The Francis Birch Lecture honors the life and work of the renowned geophysicist, whose work was concerned chiefly with elasticity, phase relations, thermal properties and heat flow, and the composition of the Earth’s interior.
This Tectonophysics section named lecture is presented annually at the AGU Fall Meeting, held in San Francisco, Calif. The Birch Lecture is webcast and made available as an archived presentation on the AGU website.
The Birch Lecture is also a part of the Bowie Lecture series, which was inaugurated in 1989 to commemorate the 50th presentation of the William Bowie medal, which is AGU’s highest honor and named for its first president. Birch is a past recipient of the William Bowie medal.
The Birch Lecture is by invitation only – nominations are not accepted.
2018 presented by Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni, UCLA
2017 Lithospheric Strength and Stress State: Persistent Challenges and New Directions in Geodynamics presented by Greg Hirth, Brown University
2016 presented by Maya Tolstoy, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
2015 Subduction Faults as We See Them in the 21st Century presented by Kelin Wang, Pacific Geoscience Center, Geological Survey of Canada
2014 On the Origin of Plate Tectonics presented by David Bercovici, Yale University
2013 M9 Megathrust Earthquake Cycles presented by Roland Burgmann, University of California, Berkeley
2012 Inside a Crustal Earthquake — Signals from Field Geology presented by Rick Sibson of Otago University, New Zealand
2011 Hydrological Response to Earthquakes (and was the LUSI Mud Volcano Eruption in Indonesia Caused by an Earthquake?) presented by Michael Manga, University of California, Berkeley
2010 Global Tectonics Ties Quakes, Rocks, and Volatiles in the Mantle Transition Zone presented by Wang-Ping Chen, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2009 A Eulogy for Eustasy presented by Jerry X. Mitrovica, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2008 Focusing in on Mid-Ocean Ridge Segmentation presented by Suzanne M. Carbotte, Columbia University
2007 Mountain Ranges and the Deformation of Continents presented by Jean-Philippe Avouac, California Institute of Technology
2006 The Deep Roots of Continents presented by Claude Jaupart, Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris
2005 Uplift and Evolution of the Eastern Tibetan Plateau presented by Leigh H. Royden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2004 Where on Earth is the Ocean? presented by Shun-Ichiro Karato, Yale University
2003 Splitting, Stretching and Spreading of Lithosphere presented by W. Roger Buck, LDEO
2002 A Geophysicist’s Journey to the Center of the Earth presented by Gerald Schubert, UCLA
2001 Structure and Dynamics An Earth Odyssey presented by Louise Kellogg, University of California, Davis
1999 Localisation and Propagation of Lithospheric Shear Zones Behaviour of the Continental Mantle During Collision, and Growth of the Tibet Plateau presented by Paul Tapponnier, Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris
1998 The Plate Tectonic Approximation: Plate Nonrigidity and Diffuse Plate Boundaries presented by Richard Gordan, Northwestern University
1997 Melting and Mantle Flow Beneath Mid-Ocean Ridges: Constraints from the Seismological Component of the MELT Experiment presented by Donald Forsyth, Brown University
1996 Stress Triggering of Earthquakes, or Playing Prediction with Less than Half a Deck presented by Ross Stein, USGS, Menlo Park
1995 The mechanisms of Deep Earthquakes presented by Harry W. Green II, University of California, Davis
1994 (lecture switched from Fall to Spring meeting)
1993 Problems in Earthquake Source Mechanics presented by Jim Rice, Harvard
1992 Space Geodetic Studies of the Earth’s Interior presented by Thomas Herring, Massachusetts Institute of Technology