STEM Shoutout: Dr. Laura Crossey

Earth and Planetary Sciences professor paper featured on May’s cover of Geology Magazine


Dr. Laura Crossey, a professor in UNM’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was recently featured alongside her research team in May’s Geology Magazine for their work in Grand Canyon. A photograph taken by Crossey during the research made the cover of the magazine’s May issue, as well as a second paper she worked on.

Geology Magazine focuses on timely, innovative, and provocative articles representing research from all fields of geosciences, and it’s unusual to have two papers published in the same issue. 

“We were really fortunate to get our articles through the review process and have them be able to both come out on the same issue,” Crossey said.

Her team’s paper “Redefining the Tonto Group of Grand Canyon and recalibrating the Cambrian time scale: Geology” redefines the timing of the Cambrian explosion and trilobite evolution based on rocks exposed in the  Grand Canyon and is featured on the cover.

“We made a pretty big change in understanding the age of these rocks and how long it took to deposit these iconic layers in the Grand Canyon,” Crossey said. 

Geology Magazine averages 20-25 articles per issue, but “when you get to have the cover, that’s extra fun and it draws more attention to your work,” Crossey said.

The second paper in the journal, “Asynchronous trilobite extinctions at the early to middle Cambrian transition” addresses an improved understanding of the evolution of the early to middle Cambrian Earth system.

Crossey and her team plan to keep researching in the Grand Canyon. “We are excited, we just got funded for three more years [with a NSF grant],” Crossey said.

The grant includes the University of New Mexico, Boise State University, and Utah State University and the Denver Museum of Natural History. “Our work will involve accessing and studying these rocks in more detail in Grand Canyon, as well as rocks of the same age in the western US. We will be combining paleontology and geochronology. As with the majority of our research, both graduate and undergraduate students will be engaged with the work,” Crossey said.


Geology Cover_Laura Crossey STEM Shoutout