GEAS Women who study the Earth

Women who study the Earth Rosa María Mateos & Ana Ruiz Constán Illustrated by Nívola Uyá GEAS

GEAS Women who study the Earth © Text Rosa María Mateos and Ana Ruiz Constán © Illustrations Nívola Uyá Original title in Spanish GEAS Mujeres que estudian la Tierra English translation by Lynsey MacLeary, Sofía Barragán Montilla, Isabella Michelle Sulvarán, Daniela Navarro Pérez and Mónica Alejandra Gómez Correa. Summer 2021

Rosa María Mateos & Ana Ruiz Constán Illustrated by Nívola Uyá Women who study the Earth GEAS

Acknowledgements The commission Women and Geology of the Geological Society of Spain (SGE) , the Association of Ibero-American Services for Geology and Mining (ASGMI) and the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) made it possible for the first version of this publication to see the light of day in Spanish and English. We would also like to thank EIT Raw Materials , which funds the European Project ENGIE: Encouraging Girls to Study Geosciences and Engineering ; and the GeoLatinas leaders Lynsey MacLeary, Sofía Barragán Montilla, Isabella Michelle Sulvarán, Daniela Navarro Pérez and Mónica Alejandra Gómez Correa for their support in translating GEAS into English. We trust that, through this sisterhood, the lives of these twelve pioneers of geology will become known around the world. Comisión Mujeres y Geología Sociedad Geológica de España

1 Mary Anning | UK | Palaeontology | 1799-1847 2 Florence Bascom | USA | Petrology and Teaching |1862-1945 3 Inge Lehmann | Denmark | Geophysics | 1888-1993 4 Marguerite Thomas Williams | USA | Sedimentology | 1895-1991 5 Dorothy Hill | Australia | Palaeontology | 1907-1997 6 Mary Leakey | UK | Palaeoanthropology | 1913-1996 7 Mareta Nelle West | USA | Planetary Geology | 1915-1998 8 Marie Tharp | USA | Mapping | 1920-2006 9 Carmina Virgili | Spain | Stratigraphy and Policy |1927-2014 10 María Fernanda Campa Uranga | Mexico | Engineering Geology and Policy | 1940-2019 11 Katia Kraft | France | Volcanology and Georisks | 1942-1991 12 Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan | USA | Marine and Planetary Geology | 1951 Woman | Country | Area of Expertise | Lifetime

There are stories that we do not find in any official history and that can only be liberated by listening closely and paying attention to the whispers of women. Rosa Montero

Prologue Geology is the science that explores the Earth, that digs up its insides to uncover the shakes and shifts that our planet has experienced through time. Since our origins, humans have felt attracted to the mysteries hidden by this squashed sphere, this blue dot in space. And although curiosity and talent transcend gender barriers, history has omitted without hesitation the contributions of remarkable women who not only faced the unknown but also stood up to the stereotypes and social conventions of their time. With GEAS: Women who study the Earth (‘ Mujeres que estudian la Tierra ’ in Spanish), we will travel through time to give voices to 12 women geologists of different times, historical contexts and nationalities, but all with something in common: they made an indelible mark on the strata of our knowledge. These twelve women challenged the society of their time to advance along the difficult and demanding path of science. We will start our journey with the misfortunes of Mary Anning during the dawn of the 19th century; we will witness the revolutionary advances made during the 20th century; and we will end floating in space hand in hand with Kathryn Dwyer during the 21st century. It is an irrefutable reality that we have learned to become geologists without their influence; we have grown without knowing their names and we have developed our scientific careers without these feminine role models. The time has come to bring them to the light, to dust off the history books, to write the missing lines detailing their successes, deeds and discoveries.

The profiles and fields of expertise gathered by GEAS are diverse and echo not only scientific merits and accomplishments. Some of our main characters, like la Chata Campa, Carmina Virgili and Kathryn Dwyer, were women with a great social conscience, leaving an important mark on the politics of their time. Others, like Florence Bascom or Mary Leakey, played a fundamental role in transmitting knowledge to future generations, and particularly to women. Nívola Uyà has managed to capture in her illustrations the souls and diversity of these ladies of the hammer and the compass. The pioneers are presented to our eyes in the middle of their work, authentic, full of nuance and surrounded by a multitude of details disguised in earthly, oceanic and stellar brushstrokes. Certainly, the veteran women scientists that encounter GEAS will see themselves described in these pages in many places. All of them, known and anonymous, have made and continue to make possible the unstoppable advance of women’s rights in science. To the young readers, who someday will transmit this knowledge to others, we offer the wise advice of the Australian geologist Dorothy Hill: ‘Do not wait for the world to offer you what you might think to be your due.’ Rosa María Mateos & Ana Ruiz Constán

