VISITING SCIENTIST PROGRAM
Earthquakes, Mountains, and the Geologic History of the Pacific
Dr. Catherine Townsend
Senior Regional Geologist
Seattle The 2001 Nisqually earthquake
shook the very foundation of the Pacific Northwest. A sudden movement
of the Pacific seafloor, 50 kilometers beneath south Puget Sound,
sent shockwaves racing in all directions. It took only 40 seconds
of surface vibration to cause 400 injuries and $2 billion dollars
in damages in Western Washington and Oregon. This cataclysmic event
serves as a stark reminder of the geologic motion that has created
and continues to shape the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Catherine Townsend, Senior Regional Geologist at the Burke
Museum, will speak to groups, classrooms, and members of the public
about the formation of Washington State, in conjunction with the
traveling exhibit The Big One: Earthquakes in
the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Townsend is an award-winning teacher
and researcher with special interest in how the mountain systems
of North America were formed. She has studied regional geologic
history across North America from the Appalachians to Alaska.
Before joining the Burke Museum in 1999, Cathy was Associate Professor
of Geology at the University of Alaska, where she was an award-winning
teacher and chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics. She
is currently working on a comprehensive website which provides a
detailed geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, which will be
incorporated as a long-term addition to the Burke Museums
respected online educational resources.
Dr. Townsends engaging presentations as the Burkes
Visiting Scientist are designed to place recent earthquakes into
the context of the fascinating geological history of this region.
This unique, community outreach component of the Burkes current
project, The Big One: Earthquakes in the Pacific
Northwest, has been made possible by a grant from the National
For a schedule of Dr. Townsends presentations, please contact
Betsy Blinks at 206-543-2784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Relations Manager