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.
New research reveals that after its initial formation 100 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada “died” during volcanic eruptions that blasted lava across much of the American West 40 million to 20 million years ago. Then, tens of millions of years later, the Sierra Nevada mountain range as we know it today was “reborn.”