Science Pub Eugene: Cascadia Earthquakes

FEB 14, 2019 | 6:30-8:30PM

There’s Water In Them Thar Rocks! 
How Deep Fluids Relate To Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquakes, Large and Small

With Dean Livelybrooks, PhD, Associate Department Head and Tenured Senior Instructor of Physics at the University of Oregon

February 14, 2019 | 6:30-8:30PM; Doors open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation

Imagine a slow-motion attempt to slide a spatula underneath a partially-cooked pancake on a skillet.  Now apply an analogy: The Earth’s subduction zones comprise dense, thinner oceanic plates (the spatula) being pulled beneath overlying, thicker continental crust (the pancake).  Where the interface between the two is sufficiently oiled, the two can pass one another peaceably.  Where it is not the two can become stuck (locked) to one another; the leading edge of the pancake (such as the Oregon/Washington coast) deforms and; given enough built-up stress, they let go—the equivalent to cataclysmic earthquakes recently experienced in Sumatra and Japan, and predicted for Cascadia in the Pacific Northwest.


In this talk geophysicist Dean Livelybrooks will show newly-created 3-D maps of Cascadia Subduction Zone electrical conductivity, which is enhanced by fluids.  Dr. Livelybrooks will relate these maps to ‘locked zones’ that vary up and down our coast; a wet lower crust under coastal Washington correlating with higher occurrences of imperceptible and episodic ‘slow earthquakes;’ and a dry interface under Oregon’s Coast Range that may correspond with a ‘secondary locked zone’ that is, unfortunately, closer to Eugene.


Dr. Dean Livelybrooks is a geophysicist, specializing in electromagnetic methods, working in the University of Oregon Physics Department, where he is Associate Department Head.  He has undertaken field studies in remote locations on land and offshore, from Hawaii to Greece.  His research includes geothermal exploration, ore body delineation, and studies of continental margins, new and old.  Dr. Livelybrooks is also a dedicated advocate for improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career pathways in Oregon and nationwide.  He leads or has led several National Science Foundation-supported programs, including placing science graduate students in Oregon K-8 schools; partnering with 6 Oregon community colleges to improve their STEM transfer rates; providing scholarship programs for UO science majors, and co-leading teacher professional development programs.   He is a proud, 20-year member of the EWEB Solar Challenge leadership team.  He enjoys playing bass and singing in bands, and hosting exchange students with his wife, Lisa, at Roaring Frog Farm in Crow.


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