USGS: Wesson on Darwin the geologist

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Scientist Emeritus Lecture Series
Darwin’s First Theory: Exploring Darwin’s Quest to Find a Theory of the Earth
Rob Wesson, USGS Scientist Emeritus
1:00 P.M., February 6, 2018
Most people know about Charles Darwin as the father of evolution, but what they don’t know is that his assignment on the HMS Beagle was as expedition geologist, to examine and interpret Earth features, not to study flora and fauna. Darwin’s seminal role in explaining the ups and downs of the Earth’s crust is the story told in Rob Wesson’s book, Darwin’s First Theory, and it is the fascinating story he will share with us in this lecture. Rob retraced Darwin’s steps in South America, Scotland, and Wales, and tackled the same questions about geologic processes that Darwin did. Rob explores the way Darwin conceived his theory of subsidence and uplift and how the concepts of the vastness of time, enormous impact of extremely slow change, and constant change in the environment all coalesced to form the foundation for Darwin’s subsequent discoveries in evolution.
Rob is an earth scientist, who as a kid, and an adult, has always loved a good story. His USGS career spanned four decades, and he continues geologic research as Scientist Emeritus. He is currently working with a team exploring the large earthquakes, tsunamis, and associated tectonics of Chile.