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Medicine Bow peak,Snowy Range mountains Wyoming.  Covered with snow.

Geology and Geophysics

Students in front of building with snowbuilding with lights at night flowers in foreground

With 27 faculty members, our undergraduate and graduate course offerings and research interests span a broad array of earth and planetary sciences.

Situated within the Rocky Mountains, our Department provides students with diverse opportunities for geological studies. For example, the widespread and structurally complex Precambrian rocks provide an ideal setting for petrologic and structural students. Extensive Rocky Mountain basins are the focus of many sedimentological studies. In addition, we can offer many exciting research opportunities in landscape development, water management, volcanic history (Yellowstone), and climate. G&G Faculty members have conducted research in Costa Rica, Antarctica, Norway, South America, Alaska, Canada and on many of the worlds mid ocean ridges.

Our Department is also active in applied science. In tandem with the School of Energy Resources, we provide training and research in hydrocarbon exploration, carbon sequestration, water resources, and watershed management. We also have a strong program in computational geophysics, with faculty that perform large-scale parallel computations to constrain seismic-wave propagation and hydrologic flow.

Whether you come from a background in geology, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics or computation, we think you will be able to find a group in our Department that will satisfy your professional goals, or at least sate your curiosity about how our planet functions and changes over time. 

 

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Department News

kim_lau

Welcome to Professor Kim Lau

Professor Kim Lau (Ph.D. Stanford)  recently joined us from the University of California Riverside. Kim studies the causes and consequences of environmental change on life and biogeochemical cycles, using the geochemistry of ancient sedimentary rocks. One of her objectives is to  decipher the causes of anoxia in the Phanerozoic and the pattern and extent of ocean oxygenation in the Neoproterozoic, and their links to animal evolution and extinction. She investigates changes in marine redox conditions in the context of fluctuations in other global biogeochemical cycles, and their relationship to geologic drivers such as climate change, volcanism, glaciation, and tectonics.

Kim will be teaching Biogeochemistry this semester, and will teach Geochemical Cycles and the Earth System next semester .

 


Jackalope in the Solomon islands

The Jackalope Undergoing Repairs for a New Voyage

Nearly two years ago, Michael Cheadle, together with fellow Professor Barbara John and UW Lab school teacher Theresa Williams, launched a small sailboat, dubbed “The Jackalope” in the Pacific Ocean with the hope it would wash up on some distant shore and be discovered. The Jackalope traveled about 7,600 miles, during its 190-day voyage. The sailboat eventually found its way to the shores just north of the Solomon Islands. Unbeknown to Cheadle and John, the Jackalope was being followed by George Kaola, a teacher at the Kukum Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands. Apparently, he had been tracking the Jackalope’s journey online............ Read more in this UW news story.


Ken SimsDiscovery of an isotopically distinct Zealandia-Antarctic mantle domain in the Southern Ocean

UW Department of Geology and Geophysics Professor Ken Sims and recent Ph.D. graduate Sean Scott are co-authors of an article, “An isotopically distinct Zealandia-Antarctic mantle domain in the Southern Ocean,” published by the scientific journal Nature Geoscience in January.

“The Australian-Antarctic Ridge is the remotest mid-ocean ridge in the world’s oceans and one of the last explored ridge segments, and, lo and behold, our isotope measurements of the samples we collected provided us with quite a surprise -- an entirely new domain in the Earth’s mantle,” Sims says.

Read more about Ken's work

Kevin Chamberlain at TomskKevin Chamberlain's Russian Collaboration

Science brought University of Wyoming geochronologist Kevin Chamberlain to Siberia, but it was the Russian people and culture that impressed him the most.

Chamberlain, a member of UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics faculty, is part of a five-scientist international team recruited to help Tomsk State University (TSU) design and install a Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry facility.

Chamberlain, along with the Canadian and TSU scientists, has been awarded a grant from the Russian government to study Siberian rocks potentially associated with a mass extinction event.

Read more in this UW article

 


Video Highlights

Department Highlights

Carol Frost

Faculty Highlight

Congratulations to Professor Carol Frost who has just been elected as Vice President of the Mineralogical Society of America for 2019. Congratulations Carol.

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Student Highlight

Congratulations to Thomas Ashley, a graduate student supervised by Brandon McElroy, who was awarded the prize for best graduate student presentation at the Rocky Mountain/Cordilleran GSA meeting in Flagstaff.

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