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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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Scientists have discovered 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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Photos to inspire a more sustainable world

Stanford Earth's 2019 photo contest drew 226 photographs from around the world from faculty, students, and staff.

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Stanford Earth at AGU 2019

Stanford faculty, students and scholars will join researchers from the Earth and planetary sciences and engage in interdisciplinary collaborations and discussions about the world’s most pressing challenges Dec. 9-13 in San Francisco.

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Stanford Earth hosts inaugural meeting for Bay Area planetary scientists

Stanford Earth faculty members invited scientists from all over the Bay Area to share research and foster local collaborations for an inaugural meeting at Stanford.

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How do submarine and terrestrial canyons compare?

As detailed in a new study published in Geology, Stephen Dobbs and his collaborators used open-source multibeam sonar data, along with topographic data, to compare land and underwater canyons. 

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German Geological Society awards Page Chamberlain top honor

The geological sciences professor was recognized for his work in tectonics and climate interaction.

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An inside look at carbon in Earth’s interior

Wendy Mao edited a new book on the physical and chemical properties of deep carbon, and "we have still only barely scratched the surface in terms of understanding carbon in planetary interiors,” she says.

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Harnessing data science to understand Earth’s subsurface

The Stanford Natural Gas Initiative hosts the first big data workshop for students and industry leaders on data science techniques for better understanding and managing subsurface resources.

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Global analysis of submarine canyons may shed light on Martian landscapes

On a map, submarine canyons seem identical to land canyons – so much so that researchers surmised they are shaped by the same physical laws. New research reveals distinct differences for the first time.

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Under pressure: Viewing how hydrogen transforms

Researchers have determined how hydrogen molecules are packed at extremely high pressures. Their work solves the long-standing mystery of the structure of the dense form of hydrogen, called phase IV. 

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Stanford researchers discuss changes to Endangered Species Act

America’s signature legislation for saving species faces a major overhaul. Conservation and legal experts examine likely impacts of the new rules and legal options for challenging them.

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Geological sciences alumna receives GSA award

Kimberly Lau, PhD '16, has been named the 2019 Doris M. Curtis Outstanding Woman in Science by the Geological Society of America. Lau's award is based on the impact of her dissertation research, which she conducted as an advisee of Jon Payne and Kate Maher.

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Why are mountains so high?

Researchers have analyzed mountain ranges worldwide to show that a theory relating erosion and mountain height doesn’t always add up.

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Long before dinosaurs, virtually all life on Earth was wiped off the face of the planet

Research by PhD student Malcolm Hodgskiss finds new evidence for a mass extinction event 2.05 billion years ago in barite samples from Hudson Bay, Canada .

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