Geologist Gary Griggs to speak on natural disasters at Rio Theater on January 19

'Perils in Paradise' talk will give a brief history of geology and natural disasters in Santa Cruz County

Gary Griggs
Gary Griggs

UC Santa Cruz geologist Gary Griggs will give a public lecture on the Santa Cruz region's history of natural disasters on Thursday, January 19, at 7 p.m. at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz. Presented by the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Griggs' talk is entitled "Perils in Paradise: A brief history of geology and natural disasters in Santa Cruz County." Admission is $10 for museum members, $15 general admission, and $30 for "gold circle" seating.

The Santa Cruz region has a long history of natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and coastal erosion. In his talk, Griggs will consider what the region's past can tell us about its future. The landscape that has drawn people to Santa Cruz for decades is shaped by the same geological processes and climate that have periodically wreaked havoc on the community. Paradise comes with a price, Griggs says, and climate change may be raising the ante.

A distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences, Griggs directs the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. His research and teaching have focused on the coast of California for nearly half a century and include processes, hazards, and the impacts of sea-level rise. The author of eight books, he has been writing a column for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, 'Our Ocean Backyard,' for the past 9 years.

Griggs received his B.A. in geological sciences from UC Santa Barbara and Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1968 and has received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSC Alumni Association and Outstanding Faculty Award from the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences. The California Coastal Commission and Sunset Magazine named him one of California's Coastal Heroes in 2009.