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Cliffs above New River

Earth & Environmental Sciences

The integration of chemistry, biology, and physics applied to Earth and planetary systems

Our Goals
Professor and students on a boat on Lake Ontario

Taking Part in a First-of-its-kind Study

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Cerdas Formation

Studying Earth Structure, Formation, Climate, and Dynamics

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Exploring Global Environmental Issues

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Petrenko Ice Lab

Leading Faculty and Researchers

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Majors & Minors

Choose from geology, environmental science, environmental studies, and geomechanics.

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Graduate Studies

A variety of research choices allows students to specialize in one area, or explore a vast array of interdisciplinary studies.

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We specialize in geochemistry, environmental sciences, palaeomagnetism, geodynamics, geological structure and tectonics.

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Portrait of four professors.

Feature Story

CAREER awards recognize promising junior faculty

Four Rochester scientists have received prestigious NSF CAREER awards, presented to early-career faculty members for research and education initiatives.

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Artist's rendering of planet Earth with top layer removed to reveal underlying plate tectonics, seen from space with the moon in the background.

Feature Story

Plate tectonics not required for the emergence of life

The finding contradicts previous assumptions about the role of mobile plate tectonics in the development of life on Earth. Moreover, the data suggests that “when we’re looking for exoplanets that harbor life, the planets do not necessarily need to have plate tectonics,” says John Tarduno, the lead author of the new paper in Nature.

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Interested in geology and environmental sciences?

The department sponsors several seminars throughout the year, bringing notable speakers from around the country. Check out the seminar schedule for this year’s presentations.

Seminar Schedule


New Mineral Named After University Alumnus

Dave Mao, '66 MS and '68 PhD had a new mineral named in his honor.

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Karen Berger

What do you enjoy most about U of R?

Getting to know undergraduate students and helping them discover their interests and talents. I often teach students in two, three, or even four courses, which helps make for deeper relationships.

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Seismograph recording an earthquakeEarthquakes andVolcanoes
Ice Sampling at the Pakitsoq site, West GreenlandClimate andOcean Science
Students doing field workPlate Tectonics andPaleomagnetism

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