All-female team writes Nature Reviews Earth and Environment feature article

September 5, 2023
Prof. Dominique Weis

Earth Sciences is a field still largely male-dominated, with women making up only 27% of faculty positions in North America. Yet things are slowly changing as the proportion of women in geosciences faculty positions increases and more high-impact earth sciences research is being attributed to women. This week’s Nature Reviews Earth and Environment feature article, ‘Earth’s mantle composition revealed by mantle plumes’ was written by an all-female team of scientists. e The lead author, Dominique Weis, a Professor at the Dept. of Earth Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences as well as a University of British Columbia Killam Professor and head of the Pacific Center for Isotopic and Geochemical Research was asked to put together a diverse group of authors for this invited review, and deliberately chose to create an all-female team.


The Earth’s mantle makes up 84% of the Earth’s volume and, is responsible for many of the geographic features on Earth’s surface, including volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges, and convergence zone mountain ranges. Despite the importance of the mantle to understanding Earth’s geodynamics and geochemistry, relatively little is known about the mantle due to limited sampling opportunities. At 10-40 km below Earth’s surface, accessing the mantle for direct sampling is nearly impossible. Yet mantle plumes can bring mantle rocks to the surface, enabling scientists to characterize the deep mantle composition and processes occurring today and back in time. The article by Weis et al. reviews the various types of mantle plumes and their characteristics, as well as the various tools to study them. Written from a geochemical perspective for a wider audience, including geodynamicists and geophysicists, the article promotes collaboration across geoscience disciplines to improve understanding of mantle composition and dynamics. 


As a feature article, ‘Earth’s mantle composition revealed by mantle plumes’ remains freely available for download on the Nature Reviews website for the next two weeks. Click here to download a copy now.