Yale geologist on continental drift and humans’ ‘ultimate fate’

Yale scientist David Evans will look both billions of years into the past and ahead into the near future in the next In the Company of Scholars talk on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Titled “Past and Future Movements of Continents Across Earth's Surface, and a Geologist's Perspective on the Ultimate Fate of Humankind,” the talk will take place at 4 p.m. in Rm. 119 of the Hall of Graduate Studies, 320 York St. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture will also be livestreamed on Yale's YouTube channel. A reception will follow in the McDougal Center common room.

“Geological science gives a unique perspective on humans' evolving place within the natural world,” says Evans, professor of geology and geophysics. “My research delves into the past motions of continents through billions of years of Earth history.

“Aside from the academic implications for the inner workings and changing surface environments of our planet, this work also provides a framework for understanding patterns in the distribution of natural resources such as metal ore deposits and fossil fuels,” adds Evans. “After illustrating the long-term paleogeographic history of our planet, this talk will conclude with speculations on how human society may fare in the not-too-distant future, beyond our current age of unprecedented resource extraction and high standard of living.”

Evan’s research focuses on continental reconstructions; supercontinents; paleomagnetism; characteristics of the Precambrian geomagnetic field; and implications for the long-term Earth evolution of geodynamics, tectonics, climate change, and life. His projects have taken him to Angola, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Russia, and South Africa.

In the Company of Scholars is sponsored by Thomas D. Pollard, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.