The MedGU-23 Committees have invited and also received requests from renowned distinguished geoscientists from over the world to offer plenaries on cross-cutting themes of Earth and planetary sciences, with a primary focus on the Conference Tracks. We wish to express gratitude to the following scholars who have agreed to serve as plenary speakers:

Track 1. Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology, Climatology, Oceanography

  • Mansour Almazroui

    Mansour Almazroui

    Founding Director, Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Founding Editor, Earth Systems and Environment
    scopus preview

    Mansour Almazroui is a Full Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Climate Change from University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK in 2006. Professor Almazroui was the founder and Director of the Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research (CECCR) at the King Abdulaziz University. He was the Head of the Department of Meteorology in King Abdulaziz University from 2008 to 2020. Professor Almazroui is working as a Consultant, National Meteorological Center (NCM), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is the Member of the Board of Directors of the Center of Excellence for Climate Change, Cairo, Egypt and also the same for the Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah Saudi Arabia. He was the Consultant, General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (GAMEP), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is the fellow of Climatic Research Unit in East Angelia University. He is the Lead Author, Chapter 10, IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), Working Group I, 2018-2021. He also the Contributing Author of Chap 11 and Atlas of IPCC AR6, Working Group I, 2018-2021. Professor Almazroui attracted research projects from home and abroad. In addition, he has a collaborator in several international research institutes from Belgium, Germany, UK, Italy, South Korea and USA. He is a reviewer of many leading international journals. He established two international journals where King Abdulaziz University is a partner, one is “Earth Systems and Environment” publishing by Springer and the other is “npj Climate and Atmospheric Science” publishing by Nature. He published more than 140 peer–reviewed scientific articles on climate and climate change. His current research focuses are weather and climate variability, climate change and its impact on the environment, water resources and agriculture. He is interested in detecting climate change signals and future climate change in the Middle East using the state-of-the-art Global Climate Models (GCMs) and Regional Climate Models (RCMs). He is also interested in studying large-scale circulation patterns affecting local climatic elements and extremes in Saudi Arabia as well as neighbouring countries and their relationship to large-scale teleconnections (e.g. NAO, ENSO).

    In his plenary, Professor Almazroui will talk about “Climate Change in the Arab Region: Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategies.” He will also introduce to MedGU participants “Earth Systems and Environment,” a journal that he established at KAU and is published now by Springer. The journal achieved an unprecedented success in the Arab world and the Middle East region, obtaining an Impact Factor 7.2 and a CiteScore 15 in a few years following its inception in 2017.

  • Zhihua Zhang

    Zhihua Zhang

    Taishan Distinguished Professor, Shandong University, China.
    scopus preview

    Zhihua Zhang is a Taishan Distinguished Professor at Shandong University (China) and is leading an interdisciplinary big data mining research group. His long-standing researches focus on big earth data, climate change mechanisms, ocean dynamics, environmental evolution and sustainability. Recently, Prof Zhang’s researches have highlighted many times by New Scientist (UK), China Science Daily, and China Social Science Daily, and his four monographs published in Elsevier and Springer have been used widely in 60 countries around the world. Currently, Prof. Zhang is serving as an Editor-in-Chief of Int J Big Data Mining for Global Warming (World Scientific); a Chief Editor of Arab J Geosci (Springer); an Associate Editor of Environ Dev Sustain (Springer), EURASIP J Adv Signal Process (Springer), and Int J Climate Change Strat & Manag (Emerald); a Topical Editor of Big Earth Data (Taylor); and an Editorial Board Member of Earth Sci Informatics (Springer), PLoS ONE, Open Geosci (DeGruyter), Int J Global Warming (Indersci).

