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Category: GeekPortland
Venue/Location: Mission Theater, 1624 N.W. Glisan St., Phone: (503) 224-0166
Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 7:00 PM

OMSI Science Pub:
Urban Landslides: A Slippery Challenge for the Forensic Geologist

Presenter: Scott Burns, PhD, professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University

Admission: $5.00 suggested cover charge
21 and over, or minor with adult

Oregon is very prone to landslides because of steep slopes, periodic high rainfall events, and earthquakes. Scott Burns, an expert in the study of landslides, uses many examples from the Portland area to explain how geologists and engineers study landslides to help prevent them. Landslides are not covered by normal homeowner’s insurance. If a landslide hits a house or if the house slides down a hill, there is no insurance help. Find out how and why landslides happen, and what areas to avoid when the rain starts.

Scott Burns, PhD, is a professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University where he has been for over 21 years. Scott specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and Quaternary geology. In Oregon, he has projects involving landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, the Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon generation from soils, and the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in Oregon soils and alpine soil development. He has won many awards for outstanding teaching including the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Portland State Alumni Association in 2001 and the George Hoffmann Award from PSU in 2007. He has authored over 90 publications and has had over 25 research grants. He actively helps local TV and radio stations and newspapers bring important geological news to the public and, for the past 40 years, he has been studying wine and terroir—the relationship between wine, soils, geology, and climate.

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