January 3, 2019, 2:30-4:30 p.m. the Arizona Senior Academy
George H. Davis, Regents Professor & Provost Emeritus, University of Arizona
Professor Davis will describe the scientific importance of the Rincon Mountains and how their geology became a type locality for a new tectonic system he and his UA colleague Peter Coney dubbed “metamorphic core complexes” in the mid-1970s. Classic mountain systems (Andes, Alps, Himalayas) were always explained as tectonic shortening of the crust; metamorphic core complexes, in contrast, are products of extreme stretching. After considerable debate and hypothesis testing, a consensus developed that metamorphic core complexes have been integral to tectonic evolution and crustal deformation through time.
In Part II of his talk, Professor Davis will lead us on a virtual field trip through the Rincons, identifying the salient properties of metamorphic core complexes and how they relate to overall tectonic evolution. In this phase we will learn about how such tongue-twisting processes as “crustal shearing,” “mylonitization” “cataclasis,” and “detachment faulting” have shaped the overall landscape that you see in the Rincons from your backyards.
Finally, Professor Davis will describe the ongoing partnership between U of A and Saguaro National Park, Rincon Mountain District, to better explain challenging geological concepts to the public and to communicate their importance.
As a field-oriented structural geologist Professor Davis’s main focus has been on the tectonics of the Basin & Range and Colorado Plateau. In addition, since 2004, he has been carrying out geoarchaeological research at the Sanctuary of Zeus, Mt. Lykaion, in the Peloponnese, Greece. His publications number around 225, including his undergraduate structural geology textbook, now in its 3rdedition.
Professor Davis joined the faculty of the Department of Geosciences at The University of Arizona in 1970 and over the years has held a number of academic leadership positions, including Acting Vice President for Business Affairs (1989-1990) and Executive Vice President and Provost (2000-2007). In addition, he served as President of the University of Vermont (1990-1992).
Davis received his BA degree from The College of Wooster, Ohio, his MA from The University of Texas, Austin, and his PhD from The University of Michigan. He has been Chair of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee on Atmospheric, Earth, and Ocean Sciences and President of the Geological Society of America.
—Edited by Charlie Prewitt and Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteers