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  • Writer's pictureLynn

I Know A Geomorphologist!

MW625 The Sleeping Mountain - History/Geology - Hell's Gate


I mean, how many people can say that? Literally?! A geomorphologist studies the physical features of the surface of the earth and their relation to its geological structures. And we have one that lives on Saba--well, a lot of the time. So who better to unveil a storyboard about how Saba was formed than our own Geo Jenny?! And you see her in so many places...she's a hiker, she's a diver, she's a crafter, musician, photographer, and she's a happy hour partier--but she's so much more...


When I met Jen Rahn in 1990 she did not yet sport the title of Dr. but was already practicing the geo thing. We were both working for Sea Saba Dive Center at the time. Jen was on a gap year after completing her geography master's degree. At every opportunity, she would be mapping a dive site (first to map the pinnacles) or walking the coastline (officially Saba has several beaches) or trailblazing (she was behind getting the Sandy Cruz trail extended).


Jen got her Bachelor's from Villanova and went on to get her Masters from Temple. Her PhD took her to Gainesville, Florida (birthplace of Tom Petty, btw!) where she earned the right to be referred to as the now Dr. Jennifer L. Rahn. During this time, we managed to stay in touch--pre real internet, facebook, etc. So much so, that Jen was who I first reached out to with the idea of Sea & Learn. She eventually came back to Saba for the event--more than once! She's presented on Why the Well's Bay Beach Comes and Goes (2005 and 2010), Saba's Coral Nursery, Are Caribbean Tsunamis Possible (2011), Rise Up! Saba Seamounts (2012), Tenuous Tent Reef (2013), Saba Landslide (2014) From Peaks to Pinnacles--How Saba was formed (2015) and The Fragility of Coral Reefs (2017).

Saba is Jen's home away from home. When not on Christmas or summer break, Jen can be found at Samford University (Sam, not Stan!) in Birmingham, Alabama. She teaches Geo-Spatial, Physical Geography, and other science related courses. Her research specialty is coastal geomorphology (especially here!) and she also is skilled in GIS and cartography. For her full bio and long list of accomplishments, start with this link.



Since 2009, Jen has brought students from Samford to Saba for Jan term. Students earn field science credits for an intense 2-week program that takes them from orienteering in the rainforest to measuring the slope of Saba's coastline to becoming proficient scientific divers. Look for her students to be back on The Rock in June 2024.


Geo Jen is always working on a project--hers or working with others. Often times, she can use a few volunteers for data collection--so just ask and you, too, can hang with a geomorphologist.


To learn more about Saba's beginnings, check out a few of our previous presenters:

Oct 21, 2022 Florentine Zwillich - YouTube "Understanding the Magmatic Evolution by Investigating Zoned Plagioclase Crystals and the Role of Diffusive Gas Analysis as a Monitoring Tool"

Sea & Learn 2015 - YouTube Dr. Jennifer Rahn's "The Birth of Saba"





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