The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

Fall 2006

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Prof. Dan Davis

When Push Comes to Shove: The Tectonics of Mountain Building

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday September 29, 2006

Prof. Scott McLennan

A Thousand and One Nights on the Surface of Mars

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday October 27, 2006

Earth and Space Sciences Building 
Lecture Hall (Room 001)
SUNY Stony Brook Campus

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?

Geology Open night lectures are usually on topics in the geosciences related to the current research of the faculty, staff and students at SUNY Stony Brook. These presentations are intended for:

  • those interested in new developments in the sciences

  • earth science high school students and teachers

  • undergraduate and graduate students in geosciences

  • professional geologists

In-service Credit is available for teachers attending the Geology Open Night lectures.


You may also be interested in Astronomy Open Night lectures the first Friday of the month, The Worlds of Physics lectures the second Friday of the month and The Living World the third Friday of the month In-service credit is also available for teachers for attending these lectures.

A single point entry to all of the science open night lectures is available at this link

All of these lectures are in ESS 001 Lecture Hall

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Geology Open Night Presentations.

Admission is Free!!

Web pages describing earlier Geology Open Night presentations

Spring 1998Fall 1998, Spring 1999, Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Spring 2001

Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2003Spring 2004, Fall 2004, Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Spring 2006

When Push Comes to Shove:
The Tectonics of Mountain Building

Professor Daniel M. Davis

Wherever tectonic plates collide, thick piles of crustal rocks that are caught between the converging plates are squeezed and thrust into enormous deformed zones called thin-skinned fold-and-thrust belts. As much as 10 to 20 kilometers thick, and up to hundreds of kilometers across, these mountain belts are the sites of major earthquakes, and in their submarine variety, where they are called accretionary wedges, they produce the largest of all earthquakes (including the one that cause the great Indian Ocean tsunami). They are responsible for forming sedimentary basins that contain many of the greatest oil deposits. From their active youth (like the present-day Himalayas) to their eroded, inactive, yet still majestic old age (like the present-day Appalachians), they form impressive natural barriers capable of affecting everything from human culture to the weather.

Professor Davis will show some of the results of fieldwork and laboratory experiments that have shed light into how the world’s great (and not-so-great) mountain belts form.

Dan Davis is a Professor of Geophysics whose main research interests involve the mechanics of large-scale crustal deformation. He is particularly interested in the mechanics of thin-skinned mountain belts and the role of pore fluids and basement structure in the development of accretionary wedges at convergent plate margins. Professor Davis is well known for applying a model for the development of mountain belts that is similar to a bulldozer pushing sand.

A Thousand and One Nights on the Surface of Mars

Professor Scott McLennan

On the evening of this presentation, the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will have just surpassed one thousand Martian days (sols) of operation in Gusev crater.  The rover Opportunity, approaching Sol 1000, continues to explore Meridiani Planum on the opposite side of the planet.  The rovers have survived more than ten times their primary missions of 90 sols each.  Although they are beginning to show signs of old age, both rovers still retain mobility, are able to make use of their entire scientific instrument suites, and continue to return an unprecedented amount of data from the Martian surface. 

Power-starved Spirit has spent the past 200 sols in a stationary "winter haven" position on Low Ridge in the Columbia Hills.   From this location it has obtained a remarkably detailed set of scientific observations of its immediate surroundings.  For two years since leaving Endurance crater, Opportunity has been driving steadily southward, on its way to the 800 m diameter Victoria crater.  Along the traverse it has stopped at several small craters and outcrops to continue its investigations of evidence for flowing water on the ancient surface of Mars.

 In this presentation, Professor McLennan will review the recent scientific accomplishments of the Mars Exploration Rovers and discuss the plans for exploration during the coming martian summer.

Link to Mars Exploration Rovers web site.



In-service credit available for teachers

If your school requires that you have a sequence of educational opportunities in order to receive in-service credit, please advise them that during the Fall Semester we will be offering one-hour of in-service credit for each of the:

Two Geology Open Nights

Four Astronomy Open Nights
Website for more information is:

Four The Worlds of Physics - 
Web site for more information is:

Four The Living World
Website for more information is:


Geology Open Night, Astronomy Open Night, The Worlds of Physics and the Living World meet in ESS 001 at 7:30 p.m.

We will offer up to 7.5 hours of in-service credit for the Long Island Geologists field trip in Fall

Information is available on the Long Island Geologists web site is:

A more printable description of in-service credit offerings can be found at this link.

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Presentations.

Admission is FREE!

Presentations are in Room 001 ESS Building SUNY Stony Brook

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?