Megafloods is topic of McMaster Lecture at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, O.—“Megafloods on Earth, Mars, and Beyond” is the topic of the 2014 Harold McMaster Visiting Scientist lecture at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Victor Baker, Regents’ Professor and Professor of Planetary Sciences and Geosciences in the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona, will speak from 4-5 p.m. March 31 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater. The talk is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture, from 5-6 p.m.

The immense megafloods of Earth’s last Ice Age had short-term flows equaling those of ocean currents, altering global climate and creating bizarre landscapes like the Channeled Scabland of Washington state. More surprising has been the discovery that much larger megafloods occurred billions of years ago on the planet Mars. The Martian megafloods even produced a kind of ocean that transformed Mars to be like an Ice-Age Earth.

Baker has authored or co-authored 388 research papers and chapters and written or edited 18 books on topics that include the geology and paleohydrology of Mars, Quaternary paleohydrology and geology, flood geomorphology, and history/philosophy of Earth and planetary sciences. He has been president of the Geological Society of America (1998), chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Section on Geology and Geography (1992-93 and 2008-09), and president of the International Union for Quaternary Research Commission on Global Continental Paleohydrology (1990-99).

He has been honored many times by professional and research organizations, and his work on megafloods has been featured in multiple television documentaries for PBS, BBC, and the National Geographic, Discovery, and History Channels, including the 2005 NOVA production “Mystery of the Megaflood.”

The Harold McMaster Visiting Scientist is a program underwritten by a $250,000 endowment funded by Helen and the late Harold McMaster. The longtime BGSU benefactors, from Perrysburg, funded the interdisciplinary program to bring eminent scholars or practitioners from the fields of chemistry, biology, geology, physics or astronomy to the University annually. The visiting scientist delivers a public lecture and interacts in classes and small groups with undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and members of the community.