Coast Geological Society

Ventura, California

Next Meeting -Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dr. Tanya Atwater, Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Barbara, will present her talk titled: 

Plate Tectonics, Western North America, and Southern California - A Personal Geo-adventure

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Talk Abstract 

In the late 1960’s, the concepts of sea floor spreading and transform faults, then subduction, then rigid plates swept across the geo-world, upending and reorganizing our understanding of most large-scale geo-phenomena.  These plate tectonic processes were first established for the oceanic realm, but they had profound effects in Western North America so that our region became a hot spot for bringing these powerful ideas to continental geology. The development of the San Andreas plate boundary dominated this work and southern California was found to be the hub of that history.  Atwater became a witness and participant in this revolution when she was swept into its whirlwind in graduate school at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.  Using maps, images and animations, she will describe the exquisite excitement as one geo-mystery after another was examined and resolved.  Ongoing work continues to enlighten our understanding of the globe, the continent and, especially, southern California’s topography and tectonic evolution.

Tanya Atwater, Ph.D.
Speaker Biography

Tanya Atwater is an Emeritus Professor at the U.C. Santa Barbara.  She received her education at the M.I.T., U.C. Berkeley, and Scripps Institute of Oceanography, completing her PhD in 1972.   Dr. Atwater's research has concerned various aspects of tectonics, ranging from the fine details of sea floor spreading processes to global implications of plate tectonics.  Her work has included numerous oceanographic expeditions, including twelve dives to the deep sea floor in the tiny submersible Alvin.  She is especially well known for her research on the plate tectonic history of the San Andreas fault and western North America.   Atwater is devoted to science communication, working with teachers, parks, and museums and consulting for the written media, and TV and video producers.  She has received many honors, including a National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Germany’s Leopold von Buch Medal, a Geological Society of America Lifetime Achievement Award and an Emmy.  She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1997.

 

 

To view and/or download Atwater's animations and other materials, click HERE