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November 7, 2018

UO scientist named an American Geophysical Union fellow

Our own Josh Roering is elected a 2018 AGU fellow for his work on landscape evolution and earth surface processes!  See the Around the O story here.

Report on Washington’s sea level rise gets boost from UO data

Our own professor Ray Weldon and doctoral candidate Tyler Newton provide data models used to help predict sea level rise for a UW project.  See the Around the O story here.

Research sheds new light on tensions along Cascadia fault

Earth Sciences doctoral candidate Miles Bodmer is featured in this Around the O story describing geophysics research on fault behavior in the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

UO professor talks mega-quakes with National Geographic

Collapsed buildings in Mexico after the 2017 Tehuantepec earthquake

Our own Earth Sciences professor Diego Melgar has been featured in an article from National Geographic discussing a recent 8.2 magnitude earthquake in Southern Mexico that broke a 37-mile stretch of tectonic plate.

Slabs of the earth’s crust known as tectonic plates collide with one another on the surface, forming mountains and other topographic features. This tectonic movement is one of many things responsible for earthquakes, mountains, valleys and other topographic features, the article says.

“If you think of it as a huge slab of glass, this rupture made a big, gaping crack,” Melgar says in the article. “All indications are that it has broken through the entire width of the thing.”

This 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Sept. 7, 2017, and scientists are still unsure about how, when and why such large fractures in the earth occur.

“If you bend an eraser, you can see the top half being extended and stretched, whereas the bottom bit is squashed and compressed,” Melgar says. “The same applies to these slabs. This bending can activate faults within the slab and trigger what are known as intraslab earthquakes,” the article adds.

Melgar goes on to address possible answers to the question of why high-magnitude intraslab earthquakes happen. Noting that the presence of sea water, age and formation of the plate could have made perfect conditions for such an event.

“Whether they feature this type of dramatic severance or not, these powerful quakes are inherently mysterious,” the article says.

To read the full article, see “Quake split a tectonic plate in two, and geologists are shaken.”

November 6, 2018

Spring 2019 Weekly Seminar Schedule

Talks are on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:20 pm in 110 Willamette Hall.

Tea and cookies are served in Cascade 200 beginning at 3:30 p.m.

April 3: Qusheng Jin, University of Oregon
Title: Methane bioproduction: Predicting the unpredictable.

April 10: Steve Vance, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Title: Geophysical Investigations of the Habitability of Icy Ocean Worlds

April 17: Claire Bucholz, Caltech
Title: The oxygenation of Earth: an igneous perspective

April 24: Carlos Moffat, University of Delaware
Title: Bringing up the heat: transport processes on the continental shelf and the melting of Antarctic glaciers

May 1: Hanna Sizemore, Planetary Science Institute
Title: Searching for Subsurface Ice on Mars and Ceres

May 8: Jonathan Lees, UNC Chapel Hill
Title: Infrasonic (Bal)Looney Tunes: Oceans-Atmospheres and Music of the Spheres

May 15: Doug Jerolmack, University of Pennsylvania
Title: Viewing Earth’s surface as a soft matter landscape

May 22: Andy Barbour, USGS
Title: Slow Deformation and Rapid Seismicity-Rate Changes Triggered by Geothermal Fluid Redistribution

May 29: Samantha Ying, UC Riverside
Title: The Many Faces of Manganese in the Environment: Contaminant, Co-Contaminant, and Driver of Contaminant Cycles

June 5: Annette Patton, University of Oregon
Title: Landslide Response to Climate Change in Denali National Park and Other Permafrost Regions

April 26, 2018

UO, OSU, and PSU students unite for regional volcanology conference

UO students have united with like-minded volcano-loving graduate and undergraduate students at Oregon State University (OSU) and Portland State University (PSU) to begin an annual student-led regional volcanology conference!

The first annual Volc-OR (Volcanology Students of Oregon) conference was held at Oregon State University, April 12-13, 2018, with ~60 student attendees!

To learn more about the group and this newly establish annual conference, please visit:

From the Volc-OR website:
Volc-OR aims to bring together graduate and undergraduate students from Portland State University, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, and other regional universities whose research relates broadly to volcanology (e.g. physical volcanology, igneous petrology, economic geology, volcano geomorphology, geophysics, etc.). As a more informal complement to major national scientific meetings, we hope that this small student-centric and student-led meeting will provide focused and relevant learning experiences and discussion, and foster new connections, collaborations, and friendships.

Importantly, we feel that we can all be taking better advantage of our shared interests and close proximity with one another to bolster research ideas and access to analytical facilities. Through meetings and general volcanophile camaraderie, the goal of Volc-OR is to build these bridges to meet your neighboring students and faculty!


New study modeling the Yellowstone Plume

Department of Earth Sciences researchers Dylan Colon and Ilya Bindeman published a new forward-modeling study of the Yellowstone Hotspot plume:

The study was picked up by several news services, most notably the Washington Post:

March 3, 2017

David Sutherland featured in Winter 2017 Cascade Magazine

Our own David Sutherland and his research into Greenland’s glaciers are featured in the Winter 2017 issue of Cascade, the Magazine of the UO College of Arts and Sciences.

Here is the link:

A Rising Tide


January 10, 2017

New Geology Paper on the route of the ancient Colorado River

Brennan O’Connell, Rebecca Dorsey, and Eugene Humphreys recently published a paper in Geology in which they describe tidal sedimentary facies and layered rhythmites that provide evidence for a more northerly extent of the Gulf of California during Pliocene time. This result suggests that uplift over the last five million years has changed the area from a marine embayment to an elevated desert landscape, contradicting earlier hypotheses that the sediments accumulated in a series of freshwater to saline lakes.

Here is an Around the O piece on the study:

Here is the original study:

November 30, 2016

Mega-earthquakes rupture flat megathrusts

Check out this new study in Science by our own Quentin Bletery, Amanda Thomas, Alan Rempel, and Leif Karlstrom, as well as Anthony Sladen and Louis De Barros:

Mega-earthquakes rupture flat megathrusts

Megathrust faults in subduction zones cause large and damaging earthquakes. Bletery et al. argue that certain geometric features of the subduction zones relate to earthquake size. The key parameter is the curvature of the megathrust. Larger earthquakes occur where the subducting slab is flatter, providing a rough metric for estimating where mega-earthquakes may occur in the future.

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