Rosa María Mateos Biographies of Florence Bascom, Marguerite Thomas Williams, Dorothy Hill, Mary Leakey, María Fernanda Campa Uranga and Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan. Ana Ruiz Constán Biographies of Mary Anning, Inge Lehmann, Mareta Nelle West, Marie Tharp, Carmina Virgili and Katia Kraft. Translating GEAS into English. Lynsey MacLeary Coordination Sofía Barragán Montilla Mary Anning, Florence Bascom, Marie Tharp. Isabella Michelle Sulvarán Marguerite Thomas Williams, Katia Kraft. Daniela Navarro Pérez Mary Leakey, Mareta Nelle West, María Fernanda Campa Uranga, Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan. Mónica Alejandra Gómez Correa Inge Lehmann, Dorothy Hill, Carmina Virgili.

Mary Anning An unusual life carved in stone At the beginning of the 19th century, when collecting fossils was nothing but a hobby and palaeontology did not yet exist as a science, a single, low-class woman with no education made findings that placed her firmly at the centre of debates within the scientific elite. During those years, the fundamentals of geology were being laid down within the recently created Geological Society of London (1807), a select club that never accepted as a member ‘ the mother of palaeontology ’, or any other woman, until 1919. Mary Anning was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, a coastal town in England that was located near the Equator and covered by the waters of a tropical sea 200 million years previously. The rocks from the cliffs where Mary lived are rich in Jurassic fossils, which Mary’s father collected to supplement the family income. His sudden death, when Mary was only 11 years old, meant that the family had to sell curiosities (such as ammonoids and belemnites) to survive. Of the 10 children from the marriage, only Mary and her brother Joseph survived their childhood. Fortune smiled on them when Joseph found the skull of what seemed to be a crocodile. After a year of constant searching, Mary managed to uncover the remains of a strange creature more than 5 metres long: the first Ichthyosaur. The marine reptile caught the attention of the scientific circles of London, and the Anning family’s reputation spread. However, their income was little and their occupation dangerous. It required them to walk under cliffs where rocks fell, and Joseph left the profession. In 1820, Mary found the skeleton of a new marine reptile, a Plesiosaurus. Its neck was extremely long and raised the suspicion of the anatomist Georges Cuvier, who suggested it was a falsification. Once the controversy was settled, and Cuvier corrected, Mary’s store started to receive visits from international geologists and collectors. She learned about fossils on her own: she copied scientific articles, drew illustrations, dissected fishes and cuttlefish…However, her contemporaries credited her findings to a divine favour, because at only one year old she had miraculously survived a lightning strike. Mary was aware that the ’ gentlemen of science ’ used her to gain prestige without crediting her and the situation remained thus until 1828, when she found the first Pterosaur skeleton outside Germany and the geologist William Buckland attributed the finding to her. Anning died from cancer at a young age, at only 47 years old. Her findings evidenced that the Earth was inhabited previously by vastly different species, questioning creationist theories and forming the foundation of the theory of evolution that Darwin would formulate 50 years later. Although she worked at a distance from formal institutions, her name was recorded by some of those institutions. A Lyme Regis church made a stained-glass window in her honour, ‘ commemorating her ability to promote the Science of Geology’ , and the Geological Society of London published a panegyric, the first dedicated to a woman and the only panegyric honouring a non-member of the Society. The humble Mary Anning managed to go down in history. The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone. 15

Florence Bascom The geologist that led the way Despite her fragile exterior, that of a muse of Romanticism, Florence Bascom was a modern and singular woman. In fact, she completely shattered the glass ceiling of the American scientific societies, opening a window for all of us women geologists who came after. Florence was the daughter of a suffragist and vocational guide andwas born in the green town ofWilliamstown (Massachusetts) on 14th July 1862. As a child, Florence exhibited a remarkable aptitude for studying and observation and a natural curiosity for nature. At 25 years old, she was already a graduate in arts and letters, and in sciences, and had a Master of Science degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin. All these successes were accomplished despite numerous difficulties, as she was forbidden to access the library or attend certain classes that were exclusively for men. Florence Bascom was so passionate about Earth sciences that she wanted to go even further. She obtained a PhD in geology in 1893 from Johns Hopkins University, receiving tuition behind a screen so that she would not distract her classmates. Her thesis was significant, and she overturned the findings of numerous previous investigations. Florence not only set in motion new techniques in the study of rocks (petrography), but also reclassified a handful of rocks and minerals that were not what they seemed to be. Florence’s dissertation was so brilliantly presented that she was chosen as a member of the Geological Society of America, only the second woman to achieve this status. However, other barriers remained for her to break down. Her remarkable advances in the fields of crystallography, mineralogy and petrography draw the attention of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) who, for the first time in their history, signed up a woman. Miss Bascom ‘ rolled up her skirts ’ to study the outcrops of the Appalachian Mountains, the Atlantic coast of North America and the intriguing hydrothermal deposits of Yellowstone, leading cutting-edge research teams. Her scientific work was such that the publication American Men of Science regarded her as a four-star geologist in 1906. But Florence’s most important defining feature was her ‘ godmothering ’: her determination to train future women geologists and expand the American field by planting the first seeds of what would be a brilliant generation of women. At the dawn of the 20th century, Florence Bascom set in motion this chain that continues to be built step by step, combining the experience of the pioneers with the dreams of the novices. Her name remains for posterity in a beautiful crater of Venus, in an asteroid currently orbiting the Solar System and within the cold waters of a glacial lake in Wisconsin. The fascination of any search after truth lies not in the attainment … but in the pursuit. 16

