Tanya Atwater


Tanya TeachingI feel a profound delight in, love for, reverence for the natural world. My parents gave me this gift of passion and my goal is to pass it on to as many minds as I possibly can. I believe that caring involves deep familiarity and understanding. Thus, my job as a geoscience educator is to help as many students as possible to know and understand and respect our planet, i.e., to help them really care about it and act on their caring. In lecture, I used to think I wasn't a good scientist if I admitted my passion. No more. In the last few years I have adopted a style of expressing my delight along with sharing why I'm delighted - the intricate order and sense (and, sometimes, irony) of how things work - wonderful!


Tanya at NASI work in geophysics and geology, driven by a passion for maps and landforms, exploring many aspects of the theory of plate tectonics. At sea, I work with various groups on ships and in the submersible Alvin, characterizing the details of sea floor spreading centers (the lines along which all the ocean floors were created). I also contribute to the global oceanic data set and, using it, quantitatively describe the past motions of the world's plates.
   On the land, I have concentrated on the tectonic evolution of western North America. During the last 100 million years this continental edge was first a major subduction zone and then changed, gradually, to the plate-shear boundary of the San Andreas fault. I study this geometric evolution, integrating and comparing the global plate motion record with the regional continental geologic records. The emerging relationships reveal the origins of many major geologic features (e.g., Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Cascade volcanoes, California Coast Ranges).
   A vital part of my research effort concerns communication and education at all levels. I am embarked upon several projects experimenting with ways to use the power of electronic multi-media to enhance geologic visualization, understanding, and caring.

Copyright © 2008 The Regents of the University of California, All Rights Reserved
Contact webmaster@geol.ucsb.edu
• Terms of Use • Accessibility
Last Modified November 11, 2008