Research from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is frequently being highlighted in professional journals and national publications. Check out the research highlights below to see where our faculty’s research has been showcased.


Graduate student Steve Carr publishes in Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, A Taxonomy of Upper-Mantle Stratification in the US, open access -- 28 May 2024

Former graduate student and current post doc Tinghong Zhou publishes in Earth and Planetary Science LettersMagnetization and age of ca. 544 Ma syenite, eastern Canada: Evidence for renewal of the geodynamo, open access -- 25 May 2024

Did a magnetic field collapse trigger the emergence of animals? New research by the Paleomagnetic Research Group addresses this question  -- 02 May 2024

Graduate student Jesse Dugan publishes in Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, Development of a fast-response system with integrated calibration for high-resolution mapping of dissolved methane concentration in surface waters (may require institutional access) -- 01 April 2024 

Post doc David Cúñez and undergraduate Div Patel publish in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, How particle shape affects granular segregation in industrial and geophysical flows, open access -- 29 January 2024


Graduate student Sydney Louden publishes in Environmental Science: Advances, The emission of low pH water from Gulf of Mexico seeps as revealed by δ13C–CO2 and methane oxidation data, open access -- 09 October 2023

National Science Foundation highlights the work of the Paleomagnetic Research Group with their news report, Plate tectonics not required for the emergence of life  -- 03 August 2023

Lee Murray and Vasilii Petrenko are recent recipients of a gift from the Virtual Earth System Research Institute. This ambitious multi-year project, co-led by Rochester and the University of Washington, is aimed at improving an understanding of the fate of atmospheric methane and its influence on climate. -- 11 July 2023

John Tarduno, Rory Cottrell, Richard Bono (PhD 2016), Tinghong Zhou, and Gautam Mitra, in a paper published in Nature, show that plate tectonics is not required for the emergence of life -- 14 June 2023


On Wednesday October 19th, GEPA hosted an Annual Graduate Student Symposium. Over 50 students gave 10-minute presentations to audiences that included students, faculty and staff. During the symposium six students were chosen, by judges from the University, based on their ability to effectively communicate their research to a mixed audience. An Earth and Environmental Sciences PhD Student, Katie Gregory, was a recipient of this award for her presentation on “Engineering Better Tools to Assess Aquatic Greenhouse Gas Dynamics”. -- 26 October 2022

DongJoo Juang (now at Pusan National University, Korea) and John Kessler, in a paper published in Nature Geoscience, show ancient methane from decomposing hydrates in mid-latitude regions is not reaching the atmosphere -- 22 October 2022

Richard Bono (BS, '11; PhD, '16) receives early career award from the Geological Society of America -- 12 October 2022

John Tarduno and the Paleomagnetic Research Group's work in Earth's magnetic field is featured in a recent Science article that tells how scientists examine the secrets of Earth's inner core -- 31 March 2022

Miki Nakajima and colleagues demonstrate that Moons may yield clues to what makes planets habitable in a new paper in Nature Communications -- 01 February 2022


Davemaoite, the first-ever silicate mineral recovered from Earth's lower mantle is named after Dave Mao (MS, '66; PhD, '68), a pioneer in diamond-anvil experiments whose work helped to redefine how materials behave under extreme temperature and pressure conditions. -- 18 November 2021 

Lunar samples solve mystery of the Moon's supposed magnetic shield -- 04 August 2021
    See John Tarduno's article in The Conversation 


Timothy O'Brien and John Tarduno use magnetism to determine when carbonaceous chondrites first arrived in the inner solar system -- 04 December 2020

Lee Murray speaks with WROC about how climate change may impact the population of areas around the Great Lakes -- 13 October 2020

Scott MacLennan, a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of Mauricio Ibanez-Mejia, an assistant professor, present the first geological evidence that Earth may have had a cool climate before Snowball Earth -- 22 June 2020

Lee Murray speaks with Rochester City Newspaper on Earth Day: Coronavirus clears the air in Rochester and beyond -- 22 April 2020