Inge Lehmann The beating of the Earth’s solid heart The invention of the modern seismograph in 1880 caused previous speculation about the Earth’s interior to fall like a house of cards. During that same decade, when science was still hostile territory for women, a scientist was born who would solve the last great unknown: the structure of the Earth’s core. In 1888, a prominent Copenhagen family welcomed (without realising) its most illustrious member: Inge Lehmann. This girl was educated in the egalitarian environment of a mixed and progressive school. This environment, anomalous for the time, pushed Inge to develop to her full potential, but could not prevent her from coming face to face with reality in the coming years. She studied mathematics at the universities of Copenhagen and Cambridge. After graduating, she started working in an insurance office until, in 1925, she was hired to set up the first seismological observatories in Denmark and Greenland. In this fortuitous way, she specialised in seismology in a country that was practically aseismic but, as she would later learn, ideally located for recording earthquakes in geologically active and distant areas of the Earth, such as the South Pacific. In 1927, she spent time at research centres in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, which brought her into contact with experts of the time such as Beno Gutenberg. After her European sojourn, Inge was appointed the first Head of the Seismology Department of the Royal Danish Geodetic Institute. She was in charge of maintaining and repairing equipment, interpreting seismograms and publishing data bulletins. She worked practically alone, which gave her an unrivalled knowledge of the patterns of seismic waves passing through the Earth. Although it was not her job to do scientific work, Inge was intrigued by the fact that P-waves did not behave in a way that was consistent with the previously known structure of the Earth. She began to suspect that something else was lurking in the Earth’s liquid core as she observed the different patterns of deflection and velocity change experienced by waves that managed to pass through the core. In 1929, a major earthquake in New Zealand gave her the key to the problem. After years of painstaking analysis, in 1936 she published a paper whose brief title (P’) gave no hint of the revolution it would produce. In it, Inge described a new seismic discontinuity in the Earth’s structure, a new boundary separating the well-known liquid outer core from an unknown solid inner core. After this great achievement, Inge continued her research and became one of the world’s leading experts on the Earth’s mantle. Internationally respected, she retired from her position at the observatory in 1953 and travelled the world to help wherever she was needed. She was the first woman to receive the William Bowie Medal, the highest award in geophysics, for being ‘ the master of a black art for which a computer can never be a substitute’ ; this almost esoteric phrase reflected the painstaking analysis and rudimentary means by which Inge answered the great scientific questions of a pre-digital age. She died in 1993, at the age of 104, in aseismic Denmark. I never noticed any difference between the intellect of boys and girls, which caused me some disappointment when I realised that this was not the general attitude. 19

