A couple of months ago, we posted a piece about OCW’s new Introduction to Geology course, taught by Professors Taylor Perron and Oliver Jagoutz, and featuring extensive commentary from the instructors about teaching the course. Both professors have been in the news this week.

A crowd of students around a map; a geologist points to the map.

Prof. Jagoutz on a field trip with the introductory geology class. Photo courtesy of Taylor Perron; used with permission.

MIT News published a profile of Taylor Perron, detailing his background and recent research into how landscapes evolve on Earth and beyond:

…[Perron] uses a combination of fieldwork and computational tools to explore the shifting topography of river networks on Earth, as well as elsewhere in the solar system. For instance, he and his group have used data collected by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft to study landforms on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

“As you might expect, you see some things that are totally foreign, like nothing you see on Earth,” Perron says. “But the thing that has fascinated me is that you see a lot of other things that look almost exactly like what you see on Earth. That tells you there are some processes — despite the difference in gravity, atmospheric composition, and surface age — that are universal.”

Oliver Jagoutz is coauthor of a paper that explains the mystery of India’s rapid move toward Eurasia 80 million years ago.  MIT News reported on this paper:

Based on the geologic record, India’s migration appears to have started about 120 million years ago, when Gondwana began to break apart. India was sent adrift across what was then the Tethys Ocean — an immense body of water that separated Gondwana from Eurasia. India drifted along at an unremarkable 40 millimeters per year until about 80 million years ago, when it suddenly sped up to 150 millimeters per year. India kept up this velocity for another 30 million years before hitting the brakes — just when the continent collided with Eurasia.

Take this opportunity to learn more about the fascinating world we inhabit from faculty who are pushing the boundaries of what is known; discover more in Introduction to Geology!