“I think for all humans, there is this sense of place. Where do we live and how are we connected to it? Basically everything about where we live is on the backdrop of the earth’s surface and the tectonic environment. I mean, it controls the nature of the soils, the nature of the plants, animals, where the water is, where the resources are. To me, tectonics is fundamentally inseparable from our daily lives. Maybe not everyone sees the connection, but I think that with broader communication between scientists and the public, that connection can become much clearer. I went from physics to geophysics, and then when I was reading the course descriptions, I realized it was geology that interested me the most, especially with the types of field trips offered. I found that it integrated all of the sciences that I love, and it also had the people that I wanted to hang out with, so that is what sold me probably around the end of my sophomore year at UCLA.”
Laura Webb is an associate professor in the geology department at the University of Vermont and runs an argon geochronology lab. In order to understand the ages obtained from geochronology data, she also needs to understand the context of the mineral in the rock and the rock in the field, so she spends her time both in the field and the lab. Her lab is currently hosting a student funded by EarthScope.
Webb co-organized the November 2016 EarthScope Synthesis Workshop on developing a new community model for the 4-D evolution of North America.
—by Atleigh Forden