    In his plenary, Professor Zhang will talk about “high-accuracy high-resolution climate maps.” Many developing countries are always extremely vulnerable to climate change due to their rain-fed agriculture and weak industry basis. Sparse and irregular climate observations in these countries are not enough to satisfy the need to assess climate change risks and plan suitable mitigation strategies, so high-accuracy high-resolution climate maps are urgently needed. The simplest approach is through interpolation techniques, but the resulting climate maps often contain obviously unrealistic parallel ripples or ring-like structures. With the rapid development of global climate models, the wide-used statistical downscaling model (SDSM) software can produce high-resolution climate maps by extracting linear links between large-scale and local climate factors. Due to ignoring complex nonlinear non-stationary interactions, the SDSM has limited improvement in accuracy. The deep learning techniques (SRCNN, SRGAN) can extract nonlinear interactions, but they can only utilize gridded observation data as model inputs, and computational cost is high. Our recently proposed hybrid network techniques are to embed several networks into a new network. Since they can well utilize the connections among sparse observed climate factors, our hybrid network techniques can generate nice high-accuracy high-resolution climate maps directly from sparse and irregular observation data.

Track 2. Biogeochemistry, Geobiology, Geoecology, Geoagronomy

More details will be posted soon.

Track 3. Earthquake Seismology and Geodesy

  • Longjun Dong

    Longjun Dong

    Dean of Department of Safety Science and Safety Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, China
    Fellow of Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, UK (FIMMM)
    Chief Editor of Earthquake Seismology and Geodesy, Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    Associate Editor, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Express Letters (JASA-EL)
    Editorial Board Member, Safety Science, Scientific Reports
    scopus preview

    Longjun Dong received his Ph.D. degree from the School of Resources and Safety Engineering, Central South University in Changsha, China. From 2012 to 2013, he was an Assistant Researcher at the Australia Center for Geomechanics of The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. He is currently a Professor and Dean of the Department of Safety Science and Safety Engineering at Central South University. He has authored more than 170 papers published in conference proceedings and journals. He holds 30 patents. His current research interests include engineering seismicity, applied geophysics, engineering acoustics, rock/mineral mechanics, and non-destructive evaluation. He manages a project supported by the National Science Foundation for Excellent Young Scholars of China in 2018. He is a senior member of IEEE, a member of ASCE and ISRM, and a Fellow of Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, UK. He was selected for the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by the China Association for Science and Technology. He has served as a Reviewer of more than 30 journals. He serves as the Chief Editor – Section 3 of the Arabian Journal of Geosciences, and as Editorial Board Member / Associate Editor of Safety Science, JASA-EL, Scientific Reports, Journal Safety in Extreme Environments, and Shock and Vibration.

    In his plenary, Professor Dong will talk about the application of rock multi-source acoustics in monitoring and preventing engineering earthquakes. Mining activities can induce stress disturbances and deformations in underground rock masses. The accumulation and release of abnormal energy, particularly with increasing mining depth, can lead to engineering seismic disasters. Such induced seismic disasters in engineering projects often contain valuable information about the internal damage evolution processes within rock masses. This real-time information reflects the health condition of the rock masses during the mining process, which is crucial for monitoring, preventing, and controlling seismic disasters in mining engineering. Rock multi-source acoustic monitoring technology, which captures and analyzes signals generated by internal fracture activity and external disturbance sources, serves as a powerful tool for dynamically monitoring internal rock damage. This talk will introduce a kind of novel application for rock multi-source acoustics. It overcomes the technical limitations of traditional monitoring methods, such as "point" and "line" monitoring, and achieves a transformation towards "field" and "volume" monitoring and identification.

Track 4. Environmental Earth Sciences

  • Imran Ali

    Imran Ali

    Professor at: Department of Chemistry, Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), New Delhi, India
    scopus preview

    Imran Ali, Ph.D., FRSC, C Chem, London (UK), Highly Cited Researcher, Clarivate, USA and with 11 Global ranks in Analytical Chemistry (Chromatography), as per the Stanford University, USA (Global list of top 2% scientists); is a world-recognized academician and researcher. He completed his Ph.D. at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India. Prof. Ali is known globally due to his great contribution to pharmaceuticals analysis by chromatography and capillary electrophoresis, the development of anticancer drugs, nanotechnology for water treatment, and water splitting for hydrogen green fuel generation. He has published more than 500 papers in reputed journals including papers in Nature and Chemical Reviews of more than 72 impact factors. He has also written six books published by Marcel Dekker, Inc., USA; Taylor & Francis, USA; John Wiley & Sons, USA; John Wiley & Sons, UK; Elsevier, The Netherlands, and Springer, Germany. His total citation is 37,550 with an h-index of 106 and i10-index of 325. He is a member of various scientific societies globally. He has been co-chair of a conference on the application of graphene, chaired many conference sessions, and delivered several keynote lectures. He is a widely traveled person enjoying various visiting Professor/Consultant positions in many Universities around the world.

