Tuesday Noon Balloon with James Gaherty


Adventures in Seismology: World-wide Exploration of Continental Rifting

James Gaherty

Tuesday March 22nd
Room 417 Schermerhorn Hall


Summary: The notion of continental aggregation and breakup are central to our understanding of plate tectonics and the long-term evolution of the Earth. Through the Wilson cycle, continental plates collide, are stable for millions of years, and then rift apart on new plate boundaries. The process of rifting involves a fascinating interplay of plate reorganization, volcanism, and faulting, and modern-day rift zones are important centers of study for understanding volcanic and tectonic deformation and associated natural hazards. In the past year, Lamont seismologists have initiated major field investigations in two global hot-spots of rifting -- along Lake Malawi in eastern Africa, and on the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea. We discuss the challenges and opportunities of field investigations in active rifts, including opportunities for outreach, capacity building, and initial scientific results.

James GahertyJames Gaherty is Lamont Associate Research Professor and a member of the Division of Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Jim's general areas of expertise are earthquake seismology and geodynamics. In his research on deformation of the Earth's surface, Jim uses seismic images of the Earth's deep interior to gain a better understanding of the underlying cause of deformation, mantle convection. Jim has traveled from the mountain peaks of far northwestern Canada, to the newly formed seafloor in the Gulf of California to collect new seismic data. Today's lecture describes current work in eastern Africa and Papua New Guinea.

Jim received his B.A. in Geophysics from Brown University, a Masters in Geology from University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Future talks are scheduled for Tuesdays from 12:15-1:00pm in Room 417 Schermerhorn Hall.  Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.

All are welcome to attend!