2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


Dec 2010

Postdoc Erin Burkett leads 8th graders in activities on Plate Tectonics - On holiday break in New Hampshire, Erin took the opportunity to visit four 8th grade science classes. She led hands-on activities such as constructing model buildings out of spaghetti and raisins, to see how the height of a building affects its resonance frequency. She also answered questions such as "If you were scuba diving in a trench, could you get sucked into the subduction zone?" (read article) (Dec 22, 2010)

Joann Stock leads teacher workshop on How Tectonics Shaped Southern California Landscape - Joann used animations and a cardboard model to demonstrate the complicated local plate motion over the last 18 million years [Watch video]

Earth Story: the colossal forces that created our planet - Graduate student Michelle Selvans led Caltech's Science Saturday at Beckman Auditorium on December 4, 2010 (More...)

Tectonic Observatory Postdoc and graduate student team up with local sixth grade teachers to lead hands-on activities - Joel Scheingross and Erin Burkett led activities on topographic maps, why the earth has seasons, and plate tectonics, at McKinley Middle School

Nov 2010

Visiting Associate Researcher Jamshid Hassanzadeh visits local Pasadena High School chemistry class - presenting "The periodic table in everyday life." The students pondered over questions such as “How different is our body from the ground?” and “Suppose you have landed on an Earth-like planet that had no liquid water. Could you survive by obtaining water from the rocks there?” Jamshid then demonstrated with a Bunsen burner that you can remove water from the mineral gypsum (leaving behind plaster). (Nov 5, 2010)

Oct 2010

TO scientists partnering for the academic year with local 6th grade teachers - Postdoc Erin Berkett and graduate student Joel Scheingross are partnering with teachers from McKinley to bring hands-on activities to Earth Science classes throughout the academic year

Jason Saleeby participated in the fall meeting of the National Association for Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) - Jason was a keynote speaker and co-led two field trips to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, one to view the suturing of oceanic crust to the continental crust and the other to view anomalous subsidence and relate it to mantle dynamics (Field Guide)

Rising Mountains and Sinking Oceans: Earthquakes That Shape the Earth - Professor Jean-Philippe Avouac will give a Watson Lecture for general audience on Wednesday Oct 7, at 8 pm, in Beckman Auditorium. Combining modern space and traditional geological techniques and field observations, Jean-Philippe with his colleagues and students have collected an exceptional set of observations of the most active plate boundaries, the Himalaya, Sumatra, and South America (More...). [Watch video on iTunes U - scroll to #12]

Sept 2010

New View of Tectonic Plates - Computational scientists and geophysicists at the University of Texas at Austin and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed new computer algorithms that for the first time allow for the simultaneous modeling of the earth's mantle flow, large-scale tectonic plate motions, and the behavior of individual fault zones, to produce an unprecedented view of plate tectonics and the forces that drive it (press release)

July 2010

Tectonics Observatory hosts high school students and teacher for summer research - as part of Caltech's Summer Research Connection. Postdoc Nadaya Cubas and Graduate Student Kristel Chanard served as mentors. The group built a sandbox experiment to simulate mountain building (more info) (July 2010)

Caltech ranks second highest number of papers cited on earthquake research over the past decade- with Hiroo Kanamori, Jean-Philippe Avouac, and Kerry Sieh among the top 20 individuals having the most citations. Watch special topic interview with Jean-Philippe Avouac on the creative power of earthquakes (, July 2010)

Inactive fault may trigger big quake after all - A seismic fault in the Sierra Nevada, believed to have been quiet for more than 3 million years, is active after all and capable of triggering strong quakes with magnitudes of 6 or even 7, scientists say (San Francisco Chronicle - July 2010)

Jun 2010

Caltech grad students and postdocs serve as science fair judges at PUSD's Washington Elementary - Janet Harvey, Joel Scheingross, and Sylvain Barbot met with small groups of 5th graders to discuss their science projects.

"Caltech Undergrad" (YouTube)
Musical performance by four GPS graduate students at the Division's Zilchbrau, an annual celebration organized by 2nd-year graduate students. The performers are (from left to right) Andrew Matzen, Steven Chemtob, Steven Kidder, and Alan Chapman

Visiting grad student Kristel Chanard and postdoc Sylvain Barbot visit a 4th grade class at Temple Academy, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District - They led activities on plate tectonics and mountain building using an earthquake machine, a seismometer (SeisMac), USGS's "This Dynamic Planet" poster, and earthquake fault blocks

May 2010

Middle school students from Marshall's 6th and 9th grades hike Eaton Canyon - Janet Harvey, Joel Scheingross, Jamshid Hassanzadeh, Jeffrey Thompson, and Kristel Chanard led the students through Eaton Canyon on a geology field trip

Caltech Tectonics Observatory postdoc Sylvain Barbot visits 7th and 8th grade classes - leading hands-on activities with an earthquake machine, seismometer, and the students' own heavy science books, Sylvain illustrated the effect of friction and normal stress on the recurrence time of earthquakes

Aseismic slip as a barrier to earthquake propagation - On August 15, 2007, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck in Central Peru, killing more than 500 people--primarily in the town of Pisco, which was heavily damaged by the temblor--and triggering a tsunami that flooded Pisco's shore and parts of Lima's Costa Verde highway. The rupture occurred as the Nazca tectonic plate slipped underneath the South American plate in what is known as a subduction zone. Soon thereafter, Hugo Perfettini--a former postdoctoral scholar with the Tectonics Observatory at Caltech, now at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement in France--deployed an array of GPS stations in southern Peru. (Futurity, Press release, May 5)

Jean-Philippe Avouac receives Humboldt Research Award - the award is granted in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in future

