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GeoTalks webinar series

Join our researchers as they discuss the processes that shape our planet, natural environments, and why geoscience is important for our societies.

The GeoTalks webinar series is suitable for a diverse audience including the public, secondary school pupils and professionals.

We have postponed these lectures for the summer and will resume the rest of the series in autumn 2022. The new dates will be communicated as soon as possible.

Most of the lectures will be recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube playlist.

27/10/2021Dr Ake FagerengSilent earthquakes: What, where and why?

In recent decades, improved Earth observation technology has revealed a widespread phenomenon of 'slow' or 'silent' earthquakes. These events are similar to earthquakes in the deformation they cause at depth, but they are slower, less energetic, and not felt at the surface. This talk will discuss what these events are, where they occur, and current thoughts on why they happen.
17/11/2021Dr Diana Contreras MojicaSocial media, GIS and emergency response after earthquakes
Traditionally, earthquake impact assessments have been made through fieldwork or ground surveys. Social media (SM) and crowdsourcing platforms have recently become valuable tools for quickly collecting large amounts of first-hand data after a disaster. Nevertheless, extracting meaningful information from unstructured data is still an ongoing area of research. I use sentiment and topic analysis for the assessment of emergency response and post-disaster recovery assessment. Sentiment analysis (SA) is a natural language processing technique (NLP) technique applied to determine data polarity and topics addressed in the text data.
26/01/2022Maximiliaan JansenIt came from the abyss! Studying the formation of our oceans in an unlikely place

Hidden at the bottom of the oceans are the longest mountain ranges on Earth: a volcanic chain tens of thousands of kilometres long known as the mid-ocean ridges. These ridges are constantly creating new oceanic crust as the tectonic plates spread, and in the process are responsible for the formation of roughly two-thirds of the Earth's surface. Because they are so difficult to get to, we actually still know surprisingly little about these volcanic systems. Sometimes fragments of detached oceanic crust, known as ophiolites, are preserved on land and can give us clues about what is going on in the abyss. In this talk, I will explain what ophiolites are and what they can and can't tell us about the oceans.
23/02/2022Dr Liz BagshawImpacts of Greenland Ice Sheet Melt

The Greenland ice sheet is melting, and the flux of meltwater to the oceans has far-reaching consequences. In this talk, I’ll address some of the lesson-known biogeochemical and physical implications of increased ice sheet melt, and how it might evolve in the future.
27/04/2022Dr Samantha BuzzardLakes, rivers… and waterfalls? Surface melt on Antarctica’s ice shelves

Antarctica’s floating ice shelves are essential in regulating the flow of ice from Antarctica’s land to the Southern Ocean. Determining how melting ice on the surface of these ice shelves can impact their stability is essential in understanding how they will behave in the future, and how much Antarctica will affect the global sea level.
25/05/2022Ana Samperiz VizcainoTales from the reef: The impact of environmental change on corals

Corals, the tiny animals that build some of the largest living structures on Earth, are threatened by global warming, ocean acidification, water pollution and overfishing. In this webinar, we will dive into the reef to explore how coral scientists recover past environmental clues from long-lived corals, and why this information is important to understand how coral reefs will respond to future change.
08/06/2022Dr David BuchsExploring submerged volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean by deep-sea drilling

From 6 December 2021 to 5 February 2022, research vessel JOIDES Resolution will sail along the Walvis Ridge, a chain of submarine volcanoes that extends from southern Africa to the middle of the Atlantic. Several of these volcanoes will be drilled during this expedition by an international team of geoscientists to explore their origins and understand how they relate to the dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and the formation of the Atlantic Ocean. In this GeoTalk, David Buchs will speak about his recent experience as a member of the expedition, sharing some new findings from the poorly understood volcanoes of the Walvis Ridge.
TBCDr Michael SingerWater Security Challenges in the Horn of Africa Drylands

Water is fundamental to lives and livelihoods, and especially in water-limited dryland environments, where society has organized around specific rainfall seasons. As part of the large EU-funded project, DOWN2EARTH, addressing water and food insecurity in the Horn of Africa Drylands, this talk will discuss a combination of data analysis and modelling to improve our understanding of the societal challenges faced by rural populations under extreme climatic events (e.g., droughts) and long-term climate change.
TBCKimberly Marshall-MillsThe secret life of seashells: what can the biomineralization of giant clams tell us?

Seashells are like tree rings for the ocean. Just as trees have growth rings used for dating and to uncover information about past environments, shells have diverse growth lines and microstructures. In this talk, we’ll discover why giant clam shells are windows into the past and how this can help us better understand tropical coral reef habitats that may show resilience to climate change.
TBCDr Peter BrabhamAbandoned coal mines and future geothermal energy in the UK

The makeup of UK energy that we all use in our homes has radically changed over the past decade. We have seen the closure of coal-fired power stations and the construction of 10,000s of offshore and onshore wind turbines.  Other consistent green energy sources are also required to fill in the periods when the wind does not blow. Researchers are investigating the legacy of 1000s miles of water-filled tunnels and shafts left behind by the UK coal industry,  to see whether the warm water now trapped in these abandoned mines can be utilised as a geothermal energy source. Dr Brabham will discuss this mining legacy and talk about ongoing test projects in the UK and South Wales coalfields to use this energy.

