Laura R. Wetzel

Professor of Marine Science and Geosciences
Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award, 2007

Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory (GMSL) 123
727-864-8484Fax: 727-864-7964


Marine Geology and Geophysics
PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, 1997

Laura Wetzel

Research Interests

My primary research fields are earthquake seismology and educational assessment of quantitative literacy teaching materials. Most recently, in the summer of 2011 I supported two students to find field sites for 24 seismographs throughout the state of Florida, from the Florida/Georgia border to the Florida Keys. The students followed geologic criteria to determine “quiet” locations for seismographs, use GPS equipment to determine the locations, and talk to land owners to obtain site permission. These efforts are part of the Transportable Array, funded by the National Science Foundation through the Incorporated Research Institutions in Seismology.

I have also been actively involved in the Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum (SSAC) project, an NSF-funded initiative to create an on-line library of activities to reinforce or teach quantitative literacy and mathematical concepts and skills. In doing the activities, undergraduate students use spreadsheets to solve mathematical problems outside the context of mathematics courses. I assessed SSAC teaching activities with help from three Eckerd student research assistants and many student volunteers. SSAC teaching materials are freely available online.


Earth Structure, Earth Materials, Solid Earth Geophysics, Principles of Hydrology, Introduction to Marine Science, Introduction to Earth Science, Myths of the Earth, Biology/Geology of Hydrothermal Vents Senior Seminar, Marine Science Junior Seminar, Natural History of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador, Modern Carbonate Environments of the Bahamas, Natural History of Florida.

Selected Publications

Wetzel, L. R. (2011) Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum, Part 2: Assessing our success with students at Eckerd College, Numeracy, v. 4, issue 1. Available at

Wetzel, L. R. and Peter J. Whicker (2007) Quick Correct: A method to automatically evaluate student work in MS Excel spreadsheets, Spreadsheets in Education, v. 2, issue 3. Available at

Frohlich, C. and L. R. Wetzel (2007) Comparison of seismic moment release rates along different types of plate boundaries, Geophysical Journal International, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03550.x.

Wetzel, L. R. (2002) Building stones as resources for student research, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 50, pp. 404-409.

Wetzel, L. R., J. P. Raffensperger and E. L. Shock (2001) Predictions of hydrothermal alteration within near-ridge oceanic crust from coordinated geochemical and fluid flow models, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 3-4, pp. 319-341.

Wetzel, L. R., and E. L. Shock (2000) Distinguishing ultra-mafic from basalt-hosted submarine hydrothermal systems by comparing calculated vent fluid compositions, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 105, pp. 8319-8340.

Wetzel, L. R., D. A. Wiens and M. C. Kleinrock (1993) Evidence from earthquakes for bookshelf faulting at large non-transform ridge offsets, Nature, v. 362, pp. 235-237.