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Skidmore College
Geosciences Department

Lester W. Strock Lecture Series

Skidmore's annual Lester W. Strock Lecture was endowed by renowned geochemist and friend of Skidmore Geosciences, Lester Strock. Strock, a well-known authority on Saratoga's mineral springs, spent much of his career in research at MIT and at the Sylvania Electric Co. Click here for more on Lester Strock (1906-1982).



Tadesse B. Alemu
University of California, Berkeley
Uncovering ICONS (IntraCONtinental Sags) of the Pan-African Belt: The Ethiopian Testimony"
Thursday, April 22, 2021
6:30 p.m.

ZOOM Meeting ID: 975 3949 4241
Passcode: Strock

IntraCONtinental Sags (ICONS) are a group of sedimentary basins that lie within the relatively stable continental interiors, showing little to no deformation and subsiding for a long period of time. While the mechanisms for the formation of other types of sedimentary basins are well-known, the processes that lead to ICONS are not. Understanding their geologic history is important because the sedimentary rocks within them preserve long-term records of earth history and can host natural resources including water and hydrocarbons.  

In his talk, Dr. Alemu will address several questions regarding ICONS: What are some examples, and why are they important? How do we study them? His focus is on sedimentary basins overlying the Pan-African belt in northern and northeastern Africa, and particularly in Ethiopia where sedimentary formations and geological structures associated with ICONS are completely exposed. Results from the study include a new model for ICONS subsidence and recent discoveries of the first dinosaur fossils in the region.

Past Lectures -

  • 2020 - cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2017 - Dr. Darren Gravley "Unraveling the mystery behind the largest volcanic eruptions on earth"
  • 2016 - Maya Tolstoy - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, "Pulses of Seafloor Volcanism: Exploring Links to the Rhythms of Long-term Climate Change"
  • 2015 - Paul Mann - University of Houston, “Tectonics and Geology of Lake Nicaragua:  Potential Impacts on the Nicaraguan Canal Project”
  • 2014 – Darby Dyar – Mount Holyoke College, “A Year in the Life of Curiosity on Mars: New Discoveries from the Red Planet”
  • 2013 – Jason P. Briner - University at Buffalo, “The response of ice sheets to abrupt climate change”
  • 2012 – Chuck Ver Straeten – New York State Museum – “Geology of the Marcellus “Shale”: Dynamic Deposition in an Oxygen-Poor Devonian Sea”
  • 2011 – Ellen Wohl – Colorado State University, "Seeing the forest and the trees: wood in streams of the Colorado Front Range”
  • 2010 – Steven Squyres – Cornell University "Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet”
  • 2009 –
  • 2008 –
  • 2007 – Milan J. Pavich - United States Geological Survey, “Some Inconvenient Truth about Predicting Climate: A Geologic Perspective”
  • 2006 – Robert Young - Western Carolina University, "Atlantic Hurricanes: Hot New Science, Same Old Policy”
  • 2005 – David Finkelstein – Indiana University – “Life on the Edge of Hydration – Using alkaline lakes and geothermal springs as possible analogues for paleolakes on mars?”
  • 2004 – Paul Bierman – University of Vermont, "15,000 Years of New England Landscape History - From Glaciers to Clear-Cuts and Mega-Storms"
  • 2003 - Ellis Yochelson – United States Geological Survey – “Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) An Empire State Boy Makes Good: Discovery of the Cambrian Burgess Shale fossils of British Columbia and investigations into the Paleontology of Saratoga Springs, New York”
  • 2002 - Arthur Palmer – SUNY Oneonta – “Hydrogen sulfide as a geologic agent: Effect on cave origin, petroleum reservoirs, aquifers, and ore deposits”
  • 2000-2001 – John Holloway – Arizona State University – “Mid-Ocean Ridge Black Smokers: Biogeochemical Cauldrons on the Seafloor”
  • 1999-2000 – John B. Reid, Jr. –Hampshire College – “Enslaved Africans From the New York African Burial Ground: Using Tooth 87SR/86SR to Reconstruct Their Birthplaces and Migrations”
  • 1998-1999 – Reinhard A. Wobus – Williams College – “Tracking Ancient Bolcanic Rocks by Their Geochemical Footprints”
  • 1997-1998 – Craig A. Johnson – US Geological Survey - “Finding Ore Deposits, Tracking Past Climates, Fingering Polluters: Stable Isotope Applications in Geological and Environmental Science”
  • 1996-1997 – Anthony R. Philpotts – University of Connecticut “Can Basaltic Magmas Differentiate, And If So, How?”
  • 1995-1996 – Donald I. Siegel – Syracuse University – “Wetlands and Congress: The National Controversy In Their Characterization and Control”
  • 1994-1995 – Philip C. Whitney – New York State Geological Survey – “Wollastonite and the Mystery of the Adirondack Mountains”
  • 1993-1994 – Nancy Rodrieguez Black – University of North Carolina – “Fluid Seeps and the Geology of the Atlantic Continental Margin”
  • 1992-1993 – Lauret E. Savoy – Mount Holyoke College – “Imagined Territory: Encounters With American Landscape”
  • 1991-1992 – P. Jay Fleisher – SUNY at Oneonta – “Glaciation in New York State: Perspectives from Southeast Alaska”
  • 1990-1991 – Charlotte J. Mehrtens – University of Vermont – “The Cambrian of Northwestern Vermont: An Ancient Analogue of the Bahamas Platform?
  • 1989-1990 – Yngvar W. Isachsen – New York State Geological Survey – “Geology of the Adirondack Mountains: Their Birth, Death and Resurrection”
  • 1988-1989 – Richard P. Major – Texas Bureau of Economic Geology – “Marine Diagenesis of Inorganic Calcite: Examples From the Upper Quaternary of the Florida-Bahamas Platform”
  • 1987-1988 - William B.F. Ryan – Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory – “New Imagery of the Ocean Floor”
  • 1986-1987 – George W. Putman – SUNY Albany – “The Mineral Springs of Saratoga”
  • 1985-1986 – William B. Heroy, Jr. – Southern Methodist University – “Adventures in Applied Geophysics”
  • 1984-1985 – Gerald M. Friedman – Rensselaer Center for Applied Geology – “Recognition of Reefs: An Experience in Frustration”
  • 1983-1984 – Marion E. Bickford – University of Kansas – “Radiogenic Isotopes in Petrogenesis and Geochronology”
  • 1982-1983 – Steven R. Bohlen – SUNY – Stony Brook – “Pressure, Temperature and Fluid Composition of Adirondack Metamorphism: A Model for Petrologic Processes in the Lower Crust”