College of Letters and Science | Geoscience Department
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Annie Bauer is a geologist and geochronologist– she studies how the Earth became a habitable planet, from the origin and evolution of the earliest continents to the development of an oxygen-rich atmosphere. In her work, Annie uses the decay of radioactive isotopes in rocks and minerals as chronometers and tracers of major geological processes.
Considerable debate revolves around whether or not plate tectonics was in operation on the earliest Earth, or if there were other processes by which the first continents formed. Annie uses radioactive isotopes to date early crust formation and to determine the geodynamic regime in which the oldest continents were created.
Annie will describe what we know about the trajectory of atmospheric oxygen concentrations over billion-year timescales on the Earth, and how this is critical for our understanding of the evolution of complex life.