Distinguished Lectureship - Speakers

Dr. Caroline Beghein

Associate Professor
Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences,
University of California, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, California

From Plate Tectonics to Deep Earth Dynamics: A Seismological Journey Inside the Earth

Dr. Caroline Beghein is an associate professor in seismology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she has been working since 2008. Her research involves studying the Earth’s deep interior and how it relates to surface plate tectonics using recordings of earthquakes all over the globe. Caroline Beghein received her BSc degree in physics in 1997 from the Université de Liège, Belgium, from which she graduated with high honors, and a MSc degree in solid Earth geophysics from the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, France, in 1998. She graduated cum laude from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, in 2003 with a PhD in seismology. Before joining the faculty at UCLA, she spent two years, from 2004 to 2005, as a postdoctoral scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and she was a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Earth & Space Exploration at Arizona State University in 2006 and 2007. She was awarded the 2005 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists by the European Geophysical Union and the UCLA Assistant Professor Career Development Award in 2009.

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The motion of the tectonic plates that divide the Earth's surface explains many geological features and events - from mountain building, to deep oceanic trenches, to earthquakes, tsunami generation, and the presence of volcanoes. These motions at the surface are driven by processes deeper inside the Earth, in particular by the overturn of the mantle through convection: hot, lighter rocks rise to the surface and cold, denser material sinks. This process causes solid rocks in the mantle to flow and deform over geological time scales. To understand what happens at the surface, we need to study the deep Earth interior. We cannot, however, directly sample rocks from the mantle. Instead, scientists use recordings of the waves generated by earthquakes to map the physical properties of mantle rocks.

In this presentation, I will explain how seismologists are able to take the temperature of the Earth’s interior using these seismic recordings and how we can detect the direction of mantle flow with seismic waves. I will also talk about recent advances that help us better understand the relation between the motions of the rigid plates at the surface and the deformation of the underlying convecting mantle.

Date Venue
Jan 30 2016, 11:30 AM Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers, New Jersey, United States
Aug 29 2016, 7:00 PM OMSI Science Pub, The Venetian Theatre, Hillsboro, Oregon, United States
Oct 07 2016, 7:00 PM Southwestern Oregon Community College, Coos Bay, Oregon, United States