Science & Technology


Christie Rowe: In Search of the Source of Earthquakes

Speaker: Christie Rowe (Assistant Professor, Dept. Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University)

Earthquakes happen every day all over the world.  Most are concentrated along the boundaries of tectonic plates, but occasionally, earthquakes happen where we don’t expect them.  How do these events start? What controls the location of earthquakes?  And what happens to all the energy that is released? Thousands or millions of years of erosion can reveal the deeper crustal rocks, which were the source of ancient earthquakes. Seeking out surface exposures of these ancient faults can give some insight into the physical and chemical controls on earthquakes.  Professor Rowe will present stories from her field work across North America, Africa, and the deep ocean offshore Japan in search of answers to these questions.  She will show the discoveries made during her April-May 2012 ocean drilling expedition to study the deep ocean fault which produced the great Tohoku 3/11/11 earthquake, and compare this fault to ancient faults in Alaska and Namibia which produced great earthquakes millions of years ago.  Finally, she will argue that earthquakes are a key process in forming ore deposits and show examples from Québec and around the world.  Here are some links to Scientific American Blog postings written by Dr. Rowe about D/V Chikyu this spring off the coast of Japan and about Earthquake prediction.

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    September 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm