USGS Evening Public Lecture Series
2004 Video Archive
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Roving Around Mars
By Devon M. Burr & Michael H. Carr, Planetary Geologists
Adventures in Exploring the Red Planet
- January 2004 will see two NASA rovers land on Mars to analyze rock and soil and measure environmental conditions
- By January, a European Mars probe and a Japanese orbiter should also be studying the planet's surface
- Share the excitement and intensity of running the rovers and interpreting the data they return
- Learn about the bizarre routine of scientists who wear "Mars watches" and work on Mars time
- Will these missions tell us finally whether Mars ever had oceans of water.or even life?
Life and Death of Hawaiian Coral Reefs
By Michael E. Field, Marine Geologist & Curt D. Storlazzi, Coastal Oceanographer
New Studies Track the Life Cycle of Maui's Changing Reefs
- How are coral reefs changing, and why is it a
- Agents of change on Maui's reefs have both natural
and human causes
- Coral eggs and sperm released during remarkable
spawning events are tracked using current
drifters and satellites
- New information is unraveling the ecological connection
between separated reefs on different
- Coral reefs may face serious future challenges
related to changes in climate and sea level
Mapping the American West
By James G. Moore, Geologist
Clarence King and the 40th Parallel Survey
- After completing a geology degree at Yale and coming West in a wagon train, Clarence King worked with the California Geological Survey and was in the field party that discovered Mount Whitney
- King led the United States Geological Exploration of the 40th Parallel (1867-79), which mapped topography and geology along a 100-mile-wide strip across Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming
- King discovered the first known glaciers in the U.S., exposed the .great diamond hoax. of 1872, and wrote "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada", a book that became a classic in western writing
- In 1879 Clarence King became the founding Director of the U.S. Geological
Survey, the Nation.s first civilian government science agency
- King's enduring legacy includes excellence in combining mapping of geology and topography and supporting geologic field work with a full range of laboratory studies
Science, Society, and the Survey
By David G. Howell, Geologist
50 Years of the USGS in Menlo Park
Hear about some of the scientific highlights from 1954 to 2004 --
- The search for strategic minerals
- Exploring the high seas
- The birth of astrogeology
- Advancing the theory of plate tectonics
- From topo maps to digital GIS
- Predicting volcanic eruptions
- Monitoring the health of San Franscisco Bay
- Understanding earthquake hazards
Delta Revival -- Restoration of a California Ecosystem
Ecologist Jim Cloern will introduce the video Delta Revival, produced jointly by the USGS and the CALFED Bay-Delta Authority.
Video presentation and discussion
USGS Scientists wil answer your questions about this documentary, which shows:
- biologists, chemists, physical scientists, and engineers working together
to solve a complex environmental problem,
- team-based science learned form 3 decade of studies in San Francisco
Bay and applied to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem,
- the joy of scientific discovery, and
- how new scientific discoveries can guide future ecosystem restoration.
From Strawberry Fields to the Ozone Layer
By Laurence G. Miller, Biogeochemist
The Methyl Bromide Story
- Methyl bromide (CH3Br) is an important agricultural
pesticide widely used in growing
strawberries and other field crops
- Methyl bromide---much of it from natural
sources---is one of the gases contributing to
destruction of Earth's ozone layer
- No single replacement has been identified for
its use in the strawberry fields
- USGS research discovered bacteria that metabolize
methyl bromide and so could help
save the ozone layer
Secrets in Stone
Presentation of the award-winning USGS video "Secrets in Stone" (35 minutes), introduced by Jack Hillhouse,
Research Geophysicist, and followed by a tour of the USGS Paleomagnetics Laboratory
The Role of Paleomagnetism in the Evolution of Plate Tectonic Theory
- Crucial discoveries in the early 1960.s were made in a "tar-paper shack" at the
USGS Menlo Park campus
- Learn how the old idea of .continental drift. was surprisingly revived by these
discoveries and woven into the new theory of plate tectonics
- Hear about the strange behavior of the Earth.s magnetic field: drift and occasional
reversals of North and South poles
- Do we know when the next flip (reversal) of the Earth's magnetic field will happen?