Michael Dyonisius (PhD Candidate), Vasilii Petrenko and the Ice Core and Atmospheric Chemistry Lab, in another paper recently published in Science, show that large old carbon reservoirs such as marine methane hydrates and permafrost are unlikely to release large amounts of methane to the atmosphere in response to warming.  -- 20 February 2020

Link to the paper

Benjamin Hmiel (PhD, '20),Vasilii Petrenko, Michael Dyonisius and Philip Place (Ice Core and Atmospheric Chemistry Lab) demonstrate in their new Nature paper that methane emitted by human fossil fuel use is underestimated. -- 19 February 2020

Some additional news links:
CNN - Oil and gas production is contributing even more to global warming than was thought, study finds
NY Times - Oil and Gas May Be a Far Bigger Climate Threat Than We Knew
National Geographic - Natural gas is a much ‘dirtier’ energy source than we thought
Link to the paper

Research Connections covers the work of John Tarduno and the Paleomagnetic Research Group in this week's Newsletter -- 31 January 2020

John Tarduno, Rory Cottrell, and Richard Bono (PhD, '16) show how Earth's magnetic field preserved habitability at two key points in our planet's history in a paper recently published in PNAS -- 20 January 2020

John Kessler, Eric Chan (PhD, '17) and the Kessler Group's work concerning microbial methane is the focus of a recent highlight in Eos, Earth & Space Science News -- 16 January 2020


Tom Weber and Nicola Wiseman '18 use data science to understand how greenhouse gases affect global climate systems -- 10 October 2019

Mauricio Ibanez-Mejia contributed chapters to a book recognized by Colombia's Alejandro Angel Escobar Awards in Science and Solidarity, Hace Tiempo, un viaje paleontológico ilustrado por Colombia (Long Ago: an illustrated paleontological journey through Colombia), published by Instituto Humboldt in association with The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute -- 10 October 2019

Gautam Mitra, Professor of Geology and current Graduate Studies Director of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, was presented the “Geology and Tectonics Career Contribution Award” -- 3 October 2019

The Geological Society of America published the following citation by Steven Wojtal of Oberlin College:

With students and colleagues, Gautam Mitra has insightfully examined rock deformation at different crustal levels and contributed significantly to our understanding of the tectonics of fold-thrust belts. Gautam's publications present original, objective, and insightful observations of the map patterns, structures, and microstructures of naturally-deformed rocks, and they draw upon a deep understanding of the mechanics and material sciences literature in interpreting them.  From his first publication to his latest work with students and colleagues, Gautam's work is exemplary in analyzing rock rheology and exploring the roles that rock rheology plays in the development of map-scale, outcrop-scale and microscopic structures.

Of particular note are Gautam's research contributions in three areas.  One concerns the processes by which deformation localizes within fault and/or shear zones.  Gautam was among the first to document the role of grain fracture in forming fine-grained matrix in deformation zones and to emphasize how fabric development facilitates strain softening in them.  Second, Gautam and his students have collected extensive fabric and strain data and incorporated those data into map- and regional-scale balanced sections across the Appalachians, Rocky Mountains, Scottish Caledonides, and Himalayas.  Third, Gautam has used energy minimization principles as a tool to understand the formation of rock structures.  More recently, Gautam has broadened his scope to examine fluid flow in thrust belts and the geometry and kinematics of rifting.  

Gautam’s characteristic approach of detailed examination and careful interpretation of the rock record, across scales, continues to inspire students and to guide work in our science.  In addition to four decades of sustained, high-quality research, Gautam has served the community in a variety of ways.  He has mentored more than thirty graduate students, including some he inherited after the death of David Elliott.  Many of them now fill tenured positions at U.S educational institutions or work in government or industry.  Several international students have established themselves as scientific leaders in their home countries.  Gautam also co-authored a widely used text and was a journal and monograph editor.  On the basis of his scholarship, mentoring, and community service, Gautam Mitra is a deserving recipient of this year's Career Contribution Award.


