B.A., Smith College; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
Margaret D. ThompsonProfessor Emerita of Geosciences
Retired from teaching at Wellesley, now pursuing full-time research with collaborators at MIT, University of Massachusetts and Acadia University (NS). Outreach to students and adults.
During more than 30 years at Wellesley College, I taught and advised undergraduate women and involved them in my research on rock sequences around Boston. These sequences, part of a tectonic belt stretching to and named after the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, were not part of North America when they formed some 700-600 million years ago.
Since retiring from teaching in Fall, 2007, I have continued working to unravel Avalonia’s original geographic position and its subsequent drift history en route to collision with North America. This effort integrates magnetic constraints on geographic position (generated by Wellesley alumna Anne M. Grunow, Ohio State University) with precise U-Pb isotopic dates that I obtain through a research affiliation with Sam Bowring’s Radiogenic Isotope Lab at MIT.
I have recently completed a new bedrock map of the Boston area that integrates information from surface mapping as well as subsurface sections in Massachusetts Water Resources Authority tunnels and core borings. At the request of the Massachusetts State Geologist, I compiled a representative set of borings from the Central Artery Tunnel Project (Boston’s famous “Big Dig”) to be preserved as public records. I am also contributing to a bedrock map of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, another state-sponsored project.
I chaired the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America in 2005, was elected GSA Fellow in 2008, and until 2011 served as an Associate Editor of the GSA Bulletin. Other service includes Advisory Board for the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary and the Wetland Protection Committee in the Town of Wellesley. I assembled the field trip program and guidebook for the 106th Annual Meeting of the New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference meeting at Wellesley in October 2014, and I continue to organize the Geosciences Department seminar series.