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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI breakfast lecture explores how the Earth's crust is formed at the sea floor south of Easter Island

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Narragansett, R.I. -- May 4, 2004 -- The mid-ocean ridge is a continuous mountain range with a central valley, located on the ocean floor where two tectonic plates move away from each other allowing molten rock from the Earth's interior to move toward the surface.

The public is invited to attend a lecture on "Earth's Structure Viewed through 'Tectonic Windows': 5 Million Years of Oceanic Rifting South of Easter Island" on Tuesday, May 11, 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 Christopher Popham.

Popham's lecture will focus on a recent scientific expedition he participated in to the mid-ocean ridge system south of Easter Island. He will provide an overview of the system and how scientists think ocean crust is formed. He will describe the expedition's research area, including what it is, where it is, and what the scientific team knew before the cruise that sparked the investigation. He will also review the expeditionís instrumentation, including background on Ocean Mapping with both Sidescan and Multibeam sonars.

The lecture will be fully illustrated and include 3-D perspective views of the sea floor. In addition, Popham will include pictures from Easter Island and the big stone heads the island is famous for.

Currently living in Jamestown, Popham grew up in Homer, Alaska. He received his B.S. in geology from Oregon State University. Under the guidance of major professors Roger Larson and Rob Pockalny, he studies formation and mangulation of ocean crust at and near mid-ocean ridges.

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.