John Tarduno named Dean of Research -- 3 September 2019

Researchers solve 'Hot Spot' debate -- John Tarduno and Richard Bono (former postdoctoral research associate) provide insight into the origin of large-scale structure of Earth's surface and deep interior with their new publication in Nature Communications. -- 1 August 2019

Mauricio Ibanez-Mejia receives a Furth Fund award for early career faculty to promote research activities. See the May 3rd edition of Research Connections  -- 3 May 2019

Tom Weber offers a New View of how ocean 'pumps' impact climate change -- 25 April 2019


A round of applause and congratulations to our seniors presenting in the Undergraduate Research Expo '19
The Undergraduate Research Exposition is a College-wide event in which students are invited to present their work. This year, 5 students from EES gave presentations to peers, faculty, and friends.
Stuart Goldstein, '19 (Carmala Garzione)
Patricia Hanna, '19 (Karen Berger)
Lillian Henderson, '19 (Thomas Weber)
Derrick Murekezi, '19 (Mauricio Ibanez-Mejia)
Hannah Tompkins, '19 (Mauricio Ibanez-Mejia)

Stuart and Derrick standing together

Stuart Goldstein (Dean's Prize) and Derrick Murekezi (Professors Choice Award) were recognized with awards at the expo for their research efforts.

Professor Carmala Garzione appointed Associate Provost at RIT  -- 26 February 2019

John Tarduno discusses the Ediacaran magnetic field with BBC World Service - Science in Action. 
- Link to full podcast  (segment begins at 14:28 and ends at 20:33) -- 3 February 2019

Earth's inner core is younger than we thought -- Richard Bono (PhD '16) and the UR Paleomagnetism Lab present vital clues - 30 January 2019


Were The White Mountains Once As Tall As The Himalayas?   Carmala Garzione provides insight - New Hampshire Public Radio - 30 November 2018

Antarctic scientists begin hunt for sky’s ‘detergent’  - 21 November 2018

CEE receives $1 million grant for campus solar project  - 23 October 2018

4-Billion-Year-Old Crystals Offer Clues to the Origins of Life Using the chemical fingerprints of zircons, Dustin Trail and his team identified an array of sediments likely present on early Earth, where the oldest biochemical reactions could have brewed  - 26 September 2018

Lisa Grohn wins the women's division of the Rochester Marathon with a time of 3:01:29  - 23 September 2018

A sparkling summer in the field - Geology major Ben Crummins ’20, left, and physics major Frank Padgett III ’19 accompanied John Tarduno, professor and chair of earth and environmental sciences, to Labrador, Canada, this summer where the group conducted field work. - 15 August 2018

Carmala Garzione's collaborative research in the Andes Mountains was recently highlighted in Discover Magazine and Knowable Magazine - 02 August 2018

Microenvironments in the deep ocean nay hold clues to cycling of nitrogen in seawater, according to a new study conducted by Thomas Weber - 20 April 2018

Peter Neff dropped a piece of ice into a borehole on an Antarctic glacier, and “the resulting noise is so unexpected and fascinating.” Neff and his team are drilling holes in the Taylor Glacier to recover ice cores and study the gases trapped inside. - 6 March 2018

Division of Earth Sciences Express Update - Winter 2018 Vol. 3 - The Earth sciences community is abuzz about changes to the Earth's magnetic field, which points our compass needles North and protects our atmosphere from harmful radiation. EAR-supported University of Rochester researchers John Tarduno and Vincent Hare have helped start a conservation about the anomaly. Their article in The Conversation is well on its way to a million reads!  - 28 February 2018

New data helps explain recent fluctuations in Earth's Magnetic Field - 28 February 2018

Katy Sparrow, '17 (PhD) set out to discover whether or not the ancient-sourced methane, released due to warming ocean waters, survives to be emitted to the atmosphere - 17 January 2018

Vas Petrenko and his research group are highlighted in Rochester Review: Climate Clues Frozen in Time, Rochester Review, November-December 2017  - 08 January 2018


Dustin Trail is the recipient of the 2017 Mineralogical Society of America Award, in recognition of his contributions to studies of the early Earth.