Marguerite Thomas Williams She had a dream The banks of the Anacostia River were a place in which numerous Indigenous tribes of North America settled. The river runs slowly through the city of Washington before finally pouring into the Potomac River, dropping its large sediment load like an offering. The fluvial dynamics of the Anacostia drainage basin were the doctoral dissertation subject of a very singular woman, Marguerite Thomas Williams, the first African American person to receive a doctorate in geology. It was the year 1942, in the middle of the Second World War, when the rights of the African American population were not yet recognised. Who would have known that, 13 years later, another Black woman, Rosa Parks, would refuse to give her bus seat to a white man and light the fire of the great African American civil rights movement. MargueriteThomasWilliams was born on Christmas Eve, 1895, inWashingtonD.C.The daughter of Henry and ClaraThomas, she was the youngest of a large family of six siblings. She enrolled in the Normal School for Colored Girls to train to be an educator, and graduated from the program in 1916, securing herself a scholarship to attend Howard University. But her interests were beyond her classroom’s windows; her mind flew across rivers, mountains, lakes and forests because young Marguerite’s true passion was nature. She worked full-time as an elementary school teacher while beginning a program at Howard University to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 1923. The African American professor and biologist Ernest Everett had a pivotal role in her career. He decided to mentor and guide two Black women through their scientific careers: Roger Arliner (the first African American woman to receive a doctorate in zoology) and Marguerite Thomas. Dr. Everett recognized Marguerite’s knack for science, her critical thinking skills, her scientific mind and her academic qualifications. Because of these qualities, Marguerite was appointed to a permanent position at Miner Teachers College, the main school where Black teachers went to get training. Years later, the college would become part of the University of the District of Columbia, where for a decade Marguerite served as the Chair of the College’s Geology Department, teaching young students that were segregated because of the colour of their skin. In her dissertation on the Anacostia River, Marguerite concluded that human activity such as deforestation, urbanization and agriculture contributed significantly to the river’s virulence and were reflected in the tragic floods observed in the Anacostia drainage system. She was not only a visionary regarding the importance of human activity as a geomorphic agent, but also awakened a new way of understanding geological processes. Sixty years after that thesis, well into the 21st century, the scientific community was finally motivated to propose a new geological period: the Anthropocene, the age of humans. While great climbers topped the world’s highest summits, including Mount Everest, with effort and perseverance a Black woman scaled an even tougher peak, to shatter prejudice, inequality and racism. Being Black, a woman and a geologist was of great daring in those post-war times. 20

Dorothy Hill The Amazon of the Coral Seas There are few geologists in the history of science who have received as many distinctions and tributes as the Australian Dorothy Hill, recognised worldwide as an authority on palaeontology. Her research focused on the fossil remains of small invertebrates that live in large colonies in tropical and subtropical seas, today representing one of the most threatened ecosystems on Earth: corals. Dorothy Hill was born on 10th September 1907 in Brisbane, a cosmopolitan city bathed by the clear waters of the Coral Sea. She was the third of seven children and grew up in a modest family with no connection to science. According to family memories, Dorothy had a keen mind and began to excel in her studies at an early age. Her school life can be summed up in a succession of scholarships and achievements that allowed her to enter (at the age of 17) the Faculty of Science at the University of Queensland. There, her original vocation for chemistry took a turn. Thanks to the influence of Professor H.C. Richards, an enthusiastic geologist much appreciated by the students, Dorothy ended up graduating in geology in 1928. And she did it in style: with a gold medal for exceptional merit. The young Hill excelled not only in her studies, but also in sports. She did athletics, swimming, rowing... And she distinguished herself in the university’s women’s hockey team. But if there is one symbolic image of Dorothy Hill, it is that of a horsewoman, since much of her field work was done on horseback. It was in this guise that she undertook her earliest research, riding through the fossil seas of Western Australia in search of carboniferous coral outcrops. Dorothy Hill went to England in 1931 after being awarded a PhD scholarship by Cambridge University. The young Australian found her way to meet the great British palaeontologists of the time. She gained a solid grounding in her subject, the palaeontology of marine invertebrates, and adopted a rigorous approach to scientific work that she applied for the rest of her life. At the same time, Dorothy’s adventurous streak ran wild in the green English countryside: she obtained a licence to fly light aircraft and, as a keen driver, took part in car races. She remained in England until 1937, accepting the urging of her beloved professor, Dr Richards, to return to her home university. Back to Australia, she began an unparalleled scientific career, not only as a researcher at the University of Queensland but also as a consultant to the oil industry, applying her advanced knowledge of stratigraphy. Her fruitful career was only interrupted during the Second World War, when Dorothy joined the Australian Naval Service to lead a message decryption and coding team. Again, the intrepid Hill. This great Amazon of geology left a huge legacy of scientific papers and publications, as well as a trail of firsts: she was the first female professor at an Australian university (1959) and the first female president of the Australian Academy of Science (1970). She died in Brisbane on 23rd April 1997. We should not expect the world to give us what we think we deserve. 23

