Dr Melanie Finch

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Dr Melanie Finch

Assistant Lecturer

Monash University

The Earth moves under our feet constantly. Rocks slide past each other and, very slowly, are pushed into huge mountain ranges like the Himalaya. Shear zones are the conveyor belts that move rocks around the Earth. When shear zones move quickly and violently they cause earthquakes and tsunamis, but usually they creep along, creating mountains and subducting oceans slowly, moving a few centimetres a year. Melanie studies these ‘rock conveyor belts’ to understand how solid rock can flow like honey.

Melanie uses her research to inspire students to study Earth Science and is particularly interested in engaging women students, since the proportion of women in Earth Science careers is very low. Recognising this, Melanie developed a women’s student mentoring and networking group that provides undergraduate and postgraduate students with role models and career information from Earth Science professionals. This group contains over 200 women students and recently won an award for Service to the Faculty of Science at Monash University. Melanie has also been active in achieving gender equity in the wider geoscience community, developing a database for women in Earth Science that includes over 250 women, and co-authoring a paper that explores gender equity in the geosciences.