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Tuesday, June 16 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
How the World’s Largest Volcano was Built

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Tamu Massif, a 120,000 square mile feature on the seafloor southeast of Japan, is the largest single volcano on the planet, but the processes that created it remain mysterious. Learn how the University of Houston’s Dr. William Sager and his colleagues plan to make high-resolution sonar images of the area’s bathymetry, while creating magnetic field maps with the use of a magnetometer aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel, Falkor this fall. Sager and his team of researchers will then look for characteristic patterns in the magnetic data they collect, which should reveal significant clues about how the volcano formed and its internal structure. 

At the time of an eruption, iron atoms in volcanic rock aligned themselves with the Earth’s magnetic orientation, which has reversed at various times throughout geological history. That iron orientation can be determined using magnetometer data, offering clues as to when certain rocks and formations were shaped. Interestingly, Tamu Massif formed during a time of geomagnetic reversal, which makes it much easier to distinguish its history in the oceanic crust. Answering the fundamental questions about Tamu Massif will help scientists better understand how oceanic plateaus form and the key interactions between volcanoes and mid-ocean ridges. Find out how you and your students can use this ultimate Earth science content to create maps and analyze data alongside Dr. Sager’s team during the upcoming school year.

avatar for William Sager, Ph.D.

William Sager, Ph.D.

Professor of Geophysics, University of Houston
Research Interests | Marine geophysics, High-resolution marine geophysics, Plate tectonics, Paleomagnetism, Geomagnetic reversal time scale, Magnetic anomaly analysis, Gravity anomaly analysis, Continental margin geology and geophysics.

Tuesday June 16, 2015 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Wedgwood Main Floor

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