Geologist to talk about geysers, volcanoes

Susan Kieffer will present Saturday on the topic of geologic nozzles and what they have in common with rapids on the Colorado River.

PORT TOWNSEND — Susan Kieffer will describe what eruptions of Old Faithful Geyser and Mount St. Helens in 1980 have in common with rapids on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon during a geological talk at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The talk is sponsored by the Jefferson Land Trust’s Geology Group and is free and open to the public, although a $5 donation will be asked at the fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave.

Kieffer will discuss how some fundamental nozzle concepts from aeronautics govern flow patterns in three geologic nozzles, which can be rapid agents of change in the geologic record.

She is a geologist and planetary scientist of international renown.

Her research on fluid dynamics of volcanoes, geysers and rivers and her model of the thermodynamic properties of complex minerals have been widely acknowledged. She has also contributed to the scientific understanding of meteorite impacts.

Kieffer has worked with the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Ariz., and was affiliated with both Arizona State University and Cal Tech.

She went on to head the Geological Sciences Department at the University of British Columbia.

She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a 1995 MacArthur Fellow, and was awarded the Penrose Medal by the Geological Society of America in 2014 and is currently the Charles R. Walgreen Jr. Professor Emeritia at the University of Illinois.

Susan recently moved to Whidbey Island, where she is retired but still actively engaged in scientific writing, research and education.

Her most recent book, titled “The Dynamics of Disaster,” was published by W.W. Norton in 2014.

Kieffer hosts a blog called Geology in Motion.

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