    In his plenary, Professor Ali will talk about the role of graphene in a future sustainable and green environment. The demand for a green and sustainable environment is increasing continuously due to the stressed pressure of industries, population, and modern civilization. Our climate is going to change continuously with the increase of atmospheric temperature, emission of carbon and huge pollution. We have to control several factors to attain a green and sustainable environment and for this, the application of graphene may be highly useful. Graphene is considered the material of the 21st century. The proposed plenary lecture will highlight the importance of graphene use to attain a green and sustainable environment. The applications of graphene will include the global energy crisis, energy management, safe water problems, removal of carbon from the air, aerogels, and phase change materials. Besides, efforts will be made to discuss future challenges and perspectives.

Track 5. Applied & Theoretical Geophysics

More details will be posted soon.

Track 6. Geo-Informatics and Remote Sensing

  • Georgiy Stenchikov

    Georgiy Stenchikov

    King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia
    scopus preview

    Georgiy Stenchikov graduated with distinction from Moscow Physical-Technical Institute in 1973. He completed his Ph.D. in the Numerical and Analytical Study of Weak Plasma Turbulence at the Moscow Physical-Technical Institute in 1977. Afterward, he headed a department at the USSR Academy of Sciences, which used computational analysis to carry out crucial early research into the impact of humans on Earth’s climate and the climatic consequences of nuclear war. From 1992 until 1998, Dr. Stenchikov worked at the University of Maryland in the USA, after which he held a position as a Research Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences of Rutgers University for over a decade. Since 2009, he has been a Professor and a Chair (until 2021) of the Earth Sciences and Engineering Program at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. His work has brought significant advances in climate modeling, atmospheric physics, fluid dynamics, radiation transfer, and environmental sciences. Prof. Stenchikov contributed to the Nobel Prize-winning report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC-AR4 of 2007. For his work on climate impact modeling, Prof. Stenchikov was awarded a Prize from the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union. In 2022, he received the Future of Life Institute award for developing and popularizing the science of nuclear winter.

    In his plenary, Professor Stenchikov Iwill focus on desert regions like the Middle East (ME), where dust has a profound impact on the environment, climate, air quality, and solar devices. Dust deposition (DD) measurements show that coarse dust particles with geometric radius r > 10 μm comprise most of the deposited mass. Still, these particles are not represented in the current models that are tuned to fit the observed aerosol visible optical depth (AOD). As a result, the existing models and reanalysis products underestimate DD and dust emission (DE) almost three times. This is the first study to constrain the dust simulations by both AOD and DD measurements to quantify the effect of coarse and fine dust using the WRF-Chem model. We found that, on average, coarse dust contributes less than 10% to dust shortwave (SW) radiative forcing (RF) at the surface but comprises more than 70% of DE. Annual mean net RF over the Arabian Peninsula and regional seas locally reaches -25 W m-2. Airborne fine dust particles with radii r < 3 μm are mainly responsible for the significant dimming (5-10%) of solar radiation, cooling the surface and hampering solar energy production. However, dust mass deposition is primarily linked to coarse particles. Therefore, incorporating coarse dust in model simulations and data assimilation would improve the overall description of the dust mass balance and its impact on environmental systems and solar devices.