Past events

The recorded webinars from the GeoTalks 2020 events can be viewed on our GeoTalks 2020 YouTube playlist or by selecting a lecture using the links below.

Aidan Starr

Iceberg Armadas in the Geological Past: An unlikely control on glacial climates

Off the coast of South Africa, tiny fragments of Antarctica can be found hidden in layers of deep-sea mud; relics of melting icebergs from the distant past. In this webinar, we will see how this surprising evidence is helping geologists, oceanographers, and climate scientists to better understand climate conditions during past ice ages.

Dr Ake Fagereng

Exploring the 'Silent Earthquakes' of the Pacific Rim

In this webinar, we will talk about a recently discovered class of 'silent earthquakes': what they are, and why they are exciting. The webinar will particularly draw on discoveries from a recent scientific ocean drilling expedition, for which more information is available on our expedition web pages.

Oliver Campbell

The Impact of Conflict: The Role of Geology in Heritage Conservation

What does a 13th century church in the South of England have in common with a Roman amphitheatre in Syria? And why are geologists shooting at rocks in a lab? Find out the answers and more in this webinar and on our heritage in the crossfire website.

Oliver Francis

Earthquakes, landslides and rain. The aftermath of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

Many of the largest earthquakes in the world happen in mountains. When these mountains shake big piles of rocks fall off and crush buildings and block rivers causing floods. After the earthquake towns begin to rebuild and recover however, a lot of the rocks remain on the mountainside and when it rains, they can move again. These rocks mix with the rain and rush down the mountainside and destroy roads and buildings that have just been repaired. In this talk we will investigate the landslides caused by the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China and what happened to them in the years that followed.

Jasmin Millar

Snowball Earth: Ice creatures of the deep past

Before the first animals evolved, micro-life survived on a completely frozen planet. In this webinar we'll explore how life survived approximately 100 million years of ice and show you why scientists travel to the poles today to understand the past.

Professor Thomas Blenkinsop

Minerals for the Green Economy

Making the transition to a green economy requires vast changes in the supply of minerals for society. Which minerals will we need? How much of them do we need? Have we got enough? These questions will be addressed in the webinar.

Dr Aditee Mitra

Mixoplankton – the unsung heroes of our oceans

Join us for the story of the mixoplankton. These unsung heroes have been mislabelled by scientists for over a century and sometimes even been called “freaks”! Yet, for millions of years these microscopic marine organisms have been looking after our planet, helping other life forms exist. For example, did you know that 50% of the oxygen that we breathe is produced by microscopic plankton in our oceans?

Dr Adam Beall

Does the Earth behave like a giant lava lamp? How Earth's mantle convects, shaping our planet

This webinar is a brief overview of how the Earth behaves like a giant lava lamp that drives plate tectonics and how scientists think the strong outer layer of the Earth fits into this picture.

Dr Michael Prior-Jones

Exploring the hidden plumbing of glaciers

Glaciers are made from ice, but often liquid water flows inside and underneath them. In this session, we’ll talk about how our “Cryoegg” probe uses new technology to help us explore the hidden “plumbing” underneath glaciers in Switzerland and Greenland.

Dr David Buchs

How the rise of the Isthmus of Panama helped shape the modern world

This webinar will take you to the jungle of Panama to find geological clues about the emergence of Panama, and will explain why this geological event helped create the world as we know it today. Learn more about research on the Isthmus of Panama at Cardiff University.

Niall Groome

The story of Avalonia: How England & Wales crashed into Scotland

This webinar will explore the origins of how the British Isles first joined together more than 400 million years ago, telling the story of how the ancient microcontinent of Avalonia (England and Wales) separated from Gondwana and eventually crashed into Laurentia (Scotland and North America).

Dr Marc-Alban Millet

CSI volcano: how do geologist unravel past volcanic eruptions

Volcanic eruptions are powerful geological events with potentially devastating effects. In this webinar, we will talk about how geologists study old eruptions to better understand how magma rises through the Earth's crust and erupts at the surface.

Dr Jack Williams

What can geology tell us about forecasting earthquake hazards? New insights from the East African Rift

In this webinar, we will explore how data from GPS stations in the East African Rift, and subtle clues in the rift's landscape and geology, can be combined to investigate the potential location and magnitude of its future earthquakes.

Professor Christopher MacLeod

Have we got plate tectonics wrong? A new view of seafloor spreading at slower-spreading mid-ocean ridges

Journey to the deepest oceans on the latest oceanographic research ships with Cardiff University's Prof Chris MacLeod, as he and fellow marine geologists question the textbook view of the fundamentals of plate tectonics: how new ocean crust is created by seafloor spreading at mid-ocean ridges. These underwater chains of volcanoes pave two-thirds of the planet yet are less well surveyed than the surface of Pluto. Learn how hard-won discoveries from the latest scientific expeditions at Earth's final frontier are leading to a new, very different view of seafloor spreading.

Events enquiries

For enquiries, please contact

Engagement Team