Geology & Environmental Science Faculty Member

Anna M. Courtier


Professional Information
  • Title: Assistant Professor, Geophysics

  • Educational Background:
        BS University of Wisconsin, 2002
        PhD University of Minnesota, 2008
  • CV (pdf)

Contact Information


GEOL110L: Physical Geology Lab
GEOL398: Geophysics and Geochemistry of Hawaii from Top to Bottom
GEOL440: Geophysics
GEOL442: Field Geophysics
GSCI101: Physics, Chemistry, and the Human Experience
GSCI104: Geology and Cinema

Research Interests

As a structural seismologist, I am interested in connecting geophysical observations with geologic and geodynamic processes.  While technically "remote" sensing, the field of seismology and its tools provide the most "direct" geophysical observations of the geology of Earth's interior, and these observations provide links to the fields of tectonics, mineral physics, and geodynamics.  My research studies the structure of the Earth's mantle and focuses on the information that can be learned from analyzing both the boundaries at the top and bottom of the mantle (the lithosphere and core-mantle boundary) as well as boundaries within the mantle (mantle discontinuities). Concentrating on these regions provides details about mantle convection - the engine that drives plate tectonics, controls geochemical cycling, and rejuvenates the Earth's surface. At the upper and lower boundaries, lithospheric, upper mantle, and deep mantle studies describe mantle flow associated with tectonic plate motions and the influence of subduction and subducted slabs, in addition to providing details on the general form of convection. Within the mantle, discontinuities in density and seismic velocity result from abrupt changes in composition and state and are important both for their influence on mantle convection and for what they can tell us about that system.