Author Archives: Chris Rowan

317 years since the last rupture of the Cascadia megathrust

At around 9pm on the 26th January 1700, the Cascadia subduction zone – a shallowly dipping thrust fault that runs more than 1000 km north from Cape Mendocino in Northern California to the vicinity of Vancouver Island, ruptured in an estimated magnitude 9 earthquake. Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geohazards, society

Visualising Earth Structure, redux

Last semester, when teaching my intro class about the composition and structure of the Earth and how we know, I went a bit overboard in producing a snazzy Earth cross-section: I’m still pretty proud of this, but one of its … Continue reading

Categories: basics, geology, teaching

Venus stays out in the cold

We basically have a huge generation gap with Venus, and we really need something to launch in the early- to mid-2020s so we can maintain some kind of continuity.” I’m not a planetary scientist, but I’m still disappointed that two … Continue reading

Categories: planets, tectonics

An unremarkable year – seismically, anyway.

Political pundits seem fond of geological metaphors such as ‘earthquake’, ‘seismic shift’, ‘tectonic shift’ and ‘tsunami’ – and they’ve certainly had plenty of reasons to use such metaphors in the past 12 months, as both my birth country and my … Continue reading

Categories: earthquakes, geology, tectonics

A cross-section through the Earth

One of the first things I do in my introductory geology class is talk about the structure of the Earth. Knowing the names, composition and physical properties of the different layers is an important foundation for the rest of the … Continue reading

Categories: basics, geology, geophysics, planets, teaching