Fire and Ice: Volcanoes, Earth Structure, and the Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet||Seattle Town Hall|
|November 12, 2015 6:30PM||Dr. Thorne Lay||A Global Surge of Great Earthquakes and What We are Learning From Them||American Museum of Natural History|
|January 30, 2016 10:00AM||Dr. Caroline Beghein||From Plate Tectonics to Deep Earth Dynamics: A Seismological Journey Inside the Earth||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey|
Distinguished Lectureship Archive 2003 - 2014
|2014||Dr. Meredith Nettles||Glacial Earthquakes: Using Seismic and GPS Observations to Map Changes in Glaciers and Ice Sheets Worldwide|
|2014||Dr. Jean-Paul Ampuero||Earth's Cocktail Party: Deciphering the Physics of Earthquakes With Networks of Seismic Arrays|
|2013||Dr. Lara Wagner||Imaging the Ancient Margin: How the Southeastern United States Was Built (And Why You Should Care)|
|2013||Dr. Gavin Hayes||Mitigating Disasters: Earthquake Response in the 21st Century|
|2012||Dr. Miaki Ishii||Dissecting Giant Earthquakes: Things We Didn't Know|
|2012||Dr. Gregory Beroza||The Tortoise and the Hare: Slow vs Fast Earthquakes|
|2011||Dr. Wayne D. Pennington||Preparing for the Future: Scientific and Humanitarian Lessons from the Haiti and Japan earthquakes|
|2011||Dr. Beatrice Magnani||The New Madrid Earthquakes Two Hundred Years Later: What Have We Learned About Earthquakes at the Center of Tectonic Plates?|
|2010||Dr. Brian Stump||Forensic Seismology and Nucler Testing: The Detective Work of Seismologists|
|2010||Dr. Stephen Malone||Predicting Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions: What Can and Can't Now Be Done|
|2009||Dr. Aaron A. Velasco||Can a Large Earthquake in Another Country Cause One in Your Backyard?|
|2009||Dr. Richard C. Aster||Taking Earth's Pulse and Temperature Using Seismology: Roaring Oceans and Singing Icebergs|
|2008||Dr. Cliff Frohlich||Deep Earthquakes and the Secret of Seismology|
|2008||Dr. Uri ten Brink||Peace and Science in the Middle East|
|2007||Dr. Anne Sheehan||Seeing Beneath Mt. Everest: Probing a Breeding Ground of Destructive Earthquakes|
|2007||Dr. Brian Atwater||The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 - A Trans-Pacific Detective Story|
|2006||Dr. Mary Lou Zoback||The 1906 Earthquake - Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten, and Future Directions|
|2006||Dr. Ed Garnero||Vibrations From the Deep: Deciphering the Birth and Death of the Earth's Surface|
|2006||Dr. Seth Stein||Giant Earthquakes: Why, Where, When, and What We Can Do|
|2005||Dr. Michael Wysession||Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and a Modern Journey to the Center of the Earth|
|2005||Dr. Susan Hough||The Very Long Reach of Very Large Earthquakes|
|2004||Dr. David E. James||Revealing the Mysteries of the Earth's Deep Interior: Plates, Plumes, and the Birth of Modern Seismology|
|2004||David Wald||Rapid Earthquake Information: Citizen Science and New Tools for Emergency Response|
|2003||Dr. Roger Bilham||Death and Construction: Earthquakes on an Urban Planet|
|2003||Dr. Walter Mooney||The Discovery of the Earth: The Quest to Understand the Interior of our Planet|