Track 7. Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, Volcanology, Planetology

  • David R Lentz

    David R Lentz

    UNB Research Chair in Economic Geology Dept of Earth Sciences, University of New Brunswick, Canada
    scopus preview

    David Lentz received his BSc Honours (1983) and MSc (1986) degrees in geology from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton. He completed a PhD (1992) at the University of Ottawa and then worked with the Geological Survey of Canada for three years. In 1994, Lentz joined the New Brunswick Geological Survey as their mineral deposits geologist. Since 2000, he has held the Research Chair in Economic Geology at UNB, with a research focus on the petrogenesis of ore deposits, in particular magmatic hydrothermal systems. He is also Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine and Trinity College Dublin. Dave is the 2020-2023 International Association on the Genesis of Ore Deposits’ (IAGOD) Distinguished Lecturer.

    In his plenary, Professor Lentz will talk about the various hypotheses for the origin of Iron Ore-Copper-Gold (IOCG) & Iron Ore-Apatite deposit, which are considered quite controversial. He will use modern analogues that are not well understood, and understudied to help build a better understanding of these complex ore systems.

Track 8. Geological Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering

  • Philipp Blum

    Philipp Blum

    Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany.
    scopus preview

    Philipp Blum (born in 1972) is a Professor of Engineering Geology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. In 2000 he received his MSc degree in Applied Geology at the former University of Karlsruhe (now KIT). In 2003 he obtained his PhD in Earth Sciences on “coupled hydro-mechanical processes in fractured rocks” at the University of Birmingham, UK. Afterwards he was working for engineering consultancy. In 2006 he joined the University of Tübingen (Germany) as an assistant professor. Since 2010 he heads the engineering geologyresearch group at the KIT. He published more than 150 scientific papers on various topics in applied geology. His research interests are coupled processes in porous and fractured rocks. At present we investigate on aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems and other geothermal systems.

    In his plenary, Professor Blum will talk about the cooling and heating with geothermal energy. Decarbonizing the heating and cooling sector is crucial for reducing our global CO2 emissions. One promising option for environmental friendly energy supply in buildings is the use of shallow geothermal energy (SGE) (< 400 m depth) such as ground source heat pump (GSHP) and groundwater heat pump (GWHP) systems. Furthermore, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are typically intermittent in nature, which is why they are characterized by an abundant but limited instantaneous availability. Peak time shaving and shifting by thermal energy storage are therefore considered as a key to the transition of the heating and cooling sector from fossil-based to zero-carbon. To balance these temporal variations in the availability and demand, underground thermal energy storage (UTES) systems could be also used. In particular, aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems are characterized by high storage capacities and low storage costs and is, therefore, drawing growing attention worldwide. However, only little is known about global application and distribution of ATES systems. Hence, this talk will provide an overview of the present and future research and potential of shallow geothermal energy systems including the chances and risks of associated with ATES systems, which can play an important part in achieving our ambiguous climate targets.

Track 9. Geomorphology, Geography, Soil Science, Glaciology, Geoarchaeology, Geoheritage

More details will be posted soon.

Track 10. Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Hydrochemistry

More details will be posted soon.

Track 11. Marine Geosciences, Historical Geology, Paleoceanography, Paleoclimatology

  • Dorrik Stow

    Dorrik Stow

    Emeritus Professor, Consultant and Author
    Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    scopus preview

    Dorrik Stow is a world-renowned geologist and oceanographer. His read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, followed by a doctorate from Dalhousie University (Canada). He has worked in the oil industry and in different universities across Europe, North America, Japan and China. He is currently Emeritus Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and Distinguished Professor at the China University of Geoscience, Wuhan. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (Edinburgh), Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow, visiting fellow at Tokyo Gakugei University, and formerly Director of the Institute of Ge-Energy Engineering at Heriot Watt. He is a leading specialist in deepwater sedimentary systems, with a particular interest in turbidites, contourites, geo-hazards and resources. He has published over 300 scientific papers, numerous books and edited volumes. He has carried out scientific expeditions in all the world’s oceans and visited or worked in more than 50 countries. He is an enthusiastic proponent of popularising science through talks, articles, books and TV/radio broadcasts. His recent books include Encyclopedia of the Oceans, Vanished Ocean, and Oceans: A Very Short Introduction, all with Oxford University Press. A must-have for sedimentologists is his book Sedimentary Rocks in the Field: A Colour Guide, with CRC Press.

