Mountain building, our ancient atmosphere, glaciers, volcanoes, or deformation of the Earth’s lithosphere — our faculty study a range of Earth system processes to understand our dynamic planet using advanced analytical facilities, modeling, field work and more. Explore to learn more about our geology and geophysics faculty.

Researchers in this area study the interplay of magmatic, volcanic and ore-forming processes in all tectonic environments on Earth, such as rift zones and spreading centers, continental and oceanic subduction zones and mantle hotspots. This research involves substantial field work on land and at sea, as well as geochemical and geochronological work supported by world-class laboratory facilities. Researchers also use quantitative modeling of petrologic, volcanic and geodynamic processess.

Affiliated faculty: Shan de Silva, Adam Kent, Anthony Koppers, Adam Schultz, Brian Tattitch, and Frank Tepley

Earth’s climate is ever changing. In the geologic past our planet has seen climatic extremes such as “snowball Earth” episodes when tropical regions were ice-covered, and “hothouse” intervals such as the Eocene when tropical vegetation grew in Antarctica. These past global climatic changes, and the traces they have left behind, are a natural laboratory for studying how Earth’s climate works – a pressing goal as our planet faces profound ongoing climate and sea-level change. With a main focus on the Quaternary period (the last 2.6 million years), CEOAS paleoclimate researchers are working to reveal Earth’s past climatic changes by collecting and analyzing deep sea and lake sediment cores, polar ice cores and glacial and other sedimentary deposits from around the world. They use state-of the art climate and sea level models to understand the drivers of climate change, and develop new climate proxies and culture live microorganisms as tools to investigate the past.

Affiliated faculty: Ed Brook, Christo Buizert, Peter Clark, JC Creveling, Jennifer Fehrenbacher, Alan Mix, Erin Pettit, Andreas Schmittner, Joe Stoner, Mo Walczak, and Kathleen Wendt

Researchers in this realm study lithospheric deformation in both the terrestrial and marine realms across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Interdisciplinary research efforts include the recurrence interval and behavior of subduction zone earthquakes, spatial and temporal variations in fault slip over millennial time scales, growth and evolution of topography in active orogens, and the interaction among extensional tectonics, transcurrent deformation and magmatic systems.

Affiliated faculty: Andrew Meigs and Frank Sousa

Researchers use natural and human sources of acoustic, seismic and electromagnetic waves — as well as measurements of gravity, magnetization, heat, fluid flow and ground surface deformation — to probe the structure of the solid Earth at scales ranging from meters to thousands of kilometers. Such techniques enable exploration of a wide variety of problems in Earth history and dynamics, including earthquakes, magmatic plumbing, tectonics and mountain building.

Affiliated faculty: Adam Schultz, Pieter-Ewald Share, and Joe Stoner

This group studies the nearshore, the narrow edge of the ocean where ocean hazards intersect with human populations and coastal ecosystems. This strongly interdisciplinary work includes studies of the fluid dynamics of nearshore waves and currents as they propagate onto sedimentary coastlines, the erosive response of the coasts to those forces, and the familiar coastal morphologies that result from these interactions.

Affiliated faculty: Emily Eidam, Rob Holman, Merrick Haller, Tuba Özkan-Haller, Peter Ruggiero, and Greg Wilson

Research encompasses fluvial and coastal geomorphology, hydrology and biogeochemistry. In collaboration with the broader community of hydrologists, biogeochemists and geomorphologists at Oregon State, this group works to understand the movement and residence times of sediment, water, carbon, nutrients and contaminants in terrestrial and near-shore environments.

Affiliated faculty: Ed Brook, Peter Clark, Emily Eidam, Stephen Lancaster, Erin Pettit, Peter Ruggiero, Alyssa Shiel, and Pam Sullivan