Seismic waves flow through Earth’s solid and liquid material differently, allowing Earth scientists to determine various aspects of the composition of the Earth’s interior. Broadband seismology looks at a broad spectrum of waves for high-resolution imaging. Lara Wagner collects this data from continental areas of the planet that have not been studied before to better understand the elastic properties of Earth’s crust and upper mantle, the rigid region called the lithosphere.
By its nature seismology is indirect research and has limitations for interpreting features like temperature, melting, and exact composition. So Wagner looks at the bigger picture. She integrates her data with mineral physics and geochemistry, putting her seismological results in the broader geological context.
In addition to her observational work, Wagner is involved in developing new seismometer technologies and strategies to improve the quality of data. She is the newest Carnegie Earth scientist joining the staff the fall of 2014. However, she is not new to Carnegie. She was a postdoctoral fellow from 2005 to 2007.
Before joining Carnegie as a staff member Wagner was an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in history and sociology at Columbia University and her Ph. D. at the University of Arizona. She received the American Geophysical Union’s Outstanding Student Paper Award in 2004; she won the Walter H. Wheeler Faculty Teaching Award in 2012; and was the Incorporated Research Institutions of Seismology/Seismology Society of America Distinguished Lecturer in 2013. For more information see https://dtm.carnegiescience.edu/people/lara-s-wagner