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Geologist to Lecture on Ocean Floor Geothermal Vents

(Posted March 21, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Deborah Kelley, associate professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, Seattle, will lecture at Juniata College on "Discovery of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field: Implications for Life in the Oceans of Our Solar System ," at 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 30 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus.

The general-interest lecture is free and open to the public.

Kelley also will give a lecture aimed at the college's science community on "Life Within the Endeavor System: One of the Most Extreme Environments on Earth" at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, in Alumni Hall. This lecture also is open to the public.

Kelley specializes in seafloor hydrothermal systems and has been involved in the discovery of many hydrothermal fields -- including the Lost City Hydrothermal Field. Her work focuses on how undersea vents are linked to geological and biological processes around volcanoes and rock-altering reactions.

Kelley also is developing prototype instruments to monitor or analyze how life develops and thrives in the extreme environments found in sea vents and structures called "black smoker chimneys." Many of these chimneys have large amounts of microbial life that thrive in the absence of sunlight. These single-celled organisms obtain energy from hydrogen and methane gases formed through rock-alteration processes that occur on the seafloor.

Kelley regularly explores the ocean floor on research missions and has explored using the submersible "Alvin" and several robotic vehicles.

Kelley earned a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1983 and went on to earn a master's degree in geology at the same institution in 1987. Kelley earned a doctorate in geology in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1990.

She has been an associate professor at the University of Washington since 2001 and has been a member of the university's astrobiology faculty since 2000. She also is a visiting professor at the University of Bergen in Norway.
She is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.