Plate Tectonics: Continental Drifters for 3.5 billion years
|Date||23rd April 2022|
|Time||10:00 - 12:30|
|Presenter||Dr. Tony Corrigan|
The study and understanding plate tectonics has gone through a series of huge advances in the last few decades and is now recognised as the unifying theory and basis for much of geological thinking. As a result it also makes starring appearances on a number of television programmes.
Our discussion will start with a summary of the basics of plate tectonics: what do the words mean, how does it work, where does the energy come from and how do we know that huge continents weighing trillions of tons are continually on the move? We will then talk about, and look at examples of, the impact (literally) of moving continents including how they grow, build all of our mountain ranges, from the Scottish Highlands to the Alps and Himalayas, why they are the principal cause of earthquakes and tsunamis and how they cause and feed volcanoes.
Finally we will look at varied examples from around the world and follow how things have changed in the last billion years and perhaps discuss ‘what next’?
I was one of the lucky few who did A level Geology (at Worthing High School) which gave me a life long addiction to the study of rocks of all kinds and the processes by which they were formed. It also meant that I got to do field work in many parts of the world (starting with the exotic Imperial College in geologically renowned South Kensington).
I did my PhD on ancient reefs in Calgary in Canada, which was very conveniently situated next to the Rockies, and then joined Shell to work in their research laboratory in the Hague. After a few years working for HMG in London as the North Sea oil industry rapidly expanded I then spent the following 30 years working as a consultant for a number of companies around the world including working for BP as an independent advisor for 20 years.
Geologists rarely restrict themselves to one area of specialisation and the extensive business travel allowed me to visit classic examples around the world of the results of plate tectonics and volcanoes and use these to illustrate my Rottingdean lectures.