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Press Release:


FAU’s Frontiers in Science Spring Lecture Series Presents ‘The Growth and Development of the Florida Peninsula as Illustrated by Simulated Space Shuttle Photography’

BOCA RATON, FL (February 24, 2009) – Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will continue its 2009 Spring Frontiers in Science public lecture series with a presentation by Drs. Edward Petuch and Charles Roberts, professors in the College’s department of geosciences.   Petuch and Roberts will present “The Growth and Development of the Florida Peninsula as Illustrated by Simulated Space Shuttle Photography” on Friday, February 27 at 3:30 p.m. in FAU’s General Classroom North building, Room 101, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

In their presentation, Petuch and Roberts will discuss and show a geovisualization of the origin and evolution of the Everglades as seen from space, from the first primitive reef systems 40 million years ago, through the effects of the Chesapeake Bay asteroid impact to the modern era via a series of simulated space shuttle images.   They also will discuss and illustrate many of the bizarre creatures living there.

 The presentation will culminate with the viewing of an animated map of the development of the Floridian Peninsula from the Eocene Epoch to 1986.   This geovisualization represents a new dialogue with the past that was not possible in the pre-computer era of static paper maps.   Petuch and Roberts, authors of the book The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas , also will show and describe more than 50 new prehistoric Floridian landforms.

“Geovisualization involves new ways of exploring spatial data, formerly represented by maps and satellite imagery,” said Roberts. “As the paleoenvironments were described and images created, a synergistic process of re-examining data and literature, and reforming ideas about past environments and how they should look, resulted in many images of past environments and many iterations of each image.”

“Our interactive research has shown that the Everglades represent the second largest coral reef tract ever discovered on earth,” said Petuch. “The research has also shown that mega tsunamis resulting from the Chesapeake Bay asteroid impact removed large sections of the Floridian Peninsula and the scars are still present below the Everglades.”

This lecture is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Charles . E. Schmidt College of Science and supported by FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society Endowed Professorship.

            The reception that follows the program is made possible by the Warren Lloyd Holtzman Seed Grant, a component of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.

For more information, contact Patsy Jones at 561-297-1307 or


Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts ten colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Barry Kaye College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College,  the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.   

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