Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Death Valley mountains
Main content start

Understanding our planets and their history

Our students and geoscientists study the properties of minerals, rocks, soils, sediments and water, using multiple lenses -- stratigraphy, paleobiology,  geochemistry, and planetary sciences. Their work informs our understanding of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods. It helps us meet natural resource challenges through environmental and geological engineering, mapping and land use planning, surface and groundwater management, and the exploration and sustainable extraction of energy and minerals.  It also helps us answer fundamental questions about the origin, history, and habitability of planets.

Degree Programs

Undergraduate Program


Graduate Program

MS, Coterm MS, PhD

Coterm MS Program

Coterm Program

Meet some of our community members

Jessica Watkins at the International Space Station

Earth to Jess

Astronaut and Geological Sciences alumna Jessica Watkins discussed her experiences from the International Space Station, including seeing her former field sites from space. “Being able to see that from this perspective felt pretty full circle.

Read more 

Earth and Planetary Sciences Events

No events are currently scheduled.

Learn more about our research groups

Explore research groups

Earth and Planetary Sciences News

  • A Stanford dune expert discusses watching desert-based movies from the perspective of a geoscientist, the realities of otherworldly dunes, and what his research can tell us about the ancient environment of Earth and other planets.

  • The science of scenery

    Despite its ups and downs, Willenbring credits the 20-acre farm in North Dakota west of Mandan where she grew up with offering a combination of factors that eventually led her to pursue geology research: soils that govern sustenance, abundant time for exploring the outdoors, proximity to a unique landscape where the Great Plains give way to the rugged Badlands, and a yearning to distinguish herself in order to leave that difficult life in the Midwest.

  • The Doerr School of Sustainability hosted a launch symposium this summer for Mineral-X, a new affiliate program that combines technological innovation with community representation and stewardship with the ultimate goal of a resilient mineral supply chain to achieve clean renewable energy.