G&G Research Overview
The scientists, staff, and students of the Geology and Geophysics Department continue to advance our understanding of the interactions between Earth, ocean, and climate systems. Our core strengths lie in the geology and geophysics of ocean basins, and the underlying dynamics of the mantle that keep the tectonic plates in motion; the geochemistry of Earth systems, from processes deep within the Earth to interactions between geology and biology; climate change and its relation to ocean circulation; and coastal processes, including climatic effects on coastal systems and influences on their ever-changing morphology.
2012 Research Highlights
The Department of Geology and Geophysics (G&G) is a diverse and multidisciplinary group of researchers and technical staff who carry out research on a spectrum of topics: plate tectonics and earthquakes; the composition and dynamics of the solid earth; hydrothermal vents and seafloor volcanism; climate history and the oceans’ role in climate; ice sheet dynamics and their response to climate change; coastal geology and climate history of coasts; microbial life in extreme environments; and the impacts of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on ocean chemistry and biology. In 2012, these studies took G&G researcher from Alaska to Zambia, from the top of the Greenland ice cap to the deepest, hottest hydrothermal vents yet discovered, near the Cayman Islands, and from Antarctica to the coral reefs of Palau and the Phoenix Islands in the Western Equatorial Pacific.
This was a quiet year for G&G in terms of appointments and promotions, after the burst of early 2012 activity described in last year’s annual report. Daniel McCorkle was promoted to Senior Scientist, and Senior Scientist William Curry left the Institution to become the Director of the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences. We wish Bill well - our loss was Bermuda’s gain! We are happy to recognize six G&G graduate students in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program who received Ph.D.s in 2012: Drs. Michael Krawczynski, Emily Roland Saenger, Fern Gibbons, Maya Bhatia, Camilo Ponton, and Evelyn Mervine. Finally, Senior Scientist Joan Bernhard was awarded the 2012 Robert W. Morse Chair for Excellence in Oceanography, and Research Associate Kathryn A. Rose received the 2012 Ryan C. Schrawder Award, in recognition of her contributions to research both at sea and in the lab.