Celebrating 50 Years of Eldridge Moores at UC Davis

Eldridge Moores and his former students.
Eldridge Moores (far left) and his former students.

Marking 50 years of contributions to UC Davis, faculty and alumni of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences feted UC Davis geologist Eldridge Moores during a weekend of events on June 3-5, 2016. Eldridge is a pioneer of the plate tectonics revolution that transformed earth science in the 1960s. 2016 marks Moores’ golden anniversary at UC Davis. Nearly 100 faculty, alumni and friends gathered for seminars and social hours on Friday and Saturday, followed by a Sunday field trip.

Moores is best known for his groundbreaking field work in Greece and Cyprus, which showed that ophiolites are slivers of oceanic crust shoved onto land by the movement of tectonic plates.

“Eldridge was a key person in me understanding not just the local geology [of California], but global tectonics as well,” said Robert Stern (B.S. ’74).

Moores joined UC Davis in 1966, helping to develop the department into an internationally-recognized program. Throughout his career, Moores worked to increase public interest in geology, including a campaign to add honors earth science in California’s high school curricula. He played a key role in John McPhee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series, “Annals of the Former World,” which chronicles the geology along U.S. Interstate 80. Moores also played cello in the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra for 28 years and has served on the College of Letters and Science’s Deans Advisory Council since 2014.

“He is a true renaissance man. He’s a scientist, he’s a musician, he’s a scholar, an amateur historian, and he’s a citizen of the world. The way he approaches life is something that’s really inspired me in my own work,” said Jeff Unruh (B.S. ’85, Ph.D. ’90).

— Becky Oskin, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science