Getting to Know U

Estelle Chaussard

Getting to Know U

Estelle Chaussard

Hometown:
Montpellier, France
Intended Degree:
Ph.D. Marine Geology and Geophysics

Estelle Chaussard

For Estelle Chaussard, geological science has always been about exploring the unknown and unexpected. “I want to work in this field because it's constantly evolving! With all the technology out there, scientists still have not come up with a definitive measurement of when or where a seismic or a volcanic event will occur,” Chaussard said. “We still have a lot to learn about the Earth.  Not to mention that studying volcanoes and earthquakes is a very unusual way to have class!”

Chaussard received her Master’s of Science in geology and geophysics (specializing in geodesy and numerical modeling) from the University of Montpellier and is now working in the Rosenstiel School’s Geodesy Lab alongside Dr. Falk Amelung. She developed a strong interest in Earth science after meeting Maurice Mattauer and Xavier LePichon, two famous French geologists. “I was so inspired by their research that I became fascinated with studying active tectonic areas. Now I’m interested in the movement of the Earth’s surface, and how to define the risks it implies in areas like Sumatra and the Cascadia subduction zone.”

Having traveled to the Pyrenees, and the volcanic Auvergne region on expeditions, Chaussard spent significant time in the French Alps conducting tectonic and glaciological fieldwork. Combining tectonic fieldwork and glaciology allows her a rare glimpse into what may have occurred over hundreds, thousands or millions of years. “In Geology, you have so much variety; you can work on things that happened millions of years ago that have relevance to major Earth processes still active today, but you can also work on short time scales in glaciology or active tectonics to see the current evolution of our planet.”

She is already scheduling her next big adventure which will take place halfway around the globe in Sumatra and which will employ Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data; a remote sensing technique that uses satellites to beam radar waves toward the Earth and records them after they’ve bounced back off the Earth's surface. “This is a relatively new and exciting area of scientific research — investigating the impact big earthquakes have on volcanic activity — and since only a few people have studied it, there is an opportunity to develop new techniques and learn a lot.”

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