Stanford University
Death Valley

Geological Sciences

The study of our planet and its neighbors, from their deep interiors to the surface, and through their multi-billion year history.

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Miller

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.

Geological Sciences News

The first footprints on Mars could belong to this geologist

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, Geological and Environmental Sciences BS ’10, is at the forefront of a new crop of space explorers destined for the Moon, and maybe one day, Mars.

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Hunting down clues to Earth's early molten days

Scientists are still trying to piece together how Earth transformed from a molten planet to one with living creatures walking around on its silicate mantle and crust. Hints lie in the strange ways materials behave under extreme temperatures and pressures.

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High schoolers co-author paleobiology study with Stanford researchers

A cohort of the Stanford Earth Young Investigators program helped advance our understanding of the relationship between the body size and circulatory systems of marine animals over a vast time frame.

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Fossil captures plants in transition

“It’s rare to get this many sporangia with well-preserved spores that you can measure,” said Andrew Leslie, referring to a new species of ancient plant. “We just kind of got lucky in how they were preserved.”

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