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Sunset Seminar / Follow the Water / Mark Van Baalen
August 7, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
To date, Earth is the only known planet with intelligent life, occasioned by a remarkable coincidence: we have a planet at just the right distance from its parent star, provided with abundant water that remains the backbone of life as we know it.
Aside from these cosmic benefits, water also floats our boats, rains on our crops (and sometimes our picnics), creates some of the most beautiful images in nature, and provides countless other blessings that we tend to take for granted. Water in the form of waves is both fun for surfers and destructive when a tsunami occurs.
Join geologist and CYC member Mark Van Baalen in a discussion of some of the remarkable properties of water, where it came from and where it is going. A few years ago Mark gave a talk that focused on the physical properties of water. This new talk will pick up where his previous talk left off, after a quick review. The total amount of water on Earth is essentially constant and it exists in various reservoirs, some obvious, others not so obvious. Water moves from one place to another in various ways, and to understand all this we must follow the water. This water budget is not fixed, but responds to changes in the Earth’s climate.
Finally, given the importance of water to life, the search for water on other planets and satellites is driven by the hope of finding signs of life out there somewhere. The talk will end up with what we know about water in our solar system and beyond.
Mark Van Baalen holds degrees in Geology and in Astrophysics from Harvard University, and taught popular courses at Harvard. Currently he is an Associate in Earth & Planetary Sciences at the university and and is privileged to serve students in a mentoring role. He is also an avid sailor (and CYC cruiser); and together with his wife Louisa, leads study groups to all seven continents.