Dr. Lindsay Lowe Worthington recently received a $154,689 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the Earth’s structure. Her work aims to understand deformation of the Earth’s crust, glacial history of high latitude continental margins, and faulting and seismic hazards.
Worthington, of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, works to understand the interplay of tectonics and magmatism during continental breakup.
“The history of the supercontinent Pangea tells us that continents break apart to form new ocean basins, but we don’t know how or why. Tectonic plates are too strong to break apart just by stretching them, so we know that magmatism must play a role in weakening the Earth’s crust and upper mantle and facilitating continental breakup, “ she said.
With collaborators at Southern Methodist University and graduate students at UNM, Worthington is analyzing the crust and upper mantle structure of the east coast of the United States using both onshore and offshore seismological data across the coastal plains and continental shelf and slope of North Carolina. She hopes to quantify crustal extension and map potential magmatic emplacement across the margin to understand the interplay of tectonics and magmatism during continental breakup.