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Q&A with Harold Tobin, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Harold Tobin aboard the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth, conducting a marine seismic reflection survey of the Cascadia Subduction Zone off Washington’s coast.

Earthquake expert Harold Tobin joined the UW this fall as professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. While he comes from a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin, he’s no stranger to the risks posed by offshore faults like the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the source of our “big one.” UW News sat down with Tobin to learn a bit more about his research, experience and plans for the UW-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, a coalition among the U.S. 

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NSF awards contract to carry OOI into the next decade and beyond

The School of Oceanography's Deb Kelley in the control room at the UW.

The National Science Foundation announced that it has awarded a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations a five-year, $220 million contract to operate and maintain the Ocean Observatories Initiative. The coalition, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with direction from the NSF and guidance from the OOI Facilities Board, will include the University of Washington, Oregon State University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 

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Harold Tobin named director of Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Harold Tobin, the new director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and professor in Earth and Space Sciences

The College of the Environment is pleased to announce that Harold Tobin has been named director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and professor within the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. Tobin will start his new position at the University of Washington on September 1, 2018. Tobin’s research involves interdisciplinary and integrative studies of subduction zone processes, with a focus on fault mechanics and seismic structure. 

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Department of Earth and Space Sciences welcomes new Chair, Ken Creager

Earth and Space Sciences' Ken Creager

The University of Washington’s College of the Environment is pleased to announce that Professor Ken Creager will serve as Chair of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences for a two-year term that began on July 1, 2018. During the search process, Creager — who has served in a number of leadership roles within Earth and Space Sciences and is regarded as a trusted, respected leader within the Department and College — emerged as the Advisory Search Committee’s top choice to lead the Department in the coming years. 

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A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core

Laura Kehrl on a hike near McMurdo Station while waiting for a flight to the Allan Hills area.

Ice cores offer a window into the history of Earth’s climate. Layers of ice reveal past temperatures, and gases trapped in bubbles reveal past atmospheric composition. The oldest continuous ice core so far comes from Dome C in East Antarctica and extends back 800,000 years. But a tantalizing clue recently offered the possibility to go back even further. A collaborative study between the University of Washington and the University of Maine now pinpoints a location where an entire million years of undisturbed ice might be preserved intact. 

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