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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.

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Earth and Planetary Sciences Events

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Earth and Planetary Sciences News

  • 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.

  • We think we know how mountains form. Plate tectonics causes rock to be pushed up at fault boundaries. Except that model is hard to prove, and a new study suggests it might actually be a lot more complicated. Video is based on the work done by Dr. Nikki M. Seymour, during her time as a EPS postdoc.

  • A new technique for measuring past topography shows the Himalayas were more than halfway to their summit before a continental collision made them the highest range in the world. “The controversy rests mainly in what existed before the Himalayas were there,” explains Page Chamberlain, professor of Earth and planetary sciences and of Earth system science at the Doerr School of Sustainability, and senior author of the study.