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Matthew Lachniet


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

Matthew Lachniet In The News

Oct 30, 2018

We’ve entered some profoundly unfamiliar planetary territory.

Oct 30, 2018

Recent research by scientists indicates that carbon dioxide levels on Earth have peaked in the past 15 million years.

Oct 29, 2018

We’ve entered some profoundly unfamiliar planetary territory.

Aug 29, 2018

Speculation aside, there are valuable facts presented by the study, one of which is that we still have time to establish climate change policies to thwart catastrophic events, says UNLV geoscience professor and climate change expert Matthew Lachniet.

Articles Featuring Matthew Lachniet

Jonathan Baker and colleagues examine stalagmite in a cave
May 22, 2017
Campus News

UNLV Ph.D. candidate’s research in Russia challenges widely held understanding of past climate history; study appears in latest issue of top journal Nature Geoscience.

Matthew Lachniet studies stalagmites
Oct 15, 2015

UNLV geoscience professor exploring the links between wet conditions starting 5,000 years ago and weather events such as El Niño in the Desert Southwest.

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