Drake Passage Opening
Meet the Team
Teacher - Katie Pena
Katie Peña currently teaches at Zilker Elementary School in Austin, Texas. This is her 4th year of teaching at the school where she has taught both the 4th and 5th grades. A graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor in Science in Applied Learning and Development, Katie has always known she wanted to be a teacher. As far back as 3rd grade in Coppell, Texas, her teacher, Mrs. Howard, whose picture she still has, inspired her by changing her attitude about school and challenging her to have fun while learning. Mrs. Howard had changed Katie’s life, and she knew that she wanted to do the same for other children. Since becoming a teacher, Katie has continued her quest to help every child find joy in learning. Her daily goals for teaching are very simple, teach to each child and have a blast while doing it.
Researcher - Lawrence Lawver
Lawrence Lawver is a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas in Austin. Lawrence’s scientific expertise focuses on marine geophysics, plate tectonics, and seismic studies. He has a particular interest in the paleogeographic reconstruction of underwater landmasses, particularly in the Polar Regions where the impact of plate tectonics and the evolution of landmasses is not well known. His research has taken him too the Polar Regions, East Asia, and the Western Pacific. Lawrence has hosted teachers on his field expeditions in the past. In 2006, Steve Stevenoski accompanied Lawrence on expedition to the Arctic aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy.
Researcher - Ian Dalziel
Ian W.D. Dalziel is a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas in Austin. Ian has dedicated most of his career to understanding global tectonic processes and to mapping out the geography of ancient times on a dynamic Earth. His 35 years of field experience have been devoted to work in the British Caledonides, the Canadian Shield, the Andes, and Antarctica. Recently, working with colleagues from the U.K. and Australia, Ian has turned his attention to unraveling the complicated tectonic history of Scotland, his homeland. Ian was president of the International Division of Geological Society of America from 1996 to 1997, has served as delegate to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research of International Union of Geological Sciences since 1987, and has served as the International Secretary of the American Geophysical Union since 1996.
Where are They?
The team traveled to and from Punta Arenas, Chile, where they boarded the research icebreaker Nathanial B. Palmer. From Punta Arenas, Chile, they traveled to the opening of the Drake Passage, between South America and Antarctica and into the Southern Ocean. Click here to learn more about icebreaker.
A special thanks to Sarah Anderson and Lollie Garay for use of their photos on this project page.
What are they Doing?
This project studies the opening of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica through a combined marine geophysical survey and geochemical study of dredged ocean floor basalts. Dating the passage's opening is key to understanding the formation of the circum-Antarctic current, which plays a major role in worldwide ocean circulation, and whose formation is connected with growth of the Antarctic ice sheet. The samples that were collected will be used in various geochemical studies to determine their age and constrain mantle flow beneath the region.
The research team included graduate students, as well as undergraduate students, and a K-12 teacher. The cruise also involved international collaboration with the United Kingdom and is part of International Polar Year project, Plates and Gates, which aims to reconstruct the geologic history of polar ocean basins and gateways for computer simulations of climate change. Click here to learn more about the international work.