- Tour the USGS Paleomagnetics Laboratory (Building 16 - see map on back) after the
presentation and learn about the current research taking place there. All welcome.
Featuring the new award-winning
USGS video Precipice of Survival.
The Southern Sea Otter by Stephen
Wessells, introduced and discussed
by sea otter researchers including
Alisha H. Kage and M. Tim Tinker,
What is the Future of the Southern Sea Otter?
- The southern subspecies of sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, is a keystone
organism in the kelp forests along the California coast
- One of the otters' favorite foods is sea urchins, which feed on the kelp-hence
changes in the otter population affect all levels of the ecosystem
- The species Enhydra lutris originally was found all the way around the North
Pacific, from Baja California to Japan, and may have numbered half a million
- The southern subspecies was thought to be extinct in the early 20th century,
but a tiny colony was found off Big Sur in the 1930's and has since expanded to
about 2,500 animals along our coast
- In the 1990's, otter numbers off California began to decline again--but why?
The Winemaker's Dance
by David G. Howell, Geologist Emeritus
and Wine in Napa Valley
- Does a glass of wine really contain 100 million
years of geologic history ?
- How did continental glaciation help shape
the Napa Valley's soils?
- Are the hills in Napa Valley that help control
its microclimates really megalandslides?
- What effect will global warming have on the
- If "2-buck chuck" is drinkable, why bother
with a $100 bottle of wine?
- Do wine critics play a role in influencing the
"quality" of wine?
Hot Oil, Frozen Ground,
by George Gryc, Arthur Lachenbruch, and
Robert Page, Scientists Emeriti
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline story--
so far, so good!
- The 1968 discovery of North America.s largest oil fi eld on the
Arctic coast posed the challenge of an 800-mile pipeline to
carry hot oil across mountains, rivers, and the giant Denali Fault
- The oil industry's plan was to bury the hot pipeline, even through extensive tracts
of permafrost (frozen ground)
- After USGS scientists raised the alarm about hazards to the pipeline and the environment,
a USGS working group set performance requirements for the pipeline
- Redesign of the pipeline--elevated over ice-rich permafrost and set on "sliders"
across the Denali Fault--delayed the project 2 years and increased its cost from
$900 million to $8 billion
- When the Denali Fault slipped 14 feet under the pipeline in a powerful 2002 quake,
the design worked--no oil was spilled!
- The story of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has been a complex battle of scientific,
economic, safety, environmental, and political concerns--what lessons can we
learn from it?
Plane Tables to
by Susan P. Benjamin, Research Geographer
The Revolution in Mapping
at the U.S. Geological Survey
- Mapping the United States in the 19th century was arduous, dangerous
work; flash floods, bears, and bandits were just a few hazards
- By the mid-20th century, aerial photography, photogrammetry, and
stereophoto pairs, allowed technicians to map land-elevation contours
without fifi eld visits
- The "art" of cartography has evolved from hand scribing to computer
digitization and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Satellite, airborne, and other remote-sensing technologies have
greatly improved the acquisition of map data
- The Internet has revolutionized map availability--many maps are
now available on-line; some are customizable from your computer
by Robert L. Christiansen and
Robert I. Tilling, Volcanologists
Advances in Understanding and
Coping with their Hazards
- The development of plate tectonic theory in the 1960s shed new light on the origins of volcanoes
- Mount St. Helens' spectacular 1980 eruption stimulated much productive new research
- Frequent eruptive activity in Hawaii provides a natural laboratory for understanding active volcanoes
- Deciphering "lifestyles" of volcanoes helps to assess their hazards and mitigate risks
- A unique USGS volcano "SWAT" team deals with volcano crises around the world
- What might the future bring--in volcanic eruptions and in our understanding of them?
USGS Public Events Calendar (Recorded Message)
--- (650) 329-5000
For additional information on the USGS Evening Public Lecture Series
please contact Amelia Barrales: firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone (650) 329-5136.