New study suggests that old carbon reservoirs are unlikely to release methane to the atmosphere in response to warming, and that anthropogenic fossil methane emissions are larger than previously thought  - 25 August 2017
        Press Release
        Nature paper

Lee Murray investigates how ancient ozone levels provide a glimpse into the future effects of climate change - 19 June 2017

Tom Weber uses data science to understand global climate systems - 24 April 2017

John Kessler and colleagues answer questions about methane gas hydrates and climate in Eos  - 14 April 2017

Carmala Garzione and Junsheng Nie show that Tibet sediments reveal climate patterns from late Miocene, 6 million years ago

John Tarduno to receive the 2017 Petrus Peregrinus Medal in recognition of his research on the evolution of the early Earth's magnetic field - 23 March 2017

EES Student Ulrik Soderstrom (BA, 2016; MS, 2017) featured in University of Rochester Newscenter, Data Science for a Better Planet - 24 February 2017

John Tarduno and post-doctoral researcher Vincent Hare discuss the weakening of Earth's magnetic field
           The Conversation - 5 February 2017
           Newsweek - 6 February 2017 

John Kessler and the US Geological Survey review the interaction of climate change and methane hydrates 8 February 2017


New prehistoric bird species discovered by a team of University of Rochester geologists, led by John Tarduno 19 December 2016 
           New York Times article 22 December 2016

John Kessler and students in his advanced undergraduate seminar in Earth and Environmental Sciences explore the dynamics of naturally occurring greenhouse gases in the Great Lakes in the November-December 2016 issue of Rochester Review 17 November 2016

Carmala Garzione Named Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor:

Professor Garzione is a leader in the study of how tectonics and climate interact as recorded in the world's great mountain ranges, including the Andes and Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau. She uses stable isotope and sedimentary provenance studies to reconstruct paleoenvironments and sedimentary basin evolution. Her work has been instrumental in the development of stable isotope methods for quantitative estimates of paleoelevation of mountain belts. This research has helped to elucidate the processes that cause the surface uplift of mountains. Likewise, understanding the timing of surface uplift of major mountain belts is helping to resolve the role of mountain building in long-term climate change and biological evolution. Professor Garzione's research achievements and international collaborative programs stand as a model for teaching and research deserving of this special recognition. 2 November 2016

Lee Murray, Assistant Professor, is an author on a recent Journal of Geophysical Research article that received an Editor's Highlight this week. 27 October 2016

Paul Koch '82, Dean of Physical and Biological Sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz, is the guest speaker for the Fairchild Colloquium Lecture, as part of Meliora Weekend, October 7, 3-4pm in Lander Auditorium. 
                 Making Mummies Talk: Using Fossils to Understand How Seals Respond to Environmental Change

Searching for more insights on Earth's magnetic field - Prof. John Tarduno leads students on expeditions to southern Africa and Australia  17 August 2016

Follow the Paleomagnetic Research Lab's expedition to southern Africa and Australia via Twitter  

Thomas Webber discusses the importance of the polar seas in the marine carbon cycle in Research Connections   5 August 2016 

Geology major Derrick Murekezi, '19, and Data Sciences major Ian Manzi, '18, receive Davis Projects for Peace Grant 30 March 2016

Vasilii Petrenko's Antarctic research expedition is featured on NASA Climate blog9 February 2016

Carmala Garzione is the focus of Research Connections' series; read the transcript here  15 January 2016

John Tarduno to receive Royal Astronomical Society's Price Medal 11 January 2016


John Kessler's research group reports on high rates of methane oxidation at this year's AGU Fall Meeting
Microbes Make a Quick Meal of Methane in a Submarine Canyon - Earth & Space Science News, 28 December 2015

Robert Poreda honored as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America  30 November 2015

Carmala Garzione's Andes research featured in Science News, 28 October 2015
How the Amazon became a crucible of life

Carmala Garzione leads a new NSF PIRE project to evaluate the role of Asian dust in global cooling at the onset of northern hemisphere glaciation

John Tarduno and Paleomagnetic Research Group publish 2 articles bracketing Earth's magnetic field
First measurements takenof South Africa's iron age magnetic field history
           New Scientist

