Stanford University
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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

Scientists discover the world’s oldest forest and its radical impact on life

The world's oldest trees, like those at Cairo, have a big effect on the ancient climate though weathering that causes chemical reactions, says Kevin Boyce.

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Fact or fiction? The science of Star Wars

How did those planets form? Could they exist in our universe? Could Star Wars really happen? Stanford Earth experts on planetary formation, processes and habitability discuss the science behind the fictional saga.

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Why some planets eat their own skies

A new study suggests a reason why exoplanets rarely grow larger than Neptune: the planet’s magma oceans begin to eat the sky.

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Plants slow river migration

Mathieu Lapôtre's research helps quantify how vegetation influences river mobility and proposes a new theory on how river movement may have influenced ancient Earth’s climate.

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