Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Planetary Science

What can studying Earth's tiny vibrations teach us about our planet?

Friday, October 8, 2021
headshot of EPS Professor Harriet Lau; female with long, black hair, wearing striped, sleeveless blouse and a necklace with a pearl

Science at Cal Lecture Series

What can studying Earth's tiny vibrations teach us about our planet?

Featuring: Dr. Harriet Lau Assistant Professor Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science

While the Earth’s surface makes up only a tiny percentage of its anatomy, the blueprint of the surface -- like the location and extent of oceans, continents, mountain ranges, ice sheets, volcanoes, and even the distribution of nutrients that sustain life -- is determined by massive forces deep within the Earth. The churning of the Earth’s mantle (the layer of rock underneath the crust) drives plate tectonics, the long-term movement of Earth’s minerals and gases, including water, and thus holds fundamental implications for the surface of the Earth and life on it. Therefore, in order to understand the evolution of the Earth, a key parameter that drives mantle circulation must be understood--namely, its density. In this talk, Dr. Harriet Lau will discuss how peculiar vibrations of the Earth can provide fresh and independent measurements of deep mantle density and what that might mean for Earth’s evolution.
Screenshot of recodring. Science at Cal Lecture Series with EPS Professor Harriet Lau