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Hallowe’en Night 2017 – Tuesday 31st October, 18:30-20:00 : Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Matter)

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Matter)

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) will hold a special event this Hallow’en Night exploring the spooky dark matter that surrounds us.

Tuesday 31st October has been designated as International Dark Matter Day – to coincide with Hallowe’en. DIAS’ event will take place from 6.30pm to 8pm at 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

Dark Matter

The evidence for Dark Matter (and the even more mysterious dark energy) has been steadily accumulating since the 1930s and we now believe that less than 5% of the universe is made of the “normal” matter that physicists study in the laboratory. The nature of the dark matter is one of the greatest mysteries in modern physics and will be discussed by the Directors of the DIAS schools of Cosmic Physics, Professor Luke Drury, and Theoretical Physics, Professor Werner Nahm as a dialogue between astrophysics and particle physics.

The event is free to attend, and you can register now at Eventbrite

Dr. Eva Eibl reached the second place in the Falling Walls Lab Ireland competition

Falling Walls Labs have been hosted in more than 50 countries worldwide, where outstanding academics and professionals present their breakthroughs in science and society in merely 3 minute long talks. This year it was hosted in Ireland for the first time and innovative ideas, research projects and social initiatives were shared. DIAS researcher Dr. Eva Eibl competed with a talk titled: „Breaking the Walls of Eruption Forecasting“ presenting the content of her recently published Nature Geoscience publication and reached the second place.

19th September 2017, M7.1 Mexico earthquake

An earthquake with magnitude 7.1 occurred near Puebla, about 120km from Mexico City on the 19th September 2017 at  18:14:38 UTC. A number of buildings in Mexico City collapsed and at least 200 fatalities have been reported to date. The event happened on the 32nd anniversary of the devastating magnitude 8.1 Mexico City earthquake.

The earthquake was recorded at seismic stations worldwide, including stations of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), see seismic waveforms below (select figure to enlarge).

Further information is available from the following webpages:

More information about the INSN is available via this link.

Friday, 22 Sept 2017 – Culture Night (Geophysics programme)

DIAS – Geophysics programme of Culture Night event at 5 Merrion Square:

Earthquakes and other Geohazards: Despite its lack of large earthquakes, Ireland holds a special place in the history of Earthquake studies thanks to the pioneering work of Robert Mallet in the mid-19thcentury. Come see the past and present of live earthquake monitoring worldwide, from the heart of Dublin.

Time: 5pm – 10pm

Address: 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Admission is free.

See Culture Night website for more details about that event.

8th September 2017, M8.1 Mexico earthquake

A major earthquake with magnitude 8.1 occurred offshore Mexico on the 8th September 2017 at 04:49:21 UTC. The epicentre is located about 60km from the coast of the mexican state Chiapas, see map below. The event was felt widely and several casualties and damage to buildings have been reported. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a threat warning for tsunami waves up to three metres high along the coast of Mexico. Maximum wave heights of 1.75 metres were observed at the coast of Chiapas five hours after the earthquake origin time.

The M8.1 earthquake was recorded at seismic stations worldwide, including stations of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), see seismic waveforms below (select figure to enlarge).

Further information is available from the following webpages:

More information about the INSN is available via this link.

19th October – School of Cosmic Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017

**Advance booking is required here**

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – School of Cosmic Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017

Thursday 19th October at 6:30pm

Brave new worlds: the planets in our galaxy

By Professor Giovanna Tinetti, University College London

Location : Theatre C (O’Connor Theatre – Room H2.22), Science Hub, University College Dublin

Abstract: The Earth is special to us – it’s our home. But is it really special as a planet? Every star we can see in the night sky is likely to be orbited by planets. There are probably a thousand billion planets in our galaxy alone. In about twenty years, over 3500 “exoplanets” have been discovered in distant solar systems. There are planets completing a revolution around their mother star in less than one day, as well as planets orbiting two or even three stars or moving on trajectories so eccentric as to resemble comets. Some of them are freezing cold, some are so hot that their surface is molten. But beyond that our knowledge falters: What are they made of? How did they form? What’s the weather like there? Are they habitable? 
 Finding out why are these new worlds as they are and what is the Earth’s place in our galaxy and –ultimately– in the universe, is one of the key challenges of modern astrophysics.

