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November 7, 2018

UO researchers expose the dirty secrets hidden under glaciers

Our own postdoctoral scholar Colin Meyer and professor Alan Rempel delve into the physics relating to glacier movement and friction.  See the Around the O story here.

UO research may soon make Oregon safer in quakes and fires

Continuing work by our own Doug Toomey and his team at the Oregon Hazards Lab are moving closer to a public early-warning system for hazard events in the Pacific Northwest.  See the Around the O story here.

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 27, 2017

Commencement 2020

Credit to LA Johnson NPR

Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. on Zoom

The Earth Sciences faculty and staff invite graduates and their guests to attend the department’s graduation ceremony online via Zoom.  Graduates must register to participate using the graduate survey link on this page in order to receive the shareable Zoom invitation.

Department Commencement Participation Information

The ceremony is for both graduate and undergraduate Geological and Earth Science majors  Graduating students will be individually recognized as they receive their diploma. The ceremony will be approximately an hour long.

If you are a graduate for the 2019-20 academic year, please complete this short graduate survey.

Announcements, Regalia & Graduation Photos

Announcements and regalia (cap, gown, and tassel) can be ordered from the UO Duck Store starting March 23th. Graduates are not required to wear a cap and gown.

The UO Duck Store is holding a virtual Grad Fair this year. The annual commencement fee has been waived, and all graduates may order a diploma cover free of charge, thanks to a donation from the University of Oregon Alumni Association.  Regalia and diploma covers can be ordered here:


If there is any silver lining here, it is that there is no mad scramble this year to try and find a hotel room for Commencement, nor will parking be an issue.  Also, we do not anticipate any need for limiting the number of guests you may invite!

A Zoom tutorial is linked HERE, and we recommend that you and your guests all give the platform a trial run before the ceremony to ensure that everyone can participate.


We invite graduates and their guests to also watch the main University of Oregon commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 20th at 9 a.m. (Pacific time) Details regarding this celebration can be found at:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who may participate in the Department of Earth Sciences ceremony? Undergraduate Earth and Geological Science majors, minors, and graduate students who graduated Fall 2019, Winter 2020, or who applied to graduate Spring 2020, or who WILL graduate Summer 2020.
  • Whose name is listed in the department commencement program? Students who apply to graduate Spring 2020, Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 graduates, and students who are graduating Summer 2020 and notify us via this survey. Summer graduates who do not notify the department will not be listed in the program.
  • How do I notify the department that I plan to participate in the ceremony on June 20th or not? For planning purposes, the department needs to know how many students will be participating in the ceremony. If you completed your degree in Fall or Winter, or plan to in Spring or Summer this year please complete this graduate survey.



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