Essentials of Oceanography

Instructor Information


About the Instructor and Course Author Chris Marone

I'm Dr. Chris Marone and I wrote and teach EARTH 540 with my Colleague Dr. Mike Arthur. For many years we co-taught a large enrollment undergraduate course in Oceanography (The Sea Around Us) and in 2008 we decided it would be interesting and fun to team teach online. We’ve taught at the university level for a collective 50+ years, but we are still learning!

We are both professors in the Department of Geosciences at Penn State's University Park campus. Chris’ background is in geophysics and his research focuses on friction, earthquakes, and brittle deformation of Earth’s crust. Fluids play an important role in these systems and in Marone’s research. Mike’s background is in marine geology and his research is focused on paleoceanography, which is to say the geologic history of the oceans including geochemistry, stable isotopes, and patterns of past global change. Arthur and Marone are part of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Image of Chris and giving his baby a bath in the kitchen sink with the help of his 2 other children.
Chris is shown here at the kitchen sink with his three youngest children during the summer of 2009.

The photo is selected somewhat randomly, but tells the story of a lucky man (I have a lot to smile about with five children) who likes to get his hands dirty (that’s a towel, not a dirty diaper), and has lots of help at all levels (Linda and Tino are clearly the brains of the operation here with Massimo’s bath). I enjoy homebrewing with my wife (note siphon tubing hanging above the sink, airlock for a 5-gallon fermenter visible over my back, and BTF cleaner on the window sill) and espresso whenever I have a chance for a quick coffee. I was born in Batavia, New York and, since then, I have lived in Vermont; Binghamton, NY; New York City; Melbourne, Australia; Berkeley, CA; Boston; State College, PA; and Rome.

About Course Author Mike Arthur

Mike Arthur

Yup, Chris and I have a great time collaborating on our Introductory Oceanography Lecture/Lab course (this must have been dressup day). So much fun that we signed up for online duty, as he indicates. The transition from "sage on the stage" to "wit on the internet" will be a challenge, so please forgive us if our first online approach does not quite meet your expectations. Feedback, either way, is welcome, even encouraged. The main thing you will be missing(?) is our complete lecture on tides in "pirate-speak" in costume. Oh well...

I grew up in Southern California (San Bernardino, of "Route 66" fame) where I did develop a love for the sea (as a way to get out of the hot, dry desert) that began with board surfing at SoCal beaches and has led to traversing the high seas on various oceanographic research expeditions and as part of the Ocean Drilling Program. After my Ph.D. (Princeton, 1979), I worked at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, among other places, before arriving at Penn State (January 1991). Like Chris, I have a family (two fine daughters) and my spouse (Jan) is a geologist who evolved into a shepherd--we have a small farm on which we raise Icelandic breed and Merino sheep (for breeding stock, wool, and meat) and some greens and vegetables that Jan sells at local farmers markets. When I am not teaching, doing research, or farming, I enjoy playing guitar and mandolin and volunteering for our local watershed group.