Helen is a Paleoceanographer, which means she studies the history of oceans looking at things like biology, chemistry and changes in the currents.
Helen became a geologist because growing up she wanted to be an explorer and loved the outdoors. The oceans are the final frontier that need exploring because we know very little about them.
To undertake her work she uses sediment cores, which are like time machines with the youngest sediment at the top and the oldest sediment as you go down the core.
Helen is going to be working on microfossils called foraminifera (they look a little bit like tiny popcorn) in the long sediment core U1520. She will be measuring the chemistry of these fossils to understand past changes in sea level, and changes in the ocean currents. This will provide important information about the age of the sediments. When combined with the information about volcanic eruptions (from tephra deposits in the sediments) and earthquake events this will help us answer the question whether climate change influences these geological events.
Her work is important for understanding how the oceans have changed, and what that means for the future. Her research will help us understand past global climate change, and other regional environmental and geological changes.
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