Public Lecture – Dynamic Earth: the wonders of drifting continents

Dynamic Earth: the wonders of drifting continents

By Dr. Fernando Ornelas Marques

Thursday 27 April 2107 – 6:30p.m. 7:30p.m.

Venue: Speakers Hall and Science lab of the Institute for Science and Environment, Rua de Londres16, Macau SAR | 澳門外港新填海區倫敦街16號(環宇豪庭), Macau

Target audience: earth scientists, university students, natural science teachers and students and general public.


Abstract: I will start by discussing, in a very intuitive and accessible manner, the behaviour of materials, more specifically of rocks, at different conditions of temperature and pressure, and over time and under the action of forces. Then, I will discuss the difference between elastic solids and viscous liquids, because these are the two main behaviours of rocks, from the cold and low pressure surface of the Earth to its very high temperature and very high pressure core. I will show, using analogies and materials, the behaviour of elastic, viscous and mixed visco-elastic materials like rocks. To finalize this introduction, I will discuss the forces acting in the Earth’s interior, and their effects. Based on this knowledge of rock behaviour and forces, we will travel from the Earth’s surface down to the core, through its main layers and their mineral and mechanical properties, and along the most dynamic settings of the Earth’s interior in the framework of Plate Tectonics: mantle convection, subduction zones, continental and oceanic rifts, and unstable topographic reliefs. In the end I will show movies of numerical models of some fundamental processes related to Plate Tectonics.


About the speaker: Fernando Ornelas Marques got his PhD in Geodynamics from the University of Lisbon, where he currently is Assistant Professor with Habilitation. His main areas of research are in Tectonics, Tectonophysics and Geodynamics, aiming to contribute to a better understanding of the way the Earth works. He uses modelling (experimental and numerical) as a tool to investigate the Physics governing geological processes still not well understood, at all scales, from the millimetres (e.g. the behaviour of rigid bodies in flowing high viscosity fluids) to the thousands of kilometres (e.g. subduction initiation). For several years now, he has been a member of the Editorial Board of the prestigious scientific journal Tectonophysics, from Elsevier. He is currently the Head of Research Project MEGAHazards2, dedicated to investigate the instability of oceanic volcanic islands (Hawaii, Azores, Canaries and Cape Verde), their destruction by large-scale landslides, and the generation of tsunamis.

Organised by the Institute of Science and Environment, University of Saint Joseph l Rua de Londres 16, Macau, China