About Professor Tinetti: Giovanna Tinetti is Professor of Astrophysics at University College London where she coordinates a research team on extrasolar planets. Select appointments and achievements include Principal Investigator of the European Research Council-funded program “Exo-Lights”, co-editor of planetary journal ICARUS and Institute of Physics Moseley medal 2011 for pioneering the use of IR transmission spectroscopy for molecular detection in exoplanet atmospheres. She is the Principal Investigator of ARIEL, one of the three candidates for the European Space Agency’s next medium-class (M4) science mission; co-founder and co-director of Blue Skies Space Ltd, which aims at creating new opportunities for science space satellites. Awarded a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Turin in Italy, Giovanna has continued her academic career as NASA Astrobiology Institute/NRC fellow at Caltech/JPL and then as European Space Agency external fellow in Paris, before moving to London in 2007 as Royal Society URF.

3rd September 2017 – Nuclear event in North Korea

On the 3rd September 2017 the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) recorded a seismic event with epicenter in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), see below plot for the location. The recordings are consistent with the announcement by the DPRK that it has conducted a nuclear test, their sixth since 2006. The event occured at 03:30:01 UTC.

Vibrations caused by the nuclear test were detected by seismic stations of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), see waveforms below. Please click the figure to enlarge. Further information about this event can be obtained from these websites:

Tom Blake – RTE Morning Ireland Broadcast

Tom Blake’s interview for RTE Morning Ireland. Listen to it HERE.

2017-8-10 – Seminar by Prof. Balz Kamber (TCD)

10 August 2017Seminar

When: 16:00 on Thursday, 10th August 2017
Where: DIAS, Geophysics Section, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, (library)

Speaker: Prof. Balz Kamber (Department of Geology, Trinity College Dublin)
Title: Why Archaean cratons differ from younger continental lithosphere.


The most outstanding features of Archaean cratons are their extraordinary thickness and enduring longevity. Seismically, Archaean cratonic fragments are sharply-bounded deep roots of buoyant cold lithospheric mantle, clearly distinguishable from non-cratonic lithosphere. The age of diamond inclusions and the Os-isotope composition of deep cratonic xenoliths support a model of coeval formation of the crustal and residual mantle portions.
Archaean and post-Archaean crust also differ, not in bulk composition, but in crustal architecture. Key drivers of crustal rearrangment were the radioactive heat-producers U, Th and K. In the early Earth, high radioactive heat production led to self-organisation into evolved, potassic upper and refractory lower crust. The lag time between crust formation and re-organisation was much shorter than today. An additional factor contributing to cratonic restruc-turing was the emplacement of dense supracrustal rocks in ensialic greenstone belts, leading to gravitational inversion. The dome and keel architecture of Archaean cratons was thus driven by crustal radioactive heat and high temperature mantle melting, yielding dense, low viscosity lavas piling up at surface.
A pleasing complementary observation from cratonic mantle roots is that refractory mantle nodules also suggest very high degrees of melting and extraction. Thus, the most logical conclusion seems that the komatiite mantle source was up to 500ºC hotter than modern astheno¬sphere. With higher degree and depth of melting, a thicker and severely depleted bouyant cratonic residue was formed, perfectly equipped to preserve the Archaean crustal record.
However, there are significant inconsistencies in this otherwise convincing line of reasoning. They include: Archaean crust is not especially thick, the dunites expected after very high degree melting are rare, many cratonic harzburgites are much richer in orthopyroxene than predicted [1], and cratonic harzburgites often contain garnet. Finding a solution to these issues has important ramifications for secular evolution of the continents and thermal evolution of the mantle. In this presentation, I will contrast the various proposed solutions, including purging of surprisingly carbonated ancient mantle [e.g. 2], onset of plate tectonics, a Neoarchaean superplume event and collapse of Hadean cumulate barriers.
[1] Boyd (1989) EPSL 89, 15-26
[2] Herzberg (2016) J. Petrol. 57, 2271-2288

Earthquake Donegal, 2nd August 2017, M1.5

On the 2nd August at 05:46 UTC (06:46 local time) an earthquake of magnitude 1.5 occurred in Donegal (NE of Milford on the Fanad Peninsula). Location 55.11N, 7.59W, see figure below.

There are reports of this event having been felt in the area around Milford. Events of this nature are not uncommon in this region. The largest event recorded in this area was a magnitude 2.2 which occurred near Clonmany on 21st November 1994.

The event was recorded at stations of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) and the BGS, see seismic traces below.