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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.

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Geological sciences redesigns major in favor of fewer units and new core

The newly added flexibility in core courses allows for greater exploration of the major that typically isn’t covered in high school curricula, said Department Chair Kevin Boyce.

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Outer space is a treasure chest of gemstones

“We can form all sorts of gemstones potentially in space, as long as you have the right chemistry in the right temperature and conditions,” said Stanford Earth professor Wendy Mao.

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Are Martian landslides caused by underground salts and melting ice?

A new theory that helps explain geological and chemical processes on Mars also suggests the martian environment continues to be dynamic, with implications for both astrobiology and future human exploration of the Red Planet.

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Squeezing a rock-star material could make it stable enough for solar cells

A promising lead halide perovskite is great at converting sunlight to electricity, but it breaks down at room temperature. Now scientists have discovered how to stabilize it with pressure from a diamond anvil cell.

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Faculty input sought for new climate and sustainability school

Following deliberations by a Blueprint Advisory Committee in the fall, leaders are seeking faculty input on proposals for the new school’s structure, composition and areas of focus.

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Lab life at Stanford during the COVID-19 pandemic

Geological scientist Erik Sperling and his lab are featured in a Stanford News story about the challenges labs on campus have been facing.

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How better mineral exploration makes better batteries

Finding and extracting deposits of cobalt, lithium, nickel and other materials used in batteries is expensive and environmentally fraught. Geoscientists are now using artificial intelligence to quickly identify new resources, get the most out of those we already know about and improve refining processes. 

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At Stanford 2020: The year in review

Looking back at what has been a turbulent year, the Stanford community has found new ways to come together to learn and to work, while also advancing research. 

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The science behind extinction

A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts who are deciphering the mysteries and mechanisms of extinction and survival in Earth’s deep past and painting an increasingly detailed picture of life now at the brink.

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New insights and discoveries at AGU 2020

From Dec. 7-17, Stanford faculty, students and scholars presented their work at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), along with fellow scientists and researchers from various disciplines in the Earth and planetary sciences. 

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How do we know what's deep inside Earth?

“I think the mid-upper mantle would be gorgeous, because it would be olivine green, like 60 percent, and it would also have garnets, these beautiful red cubic minerals,” says Stanford mineral physicist Wendy Mao.

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Gordon Brown, Noah Diffenbaugh elected to 2020 Class of AGU Fellows

Brown, a professor of geology, emeritus, and Diffenbaugh, a professor of Earth system science, join a cohort of global leaders for their exceptional contributions to the Earth and space sciences community – an honor given to fewer than 0.1% of AGU's members.

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Images from a fraught year

Stanford Earth’s 2020 photo contest drew 156 photographs from faculty, students, and staff. The images captured experiences coping with COVID-19, as well as close encounters with nature from activities before the pandemic.

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Stanford supports alliance of universities in diversifying STEM postdocs

Page Chamberlain and Lupe Carrillo discussed collaborating on an NSF grant to expand professional development opportunities for underrepresented researchers in STEM.

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Students learn new skills with scientist-in-training programs

Jennifer Saltzman discussed her role in the Bright STaRS program, which has been influential for scholars at Stanford Earth including Farm intern Claire Valva, local high schooler Michael Wucher and alumni Daniel Ibarra and Jason Stuckey.

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Jane Willenbring receives Marguerite T. Williams Award

The annual award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) recognizes significant contributions to research and community-building by a mid-career scientist in the field of Earth and planetary surface processes. 

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