Author Archives: Chris Rowan

A very slow magnetic doom

Why an ‘imminent’ reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field doesn’t mean what most people think it means. Continue reading

Categories: deep time, geology, palaeomagic, public science, society

Simulating radioactive decay

3.8 billion years! 4 billion years! 4.4 billion years! 4.57 billion years! When discussing the age of the Earth in introductory geology, I think it is important for students to know at least the basic principles of where these ages … Continue reading

Categories: deep time, geology, science education, teaching

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again: an introduction to How the Earth Works

For a couple of years now, I’ve been telling a story at the beginning of the introductory geology course I teach, called How the Earth Works. I like to think it gives a flavour of the kinds of stories you can tell about the Earth, if you know how to look: stories of how the world slowly remakes itself over hundreds of millions of years, of how the very high was once the very low, and will be again. This is that story. Continue reading

Categories: academic life, basics, deep time, geology, geomorphology, ice and glaciers, outcrops, past worlds, rocks & minerals, science education, tectonics

Earthquake warning systems are hard, but not having one is worse.

The premise of earthquake early warning systems is simple. An earthquake produces several different kinds of seismic waves that race away from the rupture point. Because they are different kinds of vibrations, they travel at different speeds; and the farther … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, geophysics, links, society

A Seismic Summary of 2017

Why 2017 was a quiet year – and an examination of the provocative hypothesis that 2018 may not be. Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, geophysics, tectonics