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November 1, 2000


Contact: Tim Woodhull




California State University, Dominguez Hills, professor to address Geological Society of America on latest research

A faculty member at California State University, Dominguez Hills has been invited to present his latest research to the 112th annual session of the Geological Society of America, meeting in Reno, Nevada.

Brendan McNulty, professor of Earth Sciences at CSU Dominguez Hills, will present his research to the session November 16 at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center.

McNulty’s field of study is the outer shell of the earth, which is comprised of strong rigid plates of rock known as "lithosphere" that are up to 60 miles thick. These plates of lithosphere move around the Earth and often collide with each other, causing one plate to sink beneath another in a process known as "subduction."

Subduction occurs all along the portion of earth known as the "Ring of Fire," which includes the Pacific Coast of South America, Japan, and Alaska, influencing the geology of eastern Asia and the Pacific rim of North and South America.

Understanding subduction helps in the development of safety measures in regions prone to earthquakes. Construction standards and building codes, for example, are predicated on principles of subduction.

McNulty has been studying subduction that dates back 100 million years in the Sierra Nevada mountain chain in California, and has spent considerable time on-site in the

Peruvian Andes studying the phenomenon there.

The presentation by McNulty and Daniel Farber, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, at the GSA meeting is entitled, "Detachment Faults in the Peruvian Andes: Riedel Shears to a Flat Slab?" It will focus on Peru’s distinctive geology created by subduction beneath South America, and should be of special interest to persons interested in geodynamics, geophysics, seismology, structural geology, and petrology.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Brendan McNulty, professor, Earth Sciences, at (310) 243-3412, or Tim Woodhull, director, Media Relations, (310) 243-3367.