    In his plenary, Professor Stow will talk about “Heartbeat of the Earth.” If we could listen with a geological stethoscope to the Earth’s deep interior, we would detect a slow but strong heartbeat, often irregular but with a beat of about one million years repetition. Though driven from the core, this has a dramatic effect at the surface of the planet – volcanoes, earthquake clusters and massive submarine landslides, mountain building and even the behaviour of our magnetic shield. It is a beat that we are only just beginning to understand, and one that is too easily masked by white noise from a hundred and one other Earth processes, many of which show a remarkably regular cyclicity – the diurnal pulse of tides, the march of seasons, monsoonal rains and droughts, deep-ocean turmoil, ice ages and past climate change. This talk reveals the nature, causes and effects of some of the most curious and significant of these cycles.

Track 12. Numerical and Analytical Methods in Mining Sciences and Geomechanics

  • Murat Karakus

    Murat Karakus

    1. Associate Professor at School of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology (SET), University of Adelaide, Australia
    2. Chair Professor at the China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
    scopus preview

    Murat Karakus holds a BSc in Mining Engineering (1991) from Hacettepe University (Türkiye) and a PhD degree in Mining and Minerals Engineering (2000) from the University of Leeds (UK). He is an Associate Professor at the School of Chemical Engineering, the University of Adelaide (UofA) and a Chair Professor at the China University of Geosciences, Wuhan (China). His research focuses on computational and experimental rock mechanics and rock fracture mechanics. Prof. Karakus was named the top national researcher in Mining and Minerals Resources in Australia in 2023 and is currently leading a multidisciplinary research group bringing together experts from the Australian Institute of Machine Learning, Mining, Chemical, and Civil-Structural Engineering. Throughout his career, he has served in various leadership roles at the University of Adelaide, including Associate Dean of International, Research Group Leader, and Chair of the Laboratory and Workshop Committee. Prof. Karakus is a member of the Int. Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM) Commission on Rockburst, the ISRM Commission of Deep Mining, and the Int. Committee of Mine Safety Science and Engineering (ICMSSE).

    In his plenary, Professor Karakus will talk about "AUSBIT: A novel approach to capturing snapback in an indirect tensile test." Due to their composition and microstructures, hard rocks tend to exhibit behaviour beyond pure brittleness when stressed past their peak strengths. This post-peak behaviour is known as Class-II behaviour or snap-back behaviour. The topic has gained much attention in recent years because most mining and tunnelling activities started to take place in harsh environments such as high stress due to deep excavations and high temperatures. Hard rocks can store more energy even after their peak strength, so it is essential to understand the post-peak behaviour to control extreme rock failure hazards in underground environments. However, most of the research is dedicated to analysing rock behaviour under compression, ignoring rocks' post-peak behaviour under tensile loading, which strongly links with both primary and secondary fragmentations. This keynote presents the application of an innovative methodology, the AUSBIT-Advanced Universal Snap-Back Indirect Tensile test. To stabilise the cracking mode at the centre of Brazilian disks, we used lateral strain control mechanisms to capture the post-peak behaviour of rocks under tensile loading. The AUSBIT was applied to several different rocks and materials, such as concrete and various rocks, Hawkesbury sandstone, granite, and Bluestone. Acoustic emission (AE) and Digital Image Correlation (DIC) techniques were used to assess the effectiveness of AUSBIT in controlling the localised dynamics. Using AUSBIT elastic properties, mode-I fracture toughness and material excess strain energy storage capacities can be obtained in one test.

