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Faculty Profile

Alyson Thibodeau

Associate Professor of Earth Sciences (2015)

Contact Information

Kaufman Hall Room 133


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.


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

2021-2022 Academic Year

Fall 2021

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ERSC 151 Foundations of Earth Sciences
How do mountains and oceans form? Why do the positions of continents shift? Can rocks bend or flow? What is the history of life on our planet? This course explores the materials that make up the Earth and the processes that shape it, both at and below the surface. Students will take field trips around the Carlisle area as well as complete analytical and computer laboratory activities in order to acquire basic field, laboratory, and computer modelling skills. This course serves as a gateway to the Earth Sciences major, but is also appropriate for non-majors. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week.