Growing appreciation of and concern for the effects of human activities on Earth has increased the relevance of study of the past and the present of Earth’s critical zone. The critical zone is the portion of Earth that hosts life and is an inclusive term that groups together the porous outer layers of the earth as well as the hydrosphere and the atmosphere. Traditional disciplines these studies would fall within are (bio) geochemistry, oceanography, paleontology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy.
Faculty in this area use a wide variety of techniques from geology and geophysics to study the physical structure and processes of the earth at a variety of time and spatial scales. Our students work both in the field and in the computer lab on projects located all over the world.
The geochemistry, petrology and volcanology group leads integrated field, laboratory and theoretical research to unravel several challenging sets of problems in igneous and metamorphic petrology, economic geology and volcanology.