Dr. Jacqueline Halpin is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and Adjunct Researcher in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits (CODES) and Earth Sciences at the University of Tasmania. Dr. Halpin joined Geological Magazine in late 2017 as an editorial board member.

Dr. Jacqueline Halpin

Q: Your own research focuses on the evolution of supercontinents and the tectonic processes integral to their formation and break-up. This research has connected you to regions across the globe—Antarctica, Vietnam, New Zealand, central Africa, and of course, to Tasmania, where you are based now at the University of Tasmania. What do you think is some of the most exciting research going on in your field?

JH: With huge advances in analytical developments and deep Earth sensing, geological processes and properties from the tiny sub-grain size and to the planet-scale are being explored with amazing resolution. There’s so much to learn, and the most exciting part is probably about integrating across these scales and through deep time. Also, there’s an increasing recognition that our planet is part of a living Earth Science system, with rhythms and feedbacks that we are still only starting to appreciate.


Q: Where do you think your field is headed next? Or where do you think it should go?

JH: I think that there’s so much opportunity to integrate across the interface of “traditional” fields. This is very apparent at conferences nowadays where I am constantly running between sessions because there is so much relevant science to digest! I think that a multidisciplinary approach to Earth Science research is the way that the most innovative discoveries will continue to be made. For example, I’m currently working with geophysicists, palaeoceanographers and glaciologists in Antarctica to understand the forcings and feedbacks between the subglacial geology and the overlying icesheet (https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017GL073596) through glacial cycles in the past and at the present day, and to help better predict how the Antarctic icesheet will respond to a warmer future.


Q: What was it that first attracted you to study and research geology, and is it the same thing that motivates you now?

JH: I have always loved being out in the landscape – it is where I feel most inspired and calm. I’m sure it was family holidays into the Australian bush and outback as a child that sparked that love, and heading to university it seemed that a career that could combine a deeper understanding of the workings of the planet with adventures outside was the path for me! That sense of wonder and joy in discovery is definitely a large part of my continued motivation.


Recently, Dr. Halpin and her research group showcased some of their newest results at the 2018 Australian Geoscience Council Convention in Adelaide held during Earth Science Week. Related research published last year by Halpin and her colleagues is featured in Nature Scientific Reports, Gondwana Research , and Geophysical Research Letters. In addition to her active research, Halpin serves as the current Treasurer for the Geological Society of Australia Tasmania Division and regularly contributes to the scientific commissions on Antarctic Research Solid Earth Response and Influence on Cryospheric Evolution (SCAR SERCE) Steering Committee and the Antarctic Research GeoMap Action Group.

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