Geologist Ague takes center stage at major geophysics convention

Yale geologist Jay Ague has been asked to deliver a high-profile talk at the largest global conference in the geophysical sciences, the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) fall meeting.

Ague, who tentatively plans to speak about aspects of the natural carbon cycle, will join a distinguished line of scientists who have delivered the AGU’s Daly Lecture, part of a series known as the Bowie Lectures. The 2012 conference takes place in San Francisco.

“These plenary lectures are a big event at the AGU meeting,” said Dave Bercovici, outgoing chair of Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. “This is a real honor for Jay and the department.”

At Yale, Ague is professor of geology and geophysics. He also serves as curator-in-charge of mineralogy for the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. In 2008 Ague served as the Peabody’s acting director.

The 61,000-member AGU is an international non-profit scientific association that advances the geophysical sciences. Its fall meeting attracts nearly 20,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students and policy makers.

The Daly Lecture is the core talk in the AGU’s volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology section. Ague will likely address “what we know, and what we need to know, about the chemical reactions that release carbon dioxide, methane, and water in the deep crust of the Earth during mountain building some 20-50 miles below the surface,” he said.

The release of carbon dioxide from mountain belts, such as the Himalayas, is a poorly understood aspect of the natural carbon cycle, he said, but one that is important for a thorough understanding of climate change.

Of the invitation, Ague said, “I was simultaneously stunned, honored, and humbled by this news.”