Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

In March, members of the OLLI program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, took part in a series of four programs led by a Professor Emeritus of Geophysics at the University. Topics included:

What if the Earth Had No Moon? – Without the Moon the Earth would be a very different place, no tides, no stabilizing mechanism and all sorts of things we haven’t thought of yet. Members also heard about recent consensus on the origin of the Moon.

The Snowball Earth Hypothesis – Participants heard about the contentious evidence that major glaciations a billion years ago extended to the equator. Could the earth have frozen over? Will it again?

Impacts and Biological Extinctions – Members learned abut the most famous of these, the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary event that is best known as a possible cause for the extinction of the Dinosaurs. They explored this event and other impact events of interest.

Geomagnetism and Animal Navigation – Participants learned how animals navigate, be it bees returning to a hive or “pole to pole” treks by terns, both of which have always been a puzzle. The earth’s magnetism may be a major factor, but cannot be the whole solution.




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