Dr Iain Stewart

By Hoare, Natalie | Geographical, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Dr Iain Stewart


Hoare, Natalie, Geographical


Dr Iain Stewart, lecturer and TV documentary presenter, graduated in 1986 with a degree in geology and geography. After investigating the geology of earthquakes in Greece and Turkey for his PhD, he decided to take his geological research and knowledge to a new audience via two BBC Horizon specials, followed by the documentaries Journeys from the Centre of the Earth and Journeys into the Ring of Fire. Natalie Hoare talks to him about his latest series, Earth: The Power of the Planet, lecturing at the University of Plymouth and the best way of dealing with the constant threat from natural hazards

What's the new series about?

In a nutshell, it's about how the planet works. Over four programmes, we look at four fundamental forces that have shaped the planet through time: volcanoes, the atmosphere, the oceans and ice. We bring it all together in the last programme, where we look at the idea that these forces work in a really complex and sensitive way. What we find is that the Earth is a really amazing machine, with these fundamental processes that are being altered by humans. We talk about saving planet Earth, but actually, the story we reveal is that it's an incredibly robust survivor. But there's a difference between the survivability of the planet and the survivability of the human species. The planet isn't likely to be affected by anything that we do now because it has millions of years to adjust and adapt--as it has done in the past. There have been periods in the past where 95 per cent of life was wiped out in a geological blink of an eye.

So the prognosis for the planet is quite good, just not for humans

Who knows--the jury's out on that because [our survival] is very dependant on how we, as a society, deal with the threats that face us. What we can say is the planet has all of these coping mechanisms that served it well in the past. Geology gives us a long-term perspective that forces you not to react to every slight concern that gets raised about the planet, because you're dealing with something that has 4.5 billion years of history--it has been through a lot.

What are your main research interests?

I teach geology hazards, plate tectonics and so forth. However, my research focuses on earthquake geology and archaeology--something called archaeo-seismology--with a particular focus on the Mediterranean. Essentially, I try to find traces of past earthquakes, either in the rocks or in ruins, to try to extend our earthquake record beyond what we have from instrumental seismographs, which goes back about a century. I do this by using historical documents, as well as by examining the record held within these sites.

How do you retrieve the records held at these sites?

Sometimes it involves cutting trenches across earthquake faults, sometimes we look at coastlines, where the shores have been uplifted or dropped down by earthquakes, and other times it involves working alongside archaeologists researching [community] abandonment. What's great about this area [of research] is that I'm having to deal with a lot of human stories how geology affects people. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dr Iain Stewart
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.