Meet our Faculty: Marc Sbar

Marc Sbar on a hike in Tucson with mountains and saguaros in background.

Current research: I help out on a project based in offshore Guinea, West Africa that involves interpretation of seismic reflection data. This area is at the junction of seafloor spreading from North and South Atlantic and is fascinating tectonically.

Current teaching: I teach Interpretation of Reflection Seismic Data. This is a hands-on course using seismic workstations and up-to-date industry software.

Favorite Field Trip: Right now the Grand Canyon ranks high. It is a fascinating area both for its geology and its beauty. I have seen it from the top and also from the bottom, experienced on a rafting trip.

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You have an interesting and varied background in geosciences. Please describe your career path.
My undergrad degree is in physics, but I loved being outdoors and needed a way to combine these two. Geophysics looked like the obvious way to satisfy both interests, so I ended up at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, where I earned my Ph.D. in earthquake seismology.

After doing research for a while, I decided to try my hand at teaching, so took a position at the University of Arizona. From there I moved to the oil industry where I worked for several companies over the next 25 years or so, including BP and ConocoPhillips. I ended up doing training in geophysics as part of my job and wanted to continue to emphasize education when I retired in 2010. I returned to Tucson for personal reasons and to be able to teach at the University and interact with the students.

Please tell us about your outreach activities.
Outreach is an activity that is very important to me. I currently visit middle schools and talk to students about plate tectonics. I bring a number of active demos to try to excite their interest and describe some of the fascinating careers possible in the earth sciences.