RICHARDSON, Texas (May 20, 2004) – A member of the geosciences faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is helping organize a National Science Foundation (NSF) workshop in Ethiopia this summer to develop a strategy for conducting scientific research of important African geologic features – the East African Rift and the Afar Depression.
Dr. Mohamed Abdelsalam, an assistant professor in UTD’s Geosciences Department, is among a group of six scientists from the United States, Africa and Europe that is planning the meeting, to be held June 24-26 in Addis Ababa.
“This is a region of great significance to the international geologic community because this is where processes of continental rupture and seafloor spreading can be studied on land,” Abdelsalam said.
The East African Rift is part of an enormous geologic feature called the Great Rift Valley, a 6,000-mile-long crack in the earth’s crust, stretching from the Middle East to Mozambique. A portion of that rift system, known as the Afar Depression, is the site of a so-called “triple junction” where three tectonic plates of the earth’s crust are moving away from each other. Many scientists believe that in a few million years, eastern Africa could split off from the rest of the continent to form a new landmass.
Next month’s workshop is expected to attract 15 scientists and graduate students from eight universities and national laboratories in the United States, 15 scientists from seven European countries and another 15 scientists from six African countries.
The workshop is being sponsored by the International Office of NSF. NSF funding for the workshop is shared between UTD and the University of Missouri-Rolla, with UTD taking the lead role in organizing the event.
A member of UTD’s Center for Lithospheric Studies, Abdelsalam has conducted research involving geoscientific applications of remote sensing, Precambrian geology and the geology of Africa.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 13,700 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.