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Andrew Alden

New MacArthur Awardee Is a Geochemist

By October 2, 2012

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This year's MacArthur Foundation grants have been announced, and they include a geochemist, Terry Plank, a professor at Columbia University. Dr. Plank gets a grant of $100,000 per year for five years.

To me the announcement is surprisingly vague, but I can translate it into geologese: Plank concentrates on subduction zones, using trace elements to document crustal recycling, geothermometry to constrain magmagenesis and volatile-bearing minerals to analyze the chemical budgets of subduction zones. Her faculty home page notes that she received the Donath Medal from the Geological Society of America, awarded to exceptional early-career scientists. She's worked at sea, in the volcanic arc of Central America and in the extensional Basin and Range province in the United States. Her personal faculty site shows Plank to be an energetic, enterprising and insightful researcher working at the heart of her field.

Background articles:
About subduction
The subduction magma factory
More about plate tectonics

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