The study of the processes (both inorganic and microbially mediated) that control the chemical composition of surface and ground waters. We have an active program tracing water-rock interaction using stable isotopes of Sr and Pb. We are participating in research related to geologic sequestration of CO2 released by burning of fossil fuels. Other active research deals with the fundamental chemical processes that occur at mineral surfaces during water-rock interaction - adsorption, catalysis, kinetics of growth and dissolution, and electron transfer. Applications of this work include processes that control the movement of metals released by mining and other human activities, the long-term storage of radioactive waste, processes that control the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the chemical means by which microorganisms interact with minerals.
The Experimental Geochemistry Lab provides high-pressure experimental equipment capabilities to research mineralogy, inorganic and organic geochemistry of the waters that react with minerals. Analytical work focusses on experimental geochemistry grounded in field-related problems. Capabilities of the lab include high-pressure flexible reaction cell systems for experiments at elevated pressure and temperatures, static reactions cells, coulometric titration for sulfur and carbon analyses, and gas chromatograph analysis of light-chain hydrocarbons.
The study of the movement of water through the Earth system, its impact on geologic processes and the affect of water quantity and quality on human activities. Geohydrologists investigate water on the Earth's surface such as in wetlands or streams. In addition, they deal with water in the subsurface. Groundwater quality, quantity and movement are all geohydrological concerns of immense societial importance.
The quantitative study of the structure, composition, and dynamic changes of the Earth, based on the principles of physics. Geophysics is very broad in scope, embracing a variety of specialties including geology, hydrology, oceanography, magnetostratigraphy and seismology. Many of the investigative techniques developed by geophysicsts are used in the exploration for petroleum and mineral deposits.
The study of the life of past geologic periods based on fossil remains and their relationships to existing plants, animals and environments in the pursuit of detailing the chronology of Earth's history.
Petrology is the branch of geology dealing with the origin, occurrence, composition, structure, properties and history of rocks. The study of the absolute and relative abundances of chemical elements in the minerals, soils, ores, rocks, water and atmosphere of the Earth.
The science of acquiring, processing and interpreting information about an object by recording devices not in physical contact with the item of interest. The methods involved in remote sensing are usually restricted to those that record the interaction between a material and electromagnetic radiation, which is determined by the physical properties of the object of interest and the wavelength of energy that is recorded. Detection systems include cameras, infrared detectors, microwave frequency receivers, radar and satellites.
The sedimentary geology program focuses primarily on diverse aspects of clastic basin analysis in a variety of tectonic settings. Studies are broadly integrative with other members of the faculty here and elsewhere. In cooperation with the Institute of Energy Research, a research arm of the department, there is also an emphasis on aspects of petroleum geology concerning reservoir analysis and carbon sequestration. Approaches emphasize the combination of observations at outcrop, subsurface and seismic scales and encourage multidisciplinary approaches. Presently there are a variety of projects being pursued in the United States, particularly the Rocky Mountain region, South America, Europe and Asia.
The study of the form, arrangement and internal structure of the rocks, especially the description, representation, orientation and analysis of structures, chiefly on a moderate to small scale. Structural geology is similar to tectonics, although the latter is generally used for broader regional or historical phases.
The Cold Regions Analysis Group explores Earth processes through observation and modeling of surficial processes. Glaciology models how glaciers advance and retreat and the physical changes that convert snow to the various types of ice. Geomorphology is the study of the origin and evolution of the Earth's landforms.