Track 13. Petroleum and Energy Sciences and Engineering

  • Khalid Amrouch

    Khalid Amrouch

    1. Associate Professor at GSMI, UM6P. Benguerir, Morocco
    2. Adj. Associate Professor at SET, Uni. of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    3. Associate Editor at AJGS (Springer) and Geosciences (MDPI)
    scopus preview

    Khalid Amrouch is a Structural Geologist with expertise in Geomechanics. His main interest relates to brittle tectonics, fracture characterisation, and stress analyses. His work within these disciplines focuses on several key research questions: Reconstruction of Stress patterns using combined analyses of faults, fractures and calcite twins; 4D Quantification of stress magnitudes in orogenic settings from the scale of a reservoir analogue (individual structure) to the scale of the entire fold belt or sedimentary basin; Understanding of the kinematics of faulting and related stress field perturbations; Characterization of micro‐mechanisms of deformation of sedimentary strata during folding - examples of anticlines in Iran Spain and USA: analogues of folded‐fractured reservoirs.

    He graduated from the University of Pierre & Marie Curie (Sorbonne University) with a Hons, MSc, and PhD in Structural Geology. He started his career in 2005 at the IFP (Institut Français du Pétrole Energie Nouvelle, which sponsored his studies), followed in 2010 by a position as Researcher at Mines PariTech (PSL University). In 2012 he left Europe for South America, where he spent one year working for BHP as Exploration Geologist before joining the Australian School of Petroleum & Energy Resources – Uni. Of Adelaide (ASPER) in 2013 as Assistant Prof. and then as Associate Prof. since 2018. In 2023, Khalid joined the UM6P (GSMI) as Associate Professor, mainly working on Subsurface Resources’ associated questions.

    Khalid’s recent works have focussed on the integration of Geomechanical, Petrophysical, and Structural techniques to better understand the growth and evolution of natural and stimulated fractures, and mechanical Rock-Fluid interactions in sedimentary basins, with application to both conventional Energy Exploration (Oil & Gas, Geothermal...) as well as production and the subsurface storage of gases such as CO2 & H2.

    In his plenary, Professor Amrouch will talk about Stress Evolution in Sedimentary Basins. The present work is focused on integrating multi-approach analyses with present-day models to provide a modern summary of Australia’s largest onshore hydrocarbon province, the Cooper–Eromanga Basin, focusing on structural geology and stress evolution. A rapid rise in cutting-edge research has been facilitated by hydrocarbon companies transitioning to technically more challenging plays and feasibility studies assessing the carbon capture and storage potential of the basin. The purpose of this work is to provide an integrated summary of recent research and the fundamentals of the structurally complex basin with the aim of ensuring that the hydrocarbon potential can be effectively explored and appropriately developed. A modern tectonostratigraphic evolution model is presented alongside the stress regime, orientation and magnitude of the structural events that have affected the province. Integration of complete paleo-stress tensors with geomechanical models has constrained the dynamic of faults through time and space. In addition, the four-dimensional distribution of stresses, natural fractures and common hydraulic fracturing are also discussed. The methodologies, cutting-edge research and novel approaches presented here form a framework that can be applied to other reservoirs worldwide, while also providing a knowledge platform for this highly prospective hydrocarbon and potential carbon storage province.

Track 14. Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Paleontology, Geochronology

More details will be posted soon.

Track 15. Structural Geology, Tectonics and Geodynamics, Petroleum Geology

  • This plenary will be cancelled. We learned with deep grief that geoscientist Prof. Aral I. Okay passed away today, November 12, 2023.
    Aral I. Okay

    Aral I. Okay

    Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences
    Istanbul Technical University, Türkiye
    scopus preview

    Aral I. Okay is emeritus professor of geology in the Istanbul Technical University. He holds a BSc degree in geology from the University College London and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Between 1980-1983 he worked as a geologist at the Geological Survey of Türkiye (MTA), and since then he has in the Istanbul Technical University. His research interests are regional geology and tectonics of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region, and metamorphic petrology. He was a visiting scientist in the University of California Los Angeles (1986), in the University of Bochum, Germany as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow (1995), in the École Normal Superiéure, Paris (1996), in the University of California Santa Barbara as a Fulbright fellow (2005-2006) and in the Freie Universität Berlin (2020, 2022) as a Georg Forster awardee. He has received the Science Prize of the Turkish Scientific Research Council (TÜBİTAK), and is a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) since 1996, and a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America. For more information see his web page at

