Department of Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences
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Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Uranium isotopes as tracers of serpentinite weathering

Assistant Professor Emily Cooperdock and colleagues have published new research on uranium isotopes in serpentinite rocks found both underwater and on land. The team discovered that the uranium isotope ratios in submarine serpentinites are influenced by seafloor weathering and differ from seawater ratios. Overall, the results show exciting evidence that U-isotopes can be used to measure recent weathering of ultramafic serpentinites. The findings also caution against using these systems as indicators of ancient geological events.
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News from DEEPS

Kim Cobb and Alberto Saal elected as AGU Fellows

Professors Kim Cobb and Alberto Saal have been elected as American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fellows. They join 53 other individuals in the 2023 Class of Fellows. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space sciences association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors. Since 1962, the AGU Union Fellows Committee has selected less than 0.1% of members as new Fellows.
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News from DEEPS

Karen Fischer is 2023 AGU Inge Lehmann Medal Recipient

Professor Karen Fischer was selected to receive the AGU Inge Lehmann Medal, which is given annually to a senior scientist in recognition of outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space science association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors. 
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A new technique for measuring past topography shows the Himalayas were more than halfway to their summit before a continental collision made them the highest range in the world. “Experts have long thought that it takes a massive tectonic collision, on the order of continent-to-continent scale, to produce the sort of uplift required to produce Himalaya-scale elevations,” said DEEPS Assistant Professor Daniel Ibarra. “This study disproves that and sends the field in some interesting new directions.”
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A new study shows evidence that, as recently as 1991, a volcano erupted on Venus. “This study is really important,” said DEEPS Professor Emeritus James W. Head, who was not involved in the research. “Could this be the way Earth was in its earliest history? Or the way Earth is headed in its future?”

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Why was the long-term global cooling trend of the Cenozoic interrupted by a several-million-year interval of warming during the middle of the Miocene? Herbert et al. present a reconstruction of global ocean crustal production to show that tectonic degassing of carbon can account for most of the long-term ice sheet and global temperature evolution for the past 20 million years (see the Perspective by von der Heydt). These results provide further support for the idea that sea floor spreading rates can control global changes in climate.
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