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

Spread between Nevada and Arizona—Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the U.S.—is best known for its rapidly declining water levels due to the ongoing megadrought gripping the western states. The lake is integral to surrounding communities, as it is also formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River—which generates electricity for thousands of people. If the water levels continue to decline, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Fox News
Across the western United States, many areas are drying up, and Lake Powell and Lake Mead continue to reach historic lows.
KRDO: Channel 13
At the end of June, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) gave the seven states along the Colorado River 60 days to make serious cuts to water usage or the bureau would do it for them.
Dramatic before-and-after photos of Lake Mead are providing visual evidence to the alarming rate in which the water levels at the largest reservoir in the country are receding.

Articles Featuring Matthew Lachniet

Remember sculptor Claes Oldenburg who created UNLV's iconic Flashlight sculpture this month.
Campus News | August 3, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting university experts’ insights on and contributions to health, environment, and society.

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.