The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

Spring 2009

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Feeling the heartbeat
of the Earth

Prof. Lianxing Wen

7:30 PM February 27, 2009

The Hayward Fault,
before the Big One

Dr. Christiane Stidham

7:30 PM March 27, 2009

Energy Materials at
Stress and Temperature

Prof. Donald Weidner

7:30 p.m. April 24, 2009

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

Link here to be placed on the mail or e-mail list to receive announcements.

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 the following lectures:
Astronomy Open Night  usually the first Friday of the month,

The Worlds of Physics usually the second Friday of the month,
The Living World  the third Friday of the month and
Our Environment usually the third Sunday of the month.

In-service credit is also available for teachers for attending these lectures.

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, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008


Feeling the heartbeat of the Earth

Professor Lianxeng Wen
Department of Geosciences
Stony Brook University

7:30 PM March 27, 2009 in ESS 001

As they travel through the Earth, earthquake waves open a window for us to look "directly" inside the Earth. As a result, the major discoveries related to the Earth's interior (crust, mantle and core) have come from seismology, the study of earthquake waves. The accumulation of high-quality seismic data is now allowing seismologists to search for temporal changes of the Earth’s properties. In this open night, Prof. Wen will present a recent discovery of a decadal change of the Earth’s inner core surface, using repeating earthquakes and high-resolution data analysis. Prof. Wen will also discuss the implications of the discovery to our understanding of the thermodynamic processes related to the growth of the inner core and driving forces for the geodynamo, a physical process that generates the Earth’s magnetic field.

Prof. Lianxing Wen is the recipient of the 2003 James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and a fellow of the AGU. The AGU Macelwane Medal recognizes significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by an outstanding young scientist. Prof. Wen has served numerous advisory panels for NASA, National Science Foundation, the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismolog, Earthscope and AGU. His research interests focus on seismology, geodynamics and planetary sciences.


The Hayward Fault,
before the Big One

Dr. Christiane Stidham
Department of Geosciences
Stony Brook University

7:30 PM March 27, 2009 in ESS 001

The Hayward Fault runs through northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area, underlying many of its most populated regions. City planners in the area observe that they can locate the fault by connecting the locations of major hospitals in the East Bay, and no one living in the East Bay (a population of more than a million) lives more than a few miles from the Hayward Fault. As such, it has been one of the most studied faults in the world, but understanding of its past earthquakes has evolved very dramatically in recent years, giving us still only a toehold on estimates of likely future earthquakes. Given how many people will be affected by the next major earthquake on the Hayward Fault, it is important to improve our understanding of the fault’s behavior as best as possible, before the next Big One comes.

 Dr. Christiane Stidham is a lecturer in the Geosciences Department at Stony Brook University. Her background is in both geology and geophysics, the product of a torturous graduate career. After a Berkeley dissertation on computer models of northern California earthquakes, she continued to a Harvard post-doc on computer models of southern California earthquakes (so as not to leave out the other California). The next step was to leave all of California behind. Since coming to Stony Brook, her emphasis has been on teaching, on natural hazards and environmental geology, and on re-learning East Coast geology, but she still thinks back fondly on the dangers and hassles of living in California.

Wikipedia description of the Hayward Fault


Energy Materials at Stress and Temperature

Distinguished Professor Donald Weidner
Department of Geosciences
Stony Brook University

7:30 PM April , 2009 in ESS 001


In the next couple of decades, we will need to make major changes in the basic sources of energy that is used to drive our society.  Either because of concerns of polluting our atmosphere with excess carbon or because we simply deplete the conventional oil resources, these changes are coming.  These realities will create a strong shift in the focus of scientific research.  Coping with the changes in our energy base will require breakthroughs in many scientific fields.  New federal investments are being directed in this fashion.


The next generation of energy production needs to be more efficient implying higher temperatures and higher pressures.  New materials with improved resistance to chemical corrosion, and the extreme conditions need to be defined.  Here I will illustrate how our high pressure research program will be used to provide information concerning the strength of materials under extreme conditions.  These experimental facilities were developed to study minerals deep within the Earth, but are directly applicable to study materials used to supply the next generation of energy.

In-service credit available for teachers and professional geologists

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 Spring Semester we will be offering one-hour of in-service credit for each of the:

Three Geology Open Nights

Four Astronomy Open Nights
Website for more information is:

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

   Three Our Environment
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  in-service credit for the Conference on the Geology of Long Island and Metropolitan New York on Saturday March 28, 2009and  the Long Island Geologists field trip in Spring

Information for these two events will be available on the Long Island Geologists web site at:

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?