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Geology News

Donn Gorsline, Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at USC Dornsife, taught marine geology from 1962-98. Recognized as a major figure in his field, he is pictured here in 1986. Photo courtesy of USC University Archives.

In Memoriam: Donn Sherrin Gorsline, 88

June 3, 2015

Donn Sherrin Gorsline, Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at USC Dornsife, has died. He was 88. Gorsline died at his home in Los Angeles on May 27. Considered by many as the leading marine geologist of the latter half of…

A tsunami caused by the San Andreas? Nope. Image from <em>San Andreas</em> courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Experts: Quake Movie a Bit Shaky

June 2, 2015

The new disaster flick San Andreas takes a harsh look at what might happen if the largest earthquake in history struck the West Coast: crumbling skyscrapers, a towering tsunami and gaping gashes in the ground. But could it…

Freeway collapses were among the damage from the 1994 Northridge quake, caused by a previously unknown fault. Photo courtesy of FEMA, by Robert Eplett.

Little-known Faults

June 1, 2015

Beneath Los Angeles rise peaks of staggering height — an unnamed mountain range standing nearly 2 miles tall. Though they rival the San Gabriels in stature, you can’t see them: They’re hidden beneath…

Meghan Miller’s research looked at the ancient geologic record of Eastern Australia, but it is applicable to the Pacific Northwest in the United States, the Mediterranean and southeast Asia. Photo by John Livzey.

Solving a Geologic Riddle

March 26, 2014

USC Dornsife scientist Meghan Miller is among an international team of researchers who used computer modeling to reveal, for the first time, how giant swirls form during the collision of tectonic plates, with subduction zones…

A 22-year-old Greta Garbo poses with a USC track coach on campus in 1926. Photo courtesy of Charles Epting.

Bet You Didn’t Know

November 13, 2013

Remember in The Graduate, when a desperate Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman) sped to “northern California” in his beat-up Alfa Romeo Spider to find Elaine? USC stood in for the University of California,…

At times, students traveled by camel during their research trip this summer for the "Field Geology" course taught by Meghan Miller, assistant professor of earth sciences at USC Dornsife. Photo courtesy of Meghan Miller.

Shaking it up in Morocco

July 31, 2013

The dusty Land Cruiser bumped and rumbled along the Moroccan desert floor as our caravan approached the village of Merzouga under the light of a waxing moon.  A long day of travel behind us, the dunes in the distance…

University Professor Thomas Jordan of USC Dornsife with his 2012 Outstanding Contribution to the Public Understanding of the Geosciences Award during a Nov. 4 ceremony in North Carolina. Photo courtesy of the American Geosciences Institute.

Tom Jordan Earns AGI Award

November 6, 2012

University Professor Thomas Jordan, W. M. Keck Foundation Chair in Geological Sciences and professor of earth sciences, has won the 2012 Outstanding Contribution to the Public Understanding of the Geosciences Award. Jordan,…

USC Dornsife junior and senior geology majors in Malaga, Spain. Photo courtesy of John Platt.

Spain Rocks

July 13, 2012

For some people, rocks are those pesky objects that sometimes find their way into your shoes. But for aspiring geologists, who study how rocks came to be, the aggregate of minerals provide a looking glass into the past. Was…

USC Dornsife alumna Sarah Greene, who earned a Ph.D. in geological studies in 2011, and Rowan Martindale, a doctoral candidate in earth sciences, contributed to a recent study that looks at geological records for evidence that mass extinction events may have been caused by ocean acidification.

Earth's Past Is Warning for the Future

March 6, 2012

When the Earth’s carbon dioxide level increased at a rapid rate during the Triassic-Jurassic period 200 million years ago, nearly half the ocean’s marine life became extinct. USC Dornsife geologists contributed to…

Cool Science

Cool Science

August 12, 2010

At the bottom of the Earth — the planet's coldest, driest, windiest place — the sky radiates a lavender-yellow hue in the midnight sun.  Whiter than milk, the blanket of ice seems infinite. Amid the…