    In his plenary titled “Paleo-Tethys and Neo-Tethys in the Eastern Mediterranean - Models and Data,” Professor Okay will talk about the Phanerozoic evolution of the Tethyan oceans in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The region has been on the margins of oceans since the Early Paleozoic. These Tethyan oceans had a complex history with episodes of subduction-accretion, opening of marginal basins, closure of older oceans and opening of newer ones. This complex geological evolution led to various and often conflicting models depicting the history of the Tethys. Geological data obtained in the last 20 years allow testing and refining of these models. Especially, the subduction episodes are now well constrained by the ages of eclogites/blueschists, subduction-accretion complexes and magmatic arcs. New biostratigraphic data allow to refine the ages of rifting and collision. All these data point to the presence of a single large Paleo/Neo Tethyan ocean between the Eurasia/Pontides in the north and the Anatolide-Tauride Block in the south during the late Paleozoic-Mesozoic, and a narrower Mesozoic Neo-Tethyan ocean between the Anatolide-Tauride Block and Gondwana/Arabian Platform.

Track 16. Special Session 1: The 6 February earthquake sequence of Türkiye–Syria (Mw 7.8, 7.6)

  • Roger Bilham

    Roger Bilham

    Senior Research Scientist
    Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado Boulder, USA
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    Roger Bilham is a research scientist in CIRES at University of Colorado Boulder, USA with interests in earthquake, landslide, flood and volcano processes and their impact on society. He uses various terrestrial and remote sensing geodetic methods to capture the deformation of the Earth's crust, and engineering and historical investigative methods to quantify the damage they produce. His current research includes the quantitative study of earthquakes in India and its western margin, and the investigation of aseismic fault slip in Israel, Pakistan, Anatolia and California. In a collaborative project with NED University, Karachi, he and his collaborators have investigated Medieval and pre-historic flooding of the Kashmir Valley. Also, their collaborative investigations with Kandilli Observatory, Istanbul involve measurements of strain and aseismic slip on the northern and eastern Anatolian faults to learn more about the relationship between earthquakes and fault creep.

    In his plenary, Professor Bilham will talk about “Polflucht modulation of Coulomb failure at plate boundaries - the causal link between Earth's rotation rate and lithospheric seismicity?”. A number of articles report a weak correlation between earthquake productivity and millisecond changes in the rotation of rate of the earth. For example, in the past few centuries, three-quarters of all Mw>6.8 earthquakes surrounding the Caribbean plate have occurred during periods of minima in Earth’s angular spin velocity (10.3389/feart.2022.1041311). Assuming that this relationship continues, current observations of the length-of-the-day (LOD) indicate that earthquake productivity may be anticipated to rise as we approach the 2030-decade when spin rates are anticipated to slow. Yet the causal mechanism linking seismicity to maximum LOD is enigmatic. Earth’s oblateness decreases during slow spin, and Euler forces increase during angular deceleration, but it can easily be shown that the resulting stress changes on plate boundaries are many orders of magnitude smaller than those known to influence seismicity. A somewhat neglected acceleration directed along lines of longitude toward the equator, however, may play an important role in modulating the timing of subset of earthquakes. The acceleration was invoked by Wegener as causal to the equator-directed drift of continents and given the misleading name Polflucht, the escape of surface masses from polar regions. The equator-directed acceleration attains importance only where the center of mass of a body is not coincident with the center of translation of that mass (e.g an iceberg where its center of mass lies below its center of buoyancy, or a tectonic plate where its center of mass lies above (or below) a weak asthenosphere. The acceleration arises from the equator-ward convergence of co-geoids. These display maximum oblateness at the Earth’s surface but become more spherical within and far from the Earth. Polfucht forces are zero at the equator and the poles where these surfaces are parallel, but at intermediate latitudes are responsible for enhanced horizontal clamping stresses on east-west transforms or subduction zones. Polflucht forces are reduced during low spin velocity thereby resulting in small decadal enhancement in Coulomb failure. Making simple assumptions concerning the translation surface of the Caribbean (its underlying asthenosphere) and integrating the product of mass and Polflucht accelerations not coincident with this surface, Polflucht may be sufficient to account for the observed influence of Earth’s spin on Caribbean seismicity. The result is applicable to plate boundaries elsewhere and may be responsible for weak observed decadal fluctuations in global seismicity.

