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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI breakfast lecture explores ancient volcanic eruptions

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Narragansett, R.I. -- February 10, 2004 -- The Earth is a dynamic planet due in large part to plate tectonics whose movements are responsible for volcanic activity throughout the world. One of the places that has experienced a significant number of volcanic events is the Central American Volcanic Belt, whose volcanoes extend along a subducting plate boundary through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and into Panama.

The public is invited to attend a lecture on "Super Volcanic Eruptions in Central America 20 Million Years Ago" on Tuesday, February 24, at 9 a.m. in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett. The lecture is part of a series featuring the research of URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) students. The speaker will be geological oceanography Ph.D. candidate Benjamin Jordan of Wakefield.

During a time period between 10 and 25 million years ago gigantic volcanic eruptions blanketed all of Central America. Today the deposits from these eruptions are hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of feet thick. Many questions arise such as: When, exactly, did the eruptions take place? How big were they? What caused them? What environmental effects did they have? Will such eruptions happen again? The answers come from a combination of land- and ocean-based research that gets to the core of these spectacular and explosive natural events.

Originally from Roosevelt, Utah, Jordan received a B.S. in geology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. His research interests include all aspects of volcanology, but especially those related to marine geology. He is working on his Ph.D. in oceanography under the guidance of geological oceanographer Dr. Haraldur Sigurdsson.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Coffee and muffins will be served. For more information, call Friends of Oceanography at (401) 874-6642.

Friends of Oceanography is a community-based membership organization established in 1986 to support the educational and public programs of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography.

Friends provides financial support of fellowships for GSO students, and other research, education, and outreach activities. The organization also helps sponsor a variety of special events such as oceanography lecture series, open houses at the Bay Campus, The JASON Project, and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.