Matthew Lachniet

Professor of Geology
Expertise: Climate Change, Quaternary Geology, Paleoclimatology

Biography

Matthew Lachniet, a professor in the department of geoscience, focuses on understanding the controls on Earth’s climate on time scales ranging from seasonal to hundreds of thousands of years, with a particular focus on tropical, desert southwest, and arctic past climates. These data inform understanding of modern and anthropogenic climate change.

Lachniet uses light stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, hydrology, speleology, glacial geology, geomorphology, and the sedimentary record to answer questions of paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic change. His primary research areas are Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Alaska, and the Great Basin. His research goal is to constrain past climate changes in these regions using proxy records. He is particularly interested in generating rainfall histories for Central America and to evaluate the climate forcings of climate change and variability in the neotropics.

Education

  • B.S., Geology, Antioch College
  • M.S., Geology, Michigan State University
  • Ph.D., Geology, Syracuse University

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Matthew Lachniet In The News

The Nevada Independent
October 1, 2020
Earlier this year, researchers published a 13,000-year climate history for the Great Basin.
Las Vegas Sun
September 28, 2020
The monsoon season — that period from mid-June through September that each year brings rains to the Mojave Desert and other areas of the Southwest from the tropical coast of Mexico — has been a dud this year.
Reno News & Review
September 28, 2020
Within 20 years, northern Washoe County may be the epicenter of persistent wildfires driven by increased temperatures and prevalent drought brought about by climate change.
Wyoming Public Media
August 19, 2020
Caves in Nevada can tell scientists about the history of the climate in the West and what it might look like in the future.

Articles Featuring Matthew Lachniet

A portrait of UNLV's new president Keith Whitfield on campus.
Campus NewsAugust 10, 2020
As summer heats up, so do the accomplishments on UNLV’s campus.
An image of Lake Mead and mountains in the background
ResearchJuly 22, 2020
New study from UNLV climate scientist Matthew Lachniet links Arctic and tropical Pacific warming to ancient climate records, providing parallels to today.
Matthew Lachniet stands in the midst of a cave in Guatemala with speleothems surrounding him.
ResearchFebruary 5, 2020
New UNLV research provides context for climate history of Guatemalan rainforests.
UNLV professor Matthew Lachniet works in his lab on campus.
PeopleDecember 27, 2019
A collection of stories highlighting UNLV faculty and students who made the news in 2019.