This event took place on Thursday 23 May 2019.

A Public Research Lecture series event

Changing the world one person at a time

Earthquakes occur across the globe regularly and with varying intensities, from minor tremors that you can’t feel through to headline-grabbing destructive quakes.

  • In the UK we rarely experience earthquakes, however many areas of the world are frequently affected by seismic activity that alters the way they live and build communities, as well as the geography of the land around them.
  • Researching the geological changes caused by earthquakes allows for another perspective on seismic activity, where information on earthquake events can be gathered to broaden our understanding of recent events, through to millions of years ago.
  • The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake was a magnitude 7.8 quake in the South Island of New Zealand, and has been described as the 'most complex earthquake ever studied'. It is considered the world-record holder for the greatest number of faults to rupture in a single earthquake event, and has led the scientific community to reassess the way they look at earthquake hazards.

Following major earthquake activity, the questions are often raised – can earthquakes be predicted? What are the hazards, and how can you stay safe when faced with one?

Join Dr Sarah Boulton, Associate Professor in Active Neotectonics, for an informative talk and Q&A as she shares her insight into the behaviour and impacts of earthquakes. Sarah will draw from her own research and that of colleagues at the university, as well as her first-hand experiences including the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

Taking you on an informative journey from the very foundations of what earthquakes are and why they happen, Sarah will discuss why it is important to study earthquakes and active tectonics from a geological perspective and how this is done from short (days to years) to long (millions of years) timescales. She will explore diverse techniques spanning fluvial geomorphology, isotope dating, field mapping through to coulomb stress modelling.

Her fascinating talk also outlines some of the key hazard and safety information on what to do if you experience an earthquake, particularly if visiting countries with a higher risk of seismic activity than the UK such as Italy, Greece and Turkey.

All are welcome to the University of Plymouth's Public Research Lecture series, to hear the fascinating – and often surprising – talks from leading experts and their perspectives of our world through a research lens.

This event is open to the public and free to attend. We recommend reserving your place using the above link to guarantee a seat.

Centre for Research in Earth Sciences (CRES)

The Centre for Research in Earth Sciences (CRES) at the University of Plymouth brings together an outstanding research team that spans the spectrum of Earth science disciplines from structural geology, palaeomagnetism, volcanoes, landslides and geomorphology to the evolution of life on Earth.

The mission of CRES is to provide an environment that fosters and promotes high quality, novel and interdisciplinary research in earth sciences and a platform for international-level research training in this field.

Find out more about the research taking place in CRES

Aerial shot of an active volcano.
Pupils from Glen Park Primary School at a lecture entitled 'Why do Volcano's Errupt?' held as part of National Science Week.

Building resilience to natural hazards

Find out about how University of Plymouth researchers are building resilience to volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding.

Read about our work on natural hazards

Sustainable Earth Institute 

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.

We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. 

We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

Find out more about the institute

<p>Baobab tree in Madagascar</p>
Roland Levinsky Building at night