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Claire McKinley

Dr Claire McKinley, Research Associate, University of Washington

"The best part of my job is learning about why the Earth is the way it is, and finding as many ways as possible to share that with others

Claire is a geochemist. This means she studies the chemical make up of the earth and its rocks and minerals, both now and in the past.

She first became interested in geochemistry when she volunteered to help out as Soil Leader at Outdoor School, a science camp where students learn about soil water, plants and animals in the outdoors.

Now, after multiple years of study at University, she studies marine sediments and water trapped in the sediment to reconstruct the history of the ocean in the deep past and figure out how changes in the sediment correspond to changes in the water above it. Piecing this together can help us learn more about the ocean’s role in our climate.

She is extremely passionate about sharing her science with others and really enjoys helping people take their observations about the world and turn them into an understanding of the Earth and the many scientific processes that occur..

Claire is sailing on the US research vessel Rodger Revelle which is studying what fluid conditions generate earthquakes at the Hikurangi subduction zone, as fluid conditions affect the likelihood and type of earthquakes that occur at faults. Her research will help us understand why earthquakes occur where they do.