Known for creating a topographic map of the ocean floor, she contributed greatly to geologists' understanding of the phenomenon of continental drift. She collaborated with fellow geologist Bruce Heezen on the groundbreaking cartography project.
After studying music and English at Ohio University, she earned degrees in mathematics and geology from, respectively, the University of Tulsa and the University of Michigan.
She and Heezen created their underwater map with the help of Austrian artist Heinrich Berann.
She grew up in Michigan as the daughter of a Latin teacher mother and a United States Department of Agriculture employee father.
She used seismographic data to map underwater topography; this exploration would not have been possible without the earlier work of seismograph inventor and fellow geologist, John Milne.