Faculty Profile

Alyson Thibodeau

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences (2015)

Contact Information

thibodea@dickinson.edu

Kaufman Hall Room 133

Bio

Dr. Thibodeau uses isotopic measurements to decipher both the geologic and human past. In her research, she applies metals isotopes (Pb, Sr, Hg, U-Pb) as both tracers and chronometers of earth surface process and to questions of provenance, especially in archaeology. Her research areas include: the fate and source of trace metals (e.g. lead and mercury) in the environment, links between massive volcanism and mass extinctions in the geologic record, and determining the age of past fluid migration within potential repositories for nuclear waste. She also has an established history of collaboration with the archaeological community and applies isotopic tracers to identify or constrain the geologic sources of minerals, metals, and ceramics found in the archaeological record. To date, much of her work has focused on using isotopes to reconstruct the mining and exchange of turquoise by prehispanic groups in both the Southwest United States and Mexico.

Education

  • B.A., Amherst College, 2004
  • M.S., University of Arizona, 2006
  • Ph.D., 2012

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

ERSC 331 Geochemistry
An introduction to the origin, distribution, and behavior of elements in the geochemical cycles and processes of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Topics include the chemistry of magma, hydrothermal fluids, weathering, fresh and ocean waters, sediment digenesis, hydrocarbons, and metamorphism. Includes radiometric dating and stable isotope applications. Lab will focus on sampling, instrumental analysis, and data interpretation of earth materials. Prerequisites: 151 and CHEM 131 or 141, or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

ERSC 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch

ERSC 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch

Spring 2019

ERSC 142 Earth's Changing Climate
An overview of our understanding of climate processes and their interaction with the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere based on studies of ancient climates, which inform our understanding of climate change now and into the future. Topics include drivers of climate change at different time scales, evidence for climate change, and major climate events such as ice ages. Emphasis will be placed on the last 1 million years of earth history as a prelude to discussing potential anthropogenic impacts on the climate. Case studies of major climate “players” such as the US and China will be contrasted with those most vulnerable, Africa and SE Asia to determine mitigation and adaptation strategies. The lab component will use historic climate data, field experiences, and climate modeling to interpret climate change processes. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week.

ERSC 142 Earth's Changing Climate
An overview of our understanding of climate processes and their interaction with the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere based on studies of ancient climates, which inform our understanding of climate change now and into the future. Topics include drivers of climate change at different time scales, evidence for climate change, and major climate events such as ice ages. Emphasis will be placed on the last 1 million years of earth history as a prelude to discussing potential anthropogenic impacts on the climate. Case studies of major climate “players” such as the US and China will be contrasted with those most vulnerable, Africa and SE Asia to determine mitigation and adaptation strategies. The lab component will use historic climate data, field experiences, and climate modeling to interpret climate change processes. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week.

ERSC 321 Isotope Geochemistry
Major analytical advancements in the past two decades have revolutionized the field of isotope geochemistry and made isotopic measurements more widely available than ever before. This course will introduce students to both stable and radiogenic isotope systems and help them develop a quantitative understanding of both radioactive decay and isotopic fractionation. With the knowledge of how isotopic variations arise in nature, we will survey the use of isotopic tracers and chronometers in a variety of disciplines including: the earth and environmental sciences, archaeology, and biology. We will also examine some emerging applications of isotopic tools such as their role in tracing the trade of illegal drugs, identifying the origins of deceased migrants in border regions, revealing food sources and adulteration, and biomedicine. Prerequisite: One CHEM course or permission of instructor.