A scientific eye: geophysical imagery of the Earth and planets

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A public lecture by Dr Sue Bowler.


The Astronomer Royal, Edmond Halley, was one of the first people to set geophysical information out on a map, when in 1700 he plotted the variations in the Earth's magnetic field across the Atlantic Ocean. Halley's map was made to aid navigation, and geophysical information continues to be both useful and informative today. We use satellite images to find mineral deposits, and to monitor natural hazards such as volcanoes and tsunamis. Geophysical imagery also reveals where to find hydrocarbon deposits, and helps in their efficient exploitation. This talk will outline some of the ways in which geophysical images have been used in research and exploration, from the beginnings of plate tectonic theory to the discovery of active volcanoes in the solar system, not forgetting their ability to show what is happening in the depths of the Earth.


Sue Bowler is the Editor of the Royal Astronomical Society's magazine 'Astronomy & Geophysics' and teaches at the University of Leeds.


Website: www.ras.org.uk