Esteban Gazel, assistant professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Geosciences, has been selected to serve on the 2016-17 academic year GeoPRISMS Distinguished Lectureship Program.

Gazel, who joined the Virginia Tech College of Science in 2011, will join three other academic experts in geosciences visiting U.S. colleges and universities to present technical and public lectures on subjects related to earth sciences. Supported by National Science Foundation, The GeoPRISMS — short for Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins Program — is a community-driven effort to spearhead interdisciplinary investigations of continental margins around the world.

Gazel will focus his public lecture for lay audiences on “The rocks that joined the Americas: Is there a connection with climate and evolution of life?” and his academic lecture on “Making young continents in arc.” Talks given by all four lecturers will focus on “sustainability in the face of climate change and sea level variation, resource management and availability, and hazard mitigation,” according to the group.

Gazel’s research program focuses on processes that produce magma and volcanoes and contribute to the evolution of the planet, including mantle melting and the origin of contients.

According to his website, Gazel studies the development and evolution of the Earth’s geochemical reservoirs, the deep geochemical cycles — from ocean crust production and subduction — and mantle lithologies/sources. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2005 from the University of Coast Rica and his doctoral degree in 2009 from Rutgers University. He completed post-doctoral work at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

He is lead author or collaborator on more than 35 scientific publications and the lead investigator of four major National Science Foundation awards, including one for GeoPRISMS to study the most recent volcanic activity along the East Coast in Virginia.

Any college or university in the United States can apply to host a distinguished lectureship program speaker, with applications due July 1 for visiting speakers in fall 2016 through spring 2017.

GeoPRISMS covers airfare for speakers’ travel and will coordinate travel and off-site logistics, with host institutions being responsible for local expenses for the duration of the speaker’s visit.

The GeoPRISMS Science Program includes overarching scientific topics and themes seen as vital to the field during the next decade, including origin and evolution of the continental crust; fluids, magmas, and their interactions; tectonic-sediment-climate interactions; geochemical cycles; and plate boundary deformation and geodynamics.

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