In her presentation, Tewksbury will discuss geology and geologic processes and their relationship to historical, cultural, political and economic events in Africa. Topics that she will consider include: gold deposits and the origin of black oppression in South Africa; long-term fluctuations of river activity and the rise and fall of dynasties along the Nile; climate change and the history of habitation in the Sahara and Nile Valley; development of the East African Rift and the evolution of primate mammals; and modern hydrogeology in the Sahara and Sahel and the future for economic growth in North Africa.
Two years ago, Tewksbury received a grant from the National Science Foundation to introduce these ideas to students in her introductory geology courses. The classes involve both rigorous studies of geology and geologic processes, and their underlying effects on relevant human issues. Students uncover the relationship of human history to the actions and accidents of geologic processes, and the relevance of geologic studies to recovering the human past, understanding the present and predicting the future.
The Geological Society of America is a professional association of earth scientists from academia, government, business and industry. Its membership totals more than 15,000 fellows, members, and student associates.