Mary Leakey The Sun is the size of a human foot (Heraclitus) In 1871, Charles Darwin wrote the following premonitory phrase: it is very likely that our first parents lived on the African continent . Today, we know that the lowlands of the Afar region, in the wilderness of East Africa, were our cradle. We still have the sulphur atoms from the volcanoes of the Rift and the water molecules from the Blue Nile in our bodies. The first signs of this African past were revealed by a palaeoanthropologist named Mary Leakey, a century after the publication of On the Origin of Species . Mary Leakey was born in London on 6th February 1913, into a nomadic and cosmopolitan family. Her father was a wellknown watercolour painter who continually travelled the world in search of landscapes. Mary herself was eleven years old when she visited the famous Cro-Magnon cave, which aroused in the girl a great interest in anthropology and prehistory. After her father died in 1926, Mary returned to London to begin a traditional schooling that, inevitably, was a resounding failure. This woman, who in her old age had accumulated nine honoris causa doctorates, barely had any academic training; she attended only a few courses in geology and archaeology that allowed her to make her way into the universe of the scientific expeditions of the time. Curiously, Mary’s gifts for drawing, inherited from her father, opened doors for her. It was another woman, Dr. Gertrude Caton, who asked Mary to illustrate one of her works on a fossiliferous area in northern Egypt. And so it was that young Mary’s imagination was finally captured by the indomitable continent of Africa. There she also met her great love, Louis Leakey, the son of some missionaries established in Kenya who already stood out for his palaeontological work. They were married in 1936, forming a couple that wrote the most brilliant pages of science on human evolution. On the morning of 17th July 1959, in Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania), Mary identified the magnificent remains of a fossil human among the sediments. This boy, very skilled in making tools, was a whopping 1.75 million years old. Homo habilis was revealed to the world amidst great fanfare, setting in motion a traditional allocation of gender roles. While Mary remained in charge of the site, working steadily, discreetly and rigorously, Louis dedicated himself to travelling the world as the scientific star of the moment. The Leakeys managed to seduce the National Geographic Society, which became a patron of the African excavations. In 1972, after the death of Louis, Mary was definitively in charge of the investigation. This phase was remarkable for its enormous scientific production and its interest in training local experts, and for laying the foundations of a fieldwork methodology that subsequent generations have followed. Mary was bordering on old age (1978) when the greatest discovery of her career arrived: the first human footsteps, the trail of the curious monkey that got down from the trees to walk upright on the Earth. The Laetoli footprints were imprinted on the volcanic ash of Ngorongoro (Tanzania). Australopithecus afarensis , our remote ancestor, made Mary Leakey a universal legend The ashes of Mary Leakey sleep strewn over the fiery lands of Olduvai, to the lullaby of our ancestors. 24

Mareta Nelle West The moon at our feet How many times has the phrase ‘ I will give you the moon’ been used ? Mareta West did not exactly gift us the terrestrial satellite, but she studied it and selected the location in which the first astronaut placed his feet in 1969. Undoubtedly, her work was a small step for women geologists, but a great leap for humanity. Her story began 57 years earlier, in the state of Oklahoma (USA), where she was born in 1915 into a family of American pioneers. Several decades earlier, her grandparents had migrated west to settle in Indian territory, as part of the state’s repopulation of lands after the displacement of Native Americans. Mareta was raised in the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City and, at the age of 22, she received her BA in geology from the University of Oklahoma, where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She was a pioneer, not only because of her family history, but also because of her personal commitment. Early in her career, in the 1940s, Mareta worked for more than a decade as an oil geologist in the flourishing oil and gas industry. She was Oklahoma’s first female consulting geologist before becoming the first geologist hired by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Arizona in 1964. Two years earlier, in the middle of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy had delivered the speech that would kick off the American race to the Moon, whose surface and geology were still great unknowns. The challenge posed by the USA to the USSR, which until then had demonstrated its space supremacy, would make Mareta West the first woman astrogeologist. She was the only woman on NASA’s experimental geology team that prepared the first manned lunar landing: the Apollo 11 mission. She participated in the development of maps that were used for astronaut training and was responsible for mapping and marking the most suitable landing point (south of the Sea of Tranquillity) for the fragile Eagle lander, in which Armstrong and Aldrin were to travel in July 1969. Mareta wholeheartedly defended space research as a way to ‘ decipher much of what remains unknown about our own planet’ . After the return of Apollo 11, she devoted herself to studying the information, rock samples and photographs that the astronauts collected; she remained involved, until her retirement, in the evaluation and selection of landing sites for subsequent missions to the Moon and Mars. She died in 1998, almost 30 years after that great scientific and technological challenge. After her death, her ashes travelled to space, that place she dreamed of so much. Studying geology gives an excellent perspective and helps to understand that a life is just an instant in the history of our planet. 27

