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University of Memphis Earth Scientists Head to Argentina and Chile University News
For release: March 2, 2010

For press information, contact Gary Patterson, CERI, 901/678-5264

The University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) will take part in post-earthquake studies related to the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that devastated the region around Maule, Chile, last week.  CERI seismologist Dr. Robert Smalley has worked in the Andes for more than a decade using global positioning systems to gain a better understanding of the rate of seismic energy accumulation along the boundary between the South American Plate and the Nazca Plate that parallels the west coast of South America.

Dr. Smalley
Dr. Smalley
Dr. Smalley will leave Memphis on March 3rd for a minimum of five weeks. Additional researchers from the University of Memphis will likely be deployed in the near future.

Researchers must respond quickly in order to capture seismological, geodetic, and geological information that is produced in the days, weeks, and months following such large earthquakes.  These data provide critical scientific information for understanding global plate tectonics and better define the risk for this earthquake-prone region.

The University of Memphis is partnering with researchers from Ohio State University, the University of Hawaii, the California Institute of Technology, and other US institutions and foreign collaborators, with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Progress reports and pictures from the field research team will be posted on


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