  • Tolga Görüm

    Tolga Görüm

    Istanbul Technical University, Türkiye

    In his plenary, Professor Tolga will talk about “Landslides triggered by the February 6, 2023, Türkiye earthquake sequence and the following rainfall events”.
    On February 6, 2023, the destructive Kahramanmaraş earthquake sequence occurred on two major branches of the East Anatolian Fault system. The Mw 7.8 and Mw 7.6 events occurred nine hours apart, subjecting an area of ~90,000 km2 to shaking levels known to trigger landslides (PGA >8% g). Here we present a preliminary summary of the characteristics of landslides triggered by the earthquake sequence and associated post-earthquake hazards. We analyzed co-seismic landslides using optical high-resolution aerial photos and satellite images (e.g., Göktürk-2 and SPOT-7) to map the initiation zone of 3,600 landslides. Rockfall is the most widely observed co-seismic landslide type, though we also noted bedrock rotational, planar slides, lateral spreading, and rock avalanches. Surface rupture through mountainous terrain also caused large (> 0.5 km2) and sometimes fatal landslides. Litho-structure, spatial variability of ground shaking, topographic relief, and arid/semi-arid climatic conditions appear to be the main variables controlling the spatial distribution and failure mode of the observed co-seismic landslides. Intense ground shaking was strongly deformed, damaging many hillslopes and mobilizing deep-seated landslides. The heavy rainfall occurred during the interval spanning from March 14th to March 16th, 2023, subsequent to the seismic activity, transformed the coseismic slides into cohesive debris flows, with a pronounced concentration of such phenomena evident in the vicinities of Adıyaman and Malatya cities. This cascading event caused an increase in the mortality rate in the earthquake-stricken region.

Track 17. Other Related Topics

This plenary will be cancelled due to Prof. Iain Stewart's inability to attend (due to health considerations).
  • Iain Stewart

    Iain Stewart

    Professor of Geoscience Communication
    The El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society, Jordan
    The UNESCO Chair for Geoscience and Society at the University of Plymouth, UK
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    Iain Stewart is the El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society (Jordan) and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth (UK), where he holds the UNESCO Chair for Geoscience and Society. The founding director of the University of Plymouth’s ‘Sustainable Earth Institute’, Iain’s long-standing research interests are in disaster risk reduction, climate change, and Earth science communication. His Earth science communication work has built on a 15-year partnership with BBC Science television, presenting popular documentary series, such as ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’, ‘Earth: The Climate Wars’, ‘How Earth Made Us’, ‘How To Grow A Planet’, ‘The Rise of the Continents’ and ‘Planet Oil; he was also academic advisor on David Attenborough's acclaimed BBC series ‘Severn Worlds, One Planet’. Awarded an MBE for his services to geography and geology education, he was President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and in 2021 was the Communications Lead and Evidence Chair for the Scottish Government's Climate Citizen's Assembly.

    In this plenary address, Professor Stewart will talk about how we communicate geology to the wider public. It builds on the recognition that geology, along with other scientific disciplines, is being increasingly challenged on how it can best confront Society’s grand challenges, such as climate change, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, human conflict and migration, and persistent poverty. But its traditional association with exploitation of the planet’s natural resources for energy and materials links it with contemporary concerns around unsustainable human practices, arguably fueling a growing disenchantment that is most evident in declining enrollment in university geoscience courses in many advanced economy countries. Therefore, a fresh re-framing of the geoscience’s relationship to society would seem to be urgently needed. The presentation will explore the challenges and opportunities for geoscientists to address the global sustainability agenda, and the long-term mission of Earth stewardship for a ‘safe and just operating space for humanity’.