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KNOXVILLE — In light of the recent earthquake activity worldwide, does East Tennessee face any increased danger of having a quake?

Bob Hatcher, distinguished scientist and professor of structural geology and tectonics in earth and planetary sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will touch on this question when he presents this week’s UT Science Forum lecture.

[flowplayer video=”mp4:BobHatcher2″ width=”480″ height=”295″ captions=”” splash=”” /]

Free and open to the public, Hatcher’s presentation — “Evidence for a 25,000-year History of Earthquake Activity in Eastern Tennessee” — will begin at noon on Friday, April 9, in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches or purchase lunch at the Café at the Arena.

The UT Science Forum is a weekly event where leading science researchers share their discoveries and discuss the frontiers of their fields in a way that the general public can understand.

Hatcher’s research focuses on the question of whether there were large earthquakes in the East Tennessee seismic zone in prehistoric times and, if so, how frequently they occurred.

“The East Tennessee seismic zone is the second most active in the eastern U.S.,” Hatcher said. “It’s a large area. There are earthquakes that occur all the way from north of Knoxville into northwest Georgia into northeastern Alabama. One of the reasons we wanted to work in this area is to see if there have been prehistoric earthquakes of larger than a magnitude five, because magnitude five is the threshold of damage.”

With a research grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Hatcher and his team have found evidence of larger earthquakes in the area in prehistoric times, but have not yet determined the recurrence rate. He will present these findings in his discussion. In the video, Hatcher describes why his research is important to residents of East Tennessee and how it affects the area.

The UT Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research. Upcoming presentations include:

• April 16: Soren Sorensen, professor and head of physics and astronomy, presents “The End of the Universe.”

• April 23: Forbes Walker, associate professor of biosystems engineering and soil science, presents “Developing Conservation Agriculture Systems in Africa.”

• April 30: Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics, presents “The Power of Optimal Control: From Confining Rabies to Improving CPR.”

For questions about the UT Science Forum, contact Mark Littmann, or 974-8156, or Mike Clark, or 974-6006.

C O N T A C T :

Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225,