Marie Tharp Shining a light on the ocean floor There are times in history when individuals with apparently wild ideas break all established norms and offer us a new way of seeing and understanding the world. MarieTharp confronted bias and disdain to bring to light and colour 70% of our planet, discovering for us the mysteries that remained hidden below the waters of the oceans. Marie was born in Michigan (USA) in 1920, in a family united by their love of science and letters. She wanted to pursue literature, but only men were allowed; instead, she graduated in English and music. She was aware of what the future held for her as a woman: teacher, secretary or nurse. She chose the first option. However, in 1943, when the USA was immersed in World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the shortage of men opened doors for women in new professional fields. Marie signed up for a Master’s in petroleum geology and worked for some years in the industry as one of the first Petroleum Geology Girls . In 1948, she left her position in a petroleum company and took a chance in New York. Despite holding Master’s degrees in geology and maths, she could only apply for a drafting position at Columbia University. During the years of the Cold War, the United States government injected large amounts of money to fund the study of the oceans, and Marie dedicated herself to the company of the geologist Bruce Heezen, tracking sunken military planes. Later, they started to map the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in a collaboration that lasted 25 years. Bruce acquired the data while onboard the ship and Marie interpreted them on land, as women were forbidden to board. In 1953, while sketching the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, she discovered a crack (rift) that, according to her calculations, should be enormous. Aware that this discovery was revolutionary, she checked her results several times. Her colleague Bruce initially dismissed her findings as ‘girl talk ’; after a year of protracted discussions and the production of new pieces of evidence, he relented and recognised that the ‘girl’ was right. The discovery was significant, as it discounted the expanding Earth hypothesis and gave credibility to a theory neglected until then: continental drift. To the map of the North Atlantic were added maps of the South Atlantic, Indian and Antarctic oceans and, finally, of the whole oceanic floor (in 1977). The oceans will never again be a uniform monotonous blue spot. Her maps completely changed geological thinking and gave rise to the theory of plate tectonics. However, her contributions were silenced, and the scientific community did not recognize her findings until the 1990s. Despite this, Marie never surrendered to discouragement or resentment because she had in front of her an exciting challenge: ‘ … a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities, a fascinating jigsaw puzzle to piece together. It was a once-in-a-lifetime — a once-in-the-history-of-the-world — opportunity for anyone, but especially for a woman in the 1940s. ’ And she knew how to take advantage of this opportunity to grow. I was so busy making maps I let them argue. There’s truth in the old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. 28

Carmina Virgili i Rodón A steady path to democracy Abrupt or prolonged climate disruptions have been the trigger for five mass extinctions throughout the Earth’s history. Carmina Virgili became passionate about the largest of these, the Permian–Triassic extinction, which caused the disappearance of 96% of species some 250 million years ago. What she perhaps did not imagine, studying the rocks of that time, is that she herself would be the driving force behind important changes in our recent history. Carmina was born in 1927 into a wealthy family in Barcelona. Her parents saw to it that she received a university education when it was not yet common. She studied to be a teacher and later obtained a degree and doctorate (1956) in natural sciences from the University of Barcelona, where she worked as a lecturer. She forged a close relationship with her mother, a pharmacist, after sharing countless days in the countryside, first collecting plants and then making geological observations. On one of her outings, a countryman who saw the girl in the bush approached her and gave them the address of a seamstress who would give her a job so that she could stop doing things that were not ladylike. It was perhaps the first time, though not the last, that Carmina had to face the prejudices of being a woman in a male environment. In 1963, she became the first female professor at the University of Oviedo and the third in Spain. Her unusual and exotic presence was not well received in university cloisters that were still reluctant to allow women to enter. These difficulties failed to limit her, and she developed her leadership even under adverse conditions. In 1968, she moved to the Complutense University of Madrid, where she continued her research and teaching until she was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Geological Sciences, the first women in a Spanish faculty. She specialised in the stratigraphy of the Triassic and Permian, a time of upheaval and great change, much like the political times she lived through. In the last years of the dictatorship, Carmina was part of the clandestine socialist organisation and became involved in the changes that were taking place at the university. In 1982, she was Secretary of State for University and Research in Felipe González’s first government and drafted the University Reform Law and the Science Law. These laws were the catalyst for the obsolete Francoist university to become a more democratic university, committed to research and open to society. She resigned in 1985 due to her mother’s health problems. A few years later, she directed the Colegio de España in Paris, where she worked tirelessly in cultural dissemination and, in 1996, she resumed her political activity as a senator. Her human and scientific value enabled her to overcome much gender bias, forming a benchmark by reaching important milestones that were previously forbidden to women. Her passion for geology and her fight for democracy and freedom earned her countless prizes and awards from different universities and the governments of France and Spain. She passed away in 2014 and, with the donation of her body to science, she perpetuated beyond death her commitment to research. I am left with the small satisfaction of thinking that I contributed to creating the first shoes in which our university began the journey towards its autonomy. 31

