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What Caused the Disaster in Japan?: An Open Forum with IUP Faculty

In response to the natural and man-made disasters that unfolded in Japan over the weekend, the Geoscience Department will sponsor an open forum for the university community on Tuesday, March 15 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Weyandt Hall, Room 32 Eberly Auditorium.

IUP faculty experts will explain the scientific elements of this catastrophic event and answer questions.

Dr. Jon Lewis of the Geoscience Department will lead off with “The Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011: A Great Earthquake Primer for the IUP Community.” Dr. Lewis studies the seismicity of subduction zones and has done field work and ocean drilling near the site of the recent earthquake.

Dr. Katie Farnsworth of the Geoscience Department will follow up with a summary of what tsunamis are and how coastal topography shapes their impact. Dr. Farnsworth is the author of a recently-published book about the interaction of rivers and coasts around the world.

Dr. V.J. Wijekumar of the Physics Department will tell us how Japan’s nuclear reactors work and what a core melt-down really means for the region. Dr. Wijekumar is an expert in experimental nuclear physics and has done research at IUP in nuclear physics, radiation safety, and weapons of mass destruction.

Other IUP faculty members have been invited to join the forum and may also give presentations about the disaster. All presentations will be short (15–20 minutes), allowing plenty of time for questions and panel discussion afterward.

Attendance vouchers will be provided for students so this event can be assigned as a class activity.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Dr. Karen Rose Cercone at 412-373-1334 or kcercone@iup.edu.

  • Geoscience Department
  • Walsh Hall, Room 111
    302 East Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2379
  • Fax: 724-357-6208
  • Office Hours
  • Mon.–Fri.: 8:00 a.m.–noon
  • No afternoon hours