Born in Ypsilanti, Marie Tharp grew up all over the country, tagging along with her father on soil-surveying expeditions for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a highly unusual pastime for a young girl in the 1920s. She earned an undergraduate degree in Ohio with two majors and four minors. In 1943, she enrolled at Michigan for a master’s in geology—an easier prospect when most male students were off at war—where she did fieldwork at U-M’s Camp Davis in Wyoming and wrote a thesis about the geology of the Detroit River. 

Read more: Seeing the Unseen, LSA Magazine, Spring 2016