María Fernanda Campa Uranga, la Chata Geology and revolution There are countries where geology is expressed vividly at the surface, and Mexico is one of them. Bathed by two great oceans, Mexico experiences the ravings of the five tectonic plates that stain its landscape with volcanoes, such as the colossal Popocatepetl, and great earthquakes have marked its distant past and recent history. Only in this revolutionary context could a woman like la Chata Campa emerge. María Fernanda Campa Uranga was born in Mexico City on March 22nd 1940, in the bosom of a militant and combative leftwing family. Her father, Valentín Campa, was a union leader on the railroad and spent half of his life in jail. Her mother, Consuelo Uranga ( la Roja ), was tireless in the fight for women’s rights and a tenacious defender of the workers. She was also a very cultured woman, supporting the family with her translations from French and English, as well as running several newspapers in hiding. Between books, militancy and female influence, she gradually forged the agitated personality of la Chata Campa. At just 17 years old, María Fernanda joined the Mexican Communist Party, initiating an active militancy as a student leader that allowed her to meet Che Guevara himself in the Sierra Maestra. During the student revolt of 1968, she had the misfortune to experience the Tlatelolco massacre first-hand; this was a genocide that stained 20th-century Mexican history and left a trail of several hundred dead on Plaza de Las Tres Culturas. After her brilliant schooling, la Chata studied geological engineering at the National Polytechnic Institute, the first woman in the country with this achievement under her belt. As a geologist, she also revolutionized the public’s view of geology. She participated in the founding of the Mexican Petroleum Institute and in the creation of the Grupo de Ingenieros Constitución del 17 , the objective of which was to defend the inalienable right of the general public to benefit from subsoil riches. She worked for years in the exploration of deposits for the Pemex company ( Petróleos Mexicanos ), where she obtained her doctorate in 1977. It was then that la Chata made the transition to teaching, founding the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Taxco and ultimately ending up as a professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico City. Her professional trademarks were perseverance and generosity. During the 2017 earthquake, as an elderly woman, she led a group of researchers to map the effects of the earthquake in Mexico City. In January 2019, at the age of 78, la Chata Campa died. The Mexican Chamber of Deputies observed a minute’s silence in her memory. She departed a fighter, a radical, who approached her profession with ideological purpose. Her great friend, the writer Elena Poniatowska, dedicated this phrase to her: ‘ you raise whirlwinds in your path .’ ‘Geology and revolution’ were the two passions of this petite geologist, who loved to read and converse; to drift through life with that cadence typical of the tropics, while sheltered from the turbulence of the Earth. Only by reading, studying and questioning can we leave ignorance behind. Our awakening advances culture. 32

Katia Krafft Life (and death) at the edge of the volcano The majesty of volcanoes has captivated every culture since time immemorial. Not without reason have volcanoes played starring roles in a multitude of myths and legends that tried to give some meaning to their frightening and lethal beauty. Katia Krafft was not immune to this attraction, and her daring to get close to volcanoes has given us a scientific legacy that is unmatched. Katia Conrad was born in the French region of Alsace in 1942. Throughout her teenage years, she devoured anything volcanorelated that crossed her path. Her parents, a teacher and a worker with no relation to geology, took her on a trip to Sicily so that she could quench her thirst for these giants by seeing with her own eyes Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. She studied at the University of Strasbourg, where she specialised in physics and geochemistry. Curious and methodical, her first scientific job acknowledged her early promise in the field of volcanology. During those years, she met the one who would become her husband and partner, Maurice Krafft: a geologist who, just like her, had grown up dreaming of volcanoes. From this point on, their professional and personal trajectories become one. Katia and Maurice devoted their lives to travelling anywhere in the world that showed the slightest sign of an imminent eruption. Cameras at hand, they were pioneers in filming, photographing and recording volcanoes, often getting within feet of flowing lava. They knew that their perception of danger was completely biased by their passion for volcanoes. As if enchanted by a siren’s song, they advanced without hesitation towards dangers that anyone else would flee. Sometimes, they said, they were unable to film anything and would only stay still, hypnotised by the heat and the lava from the volcanoes. Once considered extravagant, eruption after eruption their work started to garner attention and interest from the scientific community, the public and the authorities. Though the gas and rock samples they took allowed them to do relevant research, it was their scientific communication that made the volcano devils even more renowned. In their last few years, they worked on designing information campaigns about volcanic risk and developing alarm and aid devices. Their documentary about the devastating consequences of the Nevado del Ruiz eruption (Colombia, 1985) helped convince Philippine authorities, in 1991, to evacuate the area around Mount Pinatubo in the face of an imminent eruption, saving thousands of lives. In that same year, Mount Unzen woke up after more than two centuries of sleep. As usual, Katia and Maurice dropped everything to go to Japan and film what they would rank to be ‘the most dangerous eruption they had ever seen in their lives’, and they had already witnessed more than 150 in the 25 years spanned by their careers. Although they were experienced and cautious, they were not able to avoid a cloud of superheated gases, ash and rock fragments that enveloped them in a matter of seconds. They died right next to another volcanologist and forty journalists that were covering the eruption. Though it may seem like a tragic end from our perspective, the Kraffts died as they decided to live: together and ‘ near craters, drunk with fire, gas, their faces burned by the heat ’. It’s not that I flirt with my death, but at this point, I don’t care about it, because there is the pleasure of approaching the beast and not knowing if he is going to catch you. 35

Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan Our walk in space ‘ Brown hair, green eyes, 1.67 m height and 68 kg weight ’: that’s how the official NASA record describes the first woman to walk in space. Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan was born on 3rd October 1952 in Paterson (New Jersey). Her father, an aerospace engineer, passed on to his daughter an enthusiasm for everything related to the Cosmos. But young Kathryn planted her feet on the Earth instead, deciding to study geology at the University of California and graduating with honours in 1973. Five years later, in the cold and old lands of Nova Scotia (Canada), she earned a doctorate at Dalhousie University. During her studies in Canada, Sullivan actively participated in a series of oceanographic expeditions to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Pacific Ocean. In the summer of 1979, Dr Sullivan initiated a Copernican revolution in her career, swapping turbulent marine waters for the thunderous silence of space. Sooner or later, a person returns to their childhood. Quickly becoming a heavyweight NASA astronaut, she boarded the Space Shuttle Challenger for her first space mission. On 11th October 1984, having just turned 33 years old, Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan made history: she became the first woman to undertake extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Along with her fellow astronaut, David Leestma, Kathryn walked for three-and-a-half hours in the weightlessness of space to show the world that Challenger could be refuelled in orbit. Kathryn Sullivan led two more space flights. In April 1990, on board the Space Shuttle Discovery, she contributed to the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, humankind’s eye beyond the terrestrial atmosphere. Two years later, in April 1992, Sullivan was appointed commander of the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Sciences, located in the cargo module of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. From there, she directed 12 scientific experiments to examine Earth’s atmosphere. After banking her 532 hours in space, Kathryn Sullivan finally left NASA in 1993 to hold related positions in different scientific institutes. In 2011, the US Senate ratified – unanimously – President Barack Obama’s proposal to appoint Dr Sullivan as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, as well as Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The geologist managed to unite earth, sea and air under the auspices of great political responsibility. In 2017, she retired from public office and allowed herself a life dedicated to scientific dissemination. But she was still to perform one more feat that would amaze the world. In June 2020, 36 years after her space walk, Sullivan became the first woman to reach the Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, at a depth of almost 11,000 m in the South Pacific. Kathryn D. Sullivan has led a life filled with ups and downs, in the most literal sense of the words: this is a woman characterised by lofty heights and deep wisdom. The noise of her passage through space will continue to roam the extent of the universe. 36

“We should not expect the think we deserve. ” “The fasc truth lies not in the attainm “I never noticed any differen boys andgirls,whichcaused when I realised that this wa

e world to give us what we scination of any search after ment … but in the pursuit.” ence between the intellect of edme somedisappointment was not the general attitude.”

Pens and paper

Rosa María Mateos She is a geologist and writer. As a geologist, she deals with landslides and other disrupters of the Earth’s surface. As a writer, she is an inveterate storyteller, currently focused on short novels. The blog showcases her literary side. In the field of scientific dissemination, Rosa Mateos gives her all. Ana Ruiz Constán She is a geologist. Our planet soon lured her, as a curious person and nature lover, through the charm of earthquakes and volcanoes. Currently, Ana radiographs the interior of the Earth and analyses its external scars to get a little closer to its history and most intimate secrets. She is in search of any initiative that helps to show geology for what it is: an exciting science that is useful for society. Nívola Uyá She is an illustrator and environmentalist. Nívola swapped technical reports for brushes, and now she channels her love of the Earth and of nature into books, murals and the creation of art in general. With her colours, Nívola has visited the fossil outcrops of stromatolites in Mallorca, the baobabs in western Africa, the temperate rainforests in Mexico and the high mountains in the Himalayas. She considers herself very fortunate to have found her way towards fascinating people and towards projects such as GEAS. 41

GEAS: Women who study the Earth invites us to explore the different disciplines of Earth science hand in hand with twelve valuable and brave women. Their lived experiences and challenges offer beautiful and eye-opening proof of the evolution of the role of women in science