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Harry Green lectures on understanding earthquakes

UC Riverside's Harry Green gives lecture on understanding earthquakes and plate tectonics

(May 1, 2003)

Harry Green, Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics in Earth Sciences.

Harry Green, Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics in Earth Sciences.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Dr. Harry Green, professor of earth sciences at UC Riverside and the recipient of the 2003 Faculty Research Lecturer award, will present a lecture today entitled "Using nanoscale observations to understand earthquakes and plate tectonics" at 2:00 PM in the Terrace Rooms.

Green's lecture will explore how the fundamental processes by which the Earth "works" also operate at the nanoscale and leave a "memory" stored in the crystals of the rocks. "In my laboratory, we perform experiments at high temperatures and pressures on millimeter-sized specimens to investigate these processes," Green said. "Because the tell-tale memories of process are stored on the same scales (micro- to nano-) in both laboratory and nature, we can use our quantitative laboratory measurements to enhance understanding of large-scale Earth processes such as earthquakes and continental collision."

Green's work on the mechanisms of deep earthquakes has also answered a long-standing question in earth sciences. He has shown that deep earthquakes are caused by a thermodynamically unstable phase transition, rather than the traditional shear failure seen with shallower events. His more recent work on samples of the Earth's crust that have been subducted to depths of 300 km or more and then returned to the surface is challenging long-held models of subduction (i.e., return of crustal materials into the mantle).

Green came to UC Riverside in 1993 as Professor of Geology and Geophysics in the department of earth sciences and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP). Green has served as director of the IGPP (1993-1995) and as Vice Chancellor for Research (1995-2000). He has been a Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics in Earth Sciences and IGPP since 1999.

Colleagues have recognized Green's excellence in scholarship through his many invited lectures at major research universities both in the United States and abroad. The recipient of several national and international honors, Green was also elected as Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (1990), of the American Geophysical Union (1995), and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1996). He also received the Bowen Award from the American Geophysical Union in 1994 for the single outstanding contribution in volcanology, petrology, or mineralogy in the previous 5 years.

Green's efforts to encourage research have reached beyond his own laboratory. In 1994, he successfully led an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental group in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences to establish the state-of-the-art Analytical Electron Microscope Facility for which he serves as the director. The facility provides equipment to image surfaces down to the atomic scale to scientists as diverse as orthopedic surgeons doing research on artificial joints to tectonophysicists studying the mechanics of faulting.

Today's lecture is free of charge and open to the public. Maps and directions to locations on the UC Riverside campus are available at UC Riverside information kiosks, or on the campus Web site Campus parking costs $6 per day. Hourly permits are available: 30 min, 1 hour, 2 hour, and all day. Monday through Friday daytime hourly rate for parking is $1.00/per 30 minutes.

The department of earth sciences at the University of California, Riverside offers the B.S. degree in geology and geophysics. These programs are designed for students with a strong interest in various aspects of the Earth sciences. The Department offers the M.S. and Ph.D. in Geological Science. The department offers a program built around the core research areas of organic and paleoenvironmental evolution, earthquake science and geodynamics, and quantitative Earth surface processes

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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