The Biggest One - Hiroo Kanamori is interviewed on the 50th anniversary of Chile's 1960 magnitude 9.5 earthquake (Nature)

April 2010

April 4, 2010 earthquake (M 7.2) in Baja California, Mexico - images showing the surface rupture, obtained by "subpixel correlation analysis" (COSI-Corr) of optical satellite images taken before and after the earthquake

John Galetzka and Willy Amidon lead tours of the Tectonics Observatory - as part of Caltech's Bring Your Children to Work Day

Graduate student Willy Amidon visits two 4th grade classes - Willy gave presentations on weathering and erosion at Washington Accelerated Elementary School, PUSD

The Ancient California River and how it Carved the Grand Canyon in the Age of T. Rex, Watson Lecture for general audiences, by Brain Wernicke [Watch video on iTunes U - scroll to #9]
Anyone who stands at the rim of grand canyon is confronted with one of the most humbling spectacles in the solar system, a high, featureless plateau interrupted by a mile-deep chasm. Its origin has been controversial ever since John Wesley Powell’s historic navigation of the colorado river in 1869. A long-held consensus is that the canyon is six million years old and was carved by the river. This lecture will examine data collected over the last three years suggesting instead that the canyon was incised between 70 and 80 million years ago, by a river flowing in the opposite direction to the modern colorado river

March 2010

Caltech postdocs Tim Raub and Sylvain Barbot serve as science fair judges - for St. Philip's middle school

Modern Methods of Observing Earthquakes: What We Have Learned About Haiti and Chile using Seismology and Space Observations - Mark Simons and Anthony Sladen were among the speakers at a public lecture in Beckman Auditorium (watch video of event)

TO scientists participate in Family Science Night at Willard Elementary - Sylvain Barbot, Jamshid Hassanzadeh, and Laurie Kovalenko presented hands-on activities about earthquakes, rocks, and minerals

Caltech graduate student Steve Kidder visits 2nd grade class - Wearing field gear and bringing rock samples, Steve spoke to second graders at Willard Elementary about the life of a geology graduate student and answered questions about rocks and minerals

Elementary School Students Tour Caltech's Tectonics Observatory - Sixty 6th graders from Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena recently visited campus for a tour of Caltech's Tectonics Observatory (Caltech Today)

Earthquakes: The Human Story
The Friends of Caltech Libraries and the Pasadena Public Library's One City, One Story program have collaborated to present a special event called "Earthquakes: The Human Story" at 7 p.m. on March 12 in the Cahill Center's Hameetman Auditorium. Joann Stock, professor of geology and geophysics at Caltech, and Alan Drew, author of "Gardens of Water", will discuss the nature, aftermath, and human toll of the 1999 Marmara Quake. This event is free and open to the public. (More...)

For scientists, Chile becomes the ideal lab for studying seismic activity - Among those who got to Chile first was Genrich, a German-born geophysicist and staff scientist at the California Institute of Technology's Tectonics Observatory in Pasadena (Washington Post)

Geodesy specialist gives presentations in Nepal on earthquake science and safety - John Galetzka of the TO and Professor B.N. Upreti of Tribhuvan University spoke to the families of Lincoln Middle School in Kathmandu, Nepal, on "Nepal and Earthquakes: Always a concern…more so after Haiti and Chile." They went on to give nine more presentations to other schools, United Nations teams, Nepali government officials, US embassy staff, and the International Committee of the Red Cross

Laura Alisic (Graduate Student) - Winner of the MARGINS Student prize competition at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, for her poster "Global mantle flow at ultra-high resolution: The competing influence of faulted plate margins, the strength of bending plates, and large-scale, nonlinear flow"

February 2010

February 2010 earthquake (M 8.8) in Chile - map of location and length of rupture

Joann Stock, professor of geology and geophysics, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union - an honor that, according to the AGU, "is a special tribute for those who have made exceptional scientific contributions" and "have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1% of all AGU members in any given year."

Intersonic Earthquakes: What Laboratory Earthquakes Teach us About Real Ones - Professor Ares Rosakis gives a Watson Lecture for general audiences, on triggering laboratory-generated earthquakes, as well as simulation methodologies for determining the probability of building collapse and structural damage and for estimating loss. More info... (Watch video on iTunesU - scroll to #8)

Three TO grad students show that anyone can be a scientist - Kristel Chanard, Marion Thomas, and Thomas Ader visited a 6th grade class at Burbank Elementary to lead hands-on activities and teach about mountain building and volcanoes. Before the visit, the teacher had asked the students to draw a scientist and describe what they do (Caltech Today)

Caltech graduate student visits 6th grade class - Willy Amidon visited a 6th grade class at PUSD's Marshall Fundamental Secondary School to lead activities about Earthquakes

January 2010

January 2010 earthquake (M 7.0) in Haiti - map of location and length of rupture

TO graduate students lead kids on geology field trips - Alan Chapman and Janet Harvey led a 4th grade class of 33 students from Don Benito Elementary through Eaton Canyon. Jeffrey Thompson led a similar field trip for a Boy Scout troop of 12 Middle and High School students. Besides fording streams, students learned about mountain building, earthquakes, types and ages of rocks, and erosion

TO graduate student visits school on Career Day - Steve Skinner visited 4th, 5th, and 7th grade classes at a school in Torrance, to give the kids an idea of what geologists do. He brought an earthquake machine coupled with the seismometer SeisMac

Caltech graduate student visits 6th grade class - Michelle Selvans visited a 6th grade class at PUSD's Blair IB Magnet School to lead activities related to the evidence for plate tectonics

© Tectonics Observatory :: California Institute of Technology
Last updated: June 21, 2013 :: Contact Us


Tectonics Observatory