Researchers find that Earth's magnetic shield is 500 million years older than previously thought
           New Scientist
           Nature News

David Raup, Paleotologist, Dies at 82
Link to Democrat and Chronicle article
Link to New York Times article

Vasilii Petrenko and PhD student, Ben Hmiel, talk about their recent Antarctic research expedition on WXXI Connection: Science Roundtable


John Tarduno receives the the 2014 Outstanding Publication Award from the Geological Society of America Geology and Tectonics Division

John Kessler comments on new study regarding methane seeps on the Atlantic margin: New York Times  NBC News

Cindy Ebinger - Why the Appalachians veer off course

Vasilii Petrenko wins the G. Grayson Curtis '58 and Jane W. Curtis for Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching Excellence

Undergraduate Avery Palardy featured on Faces of the NCAA

Udo Fehn co-authors a paper in Geology that solves the mystery of the source of nitrates in the Atacama Desert: 
Press coverage:  Science News, Live Science


Cynthia Ebinger Named Fellow of American Geophysical Union

John Tarduno speaks with 1370 Connections about his recent RMSC "Science on the Edge" Lecture entitled "Crocodiles at the Poles: Viewing the Past and Future Ice-free Arctic"

Vasilii Petrenko - Greenland ice shows lower CO levels now than in 1950

Paleoclimatologist Vasilii Petrenko wins Packard Fellowship

Students Win National Geothermal Competition


John Kessler - CBS News: Bacteria sucked up 200,000 tons of oil after BP spill

Rare meteorites created in violent celestial collision

"Top of the World" - Undergrads discuss their experience in the High Canadian Arctic during the Summer 2012 Field Season - Rochester Review

Prof. Gautam Mitra received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education

New Faculty John Kessler reports on naturally occurring bacteria that consumed oil and natural gas they spilled into the Gulf og Mexico during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon event

Vasilii Petrenko discusses glacial ice and ice core records on "Perspectives" with Curt Smith at WXXI

John Tarduno weighs in on "What if Earth's Magnetic Poles Flip?"


New Assistant Professor, Vasilii Petrenko, discusses his ice core research on WXXI

Prof. Ebinger discusses Afar rift in Science News

Asish Basu discusses the Rajmahal-Bengal-Sylhet Traps, selected as the June 2011 LIP (large igneous province) of the month (See also http://www.largeigneousprovinces.org/)

Vasilii Petrenko discusses his recent research in Antarctica with NPR's The World Today


Carmala Garzione awarded 2010 Goergen award for Excellence in Teaching

Rochester Alum is interviewed as part of a National Geographic Special - Clash of the Continents: The End of Man

Rochester Alum Sara Pruss (Class of '99), now Assistant Professor at Smith College, was asked to be a part of a National Geographic Special, to air this weekend, August 1, at 12 noon (EDT). "Clash of the Continents: Part 2 - End of Man" discusses what Earth may be like 250 million years in the future. Sara teaches Invertebrate Paleontology and Marine Geology at Smith College and her research focuses on Cambro-Ordovician carbonates and the end-Permian mass extinction.

John Tarduno: Oldest Measurement of Earth's Magnetic Field Reveals History of Battle Between Sun and Earth for Our Atmosphere


Carmala Garzione is chosen as a New York Academy of Sciences Award Winner

Cindy Ebinger: New Study in Geology Uses Satellite Imagery to Identify Active Magma Systems in East Africa's Rift Valley

Cindy Ebinger: Scientists Install Seismic Sensors in Galapagos to Generate First 3-D Images of a Hotspot Magma Plumbing System

John Tarduno and Cognitive Scientists Use Eye-Tracking Technology to Learn What Makes a Great Geologist

John Tarduno: Simulations and Ancient Magnetism Suggest Mantle Plumes May Bend Deep Beneath Earth's Crust

Asish Basu: Fledgling Mantle Plume May Be Cause of African Volcano's Unique Lava

John Tarduno: Ancient Turtle Migrated from Asia to America Over a Tropical Arctic