Matthew Lachniet

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


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.


  • 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

November 4, 2021
Great Basin National Park sits at the eastern edge of the state. The park is home to a towering rock glacier and slow-growing groves of bristlecone pines, iconic trees with twisted limbs that have stood for centuries.
Fox Weather
November 4, 2021
Host to over 41 million visitors a year, Las Vegas is bustling. But with an annual rainfall total under 4 inches, how does this desert oasis quench the masses and sustain itself, keeping water flowing and business thriving?
The Caving Podcast
October 1, 2021
Matthew Lachniet is a paleoclimatologist who studies cave formations to get a record of past climate history.
Coyote Gulch
September 17, 2021
The following are just a few of the ways “climate change now” made its full force known in the Rocky Mountains this year and showed its impact on everyday life.

Articles Featuring Matthew Lachniet

Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine graduates line up to cross the commencement stage
Campus News | December 30, 2021

A collection of 2021 headlines highlighting medical school milestones, a steady stronghold on diversity and research rankings, student success, and media mentions featuring faculty experts.

Campus News | September 7, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting community and perseverance at UNLV.

D73632_015 (June Newsmakers).JPG
Campus News | July 9, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting remembrance and improvement at UNLV.