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Pomona College Geology Department Hosts Talks on Earthquake Possibilities in Southern California

Geologist Doug Yule ’83, professor at Cal State Northridge, will deliver the Pomona College Geology Department’s 34 th Annual Woodford-Eckis Lectures on the topic of earthquakes along the southern San Andreas Fault. His first talk, “Great Earthquakes on the Southern San Andreas Fault: How Large, How Frequent?” will be given on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 8:15 p.m. The second lecture, “Paleoseismology of the San Andreas Fault System at San Gorgonio Pass,” will be held on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. Both talks will be held in Rose Hills Theater (Smith Campus Center, 170 E. Sixth St., Claremont).

In his first talk, Yule will summarize the rupture history of the fault from either side of San Gorgonio Pass and focus on new results from faulting within the pass to examine the potential for great earthquakes on the southern San Andreas Fault. Three major earthquakes in 1680, 1812 and 1857, ranging in magnitude from 7.0 to 7.9, have broken separate parts of the southern San Andreas Fault, reaching 350 miles from the Salton Sea to Parkfield. The only unbroken stretch of the fault during this time is a 50-mile section centered on San Gorgonio Pass, a region between San Bernardino and the northern Coachella Valley.

In his second lecture, Yule will discuss the rupture history and behavior in the San Gorgonio Pass, the fault’s most structurally complex location. He will present evidence for large five large earthquakes in the last 5,000 years, with the most recent earthquake occurring in the 14th-15th century and talk about excavations of trenches at several locations across the fault. He will examine data that shows an average time period between earthquakes that is seven to 14 times longer than the average interval for neighboring sections of the San Andreas Fault.

Yule’s research focuses on finding evidence for large paleo-earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault system here in Southern California and the Main Frontal thrust system—the zone of collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates in India, Nepal and Pakistan. His research is field-based and involves active tectonics, structural geology and paleoseismology. Among the courses Yule teaches are Tectonic Evolution of Western North America, Earthquake Geology and Living with Earthquakes in Southern California.

Yule graduated from Pomona College with a degree in geology and went on to receive his master’s degree from University of Wyoming and his PhD from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at USC and Caltech, an exploration geologist for Union Pacific Resources Company, and a technician for the Pomona College geology department.

For more information, contact: lmk04747@pomona.edu or (909) 621-8675.

The Woodford-Eckis Lectureship, endowed by Rollin ’27 and Caroline Eckis, was initiated in 1980 in honor of Pomona College Geology Professor A.O. “Woody” Woodford, who founded the geology department in 1922 and taught until his retirement in 1955. His student Rollin Eckis established this annual lectureship to feature an outstanding geologist.

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