November 30, 2022

EP. 293 — Does Groundwater Go With The Flow? with Dr. Marsha K. Allen

There’s a world of curiosity just below street level, and this week, we’re taking the plunge with a truly glam academic! Dr. Marsha K. Allen joins Jonathan to discuss fractured rock aquifers, sinkholes, and her groundbreaking work on water sustainability in Tobago.

Dr. Marsha K. Allen is a geologist with a research background in Cosmochemistry (meteorites) and Hydrogeology. Her current research focuses on the fractured rock aquifer of one of her home islands, Tobago. She is currently new faculty at her alma mater Mount Holyoke College where she hopes to inspire students to pursue a STEM degree.

Ready to start advocating for more sustainable water use?

For global action, check out Waterkeeper Alliance.

Black people and Indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by contaminated waters. A uniquely national Native initiative, Honor the Earth’s mission is to raise awareness and support for Native environmental issues.

In North Dakota, get to know the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. Mari Copeny, age 15 and also known as Little Miss Flint, has been fighting the water crisis in Flint, MI for over five years.

You can follow Marsha on Twitter @HydroGeoTrini, and if you have any burning questions sparked by this podcast, feel free to email her at!

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Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our associate producer is Zahra Crim. Our editor is Andrew Carson.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to


JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I am Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. And today’s episode is so good. We are joined by Marsha Allen, where I ask her: How important is groundwater? Everyone, you may remember in our first season of Getting Curious for Netflix, we filmed an episode about skyscrapers. It was then that I became obsessed with what was going on, like, under New York City, like, the bedrocks, the waterways. So today, at long last, we’re going deep on everything just below the street level. So welcome to the show, Dr. Marsha K. Allen, who is an Assistant Professor of Earth Science at Mount Holyoke College. She specializes in the field of hydrogeology—how cool, right?—and specifically fractured rock aquifers. And she conducts her work on the island of Tobago. Welcome, Dr. Marsha K. Allen, how are you?     MARSHA K. ALLEN [00:00:56] Oh,

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