Philosophical Society of Washington

Plate Tectonics and World Volcanism

Michael P. Ryan
U.S. Geological Survey

2229th Meeting Abstract
Friday, November 30, 2007 at 8:15 PM


Earth is a restless and dynamic planet whose tectonic plates are in relative movement at about the rate of fingernail growth. Surface expressions of these strains include the great belts of earthquakes and volcanoes along plate edges. This lecture will explore several key areas where the dynamics are revealed: Hawaii, Japan, Iceland and the High Cascades. The presentation will include computer animations of volcanic and earthquake activity through time. The lecture will show how plates and volcanoes work and the role they play in our world. Topics will include eruptions at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii and at Mt. St. Helens, Washington.

About the Author:

Michael Ryan is a Research Volcanologist and Research Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. He has conducted theoretical and field studies in active volcanic centers in Japan, in Iceland, in Hawaii and in the High Cascades of Washington and Oregon over the past 34 years. His research interests include magma migration mechanics and the fracture flow of hydrothermal fluids in active and ancient volcanic centers.

He received his Ph.D. from Penn State in 1977. He had a Smithsonian post-doctoral Fellowship (1977-78) and taught geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaii from 1978 to 1981. He has been with the U.S. Geological Survey since 1981.

He is the author of 92 scientific reports and articles and is the author or editor of three books on the nature of silicate melts and magma transport in active volcanic centers. He has given over 100 lectures at universities, research institutes, volcano observatories, and civic associations in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Iceland.

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