Have you ever wondered what it's like to live on the flanks of an active volcano? Or to be struck by a deadly earthquake? Have you thought about the magnetic field that surrounds our planet and is likely to flip in our planet's future? Join us to learn from the experts about three natural hazards that create a challenge for scientists and communities every day. Please note there are stairs up to the venue so it may not be accessible for people with impaired mobility.
We remain unable to predict exactly when an earthquake will occur, yet we know many places where they are likely to happen, and often how big they will be. There have been great engineering successes in ‘high risk’ areas like California and Japan, but occasionally earthquakes occur in unexpected places. These can be major events and their consequences can be catastrophic. I will talk about these rare and dangerous earthquakes, taking examples from all over the world. I will start to address what we can learn from them, whether we can understand them and how much we should worry about them.
Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been erupting intermittently since 1999. The volcano has grown as magma accumulates inside its edifice and erupts from its summit in deadly pyroclastic flows. Communities on the volcano have had to adapt their lives to the volcano's activity, whether evacuating their villages on the upper slopes or growing crops that thrive in ash. Changes at the volcano have been observed with instruments on the ground, aerial imagery and from satellites in space. I will discuss how decades of eruptions at Tungurahua reshape the volcano and the lives of those around it.
Earth has possessed a magnetic field for at least 3.5 billion years, shielding the surface from potentially harmful radiation. A recent decline in strength as well as the magnetic poles flipping their alignment entirely a few times every million years shows the field strength is far from constant. The outer core is the source of the magnetic field, which has helped shape our modern world. But how did Earth get its core? What is it made of? How does it produce a magnetic field? This talk will provide insight into these fundamental issues in deep geophysics.