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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

Aug 16, 2018

The sediments of a Mexican lake contain some of the answers about the mystery of the fall of the Mayans.

Aug 16, 2018

How could a civilization as advanced as that of the Mayas collapse in the space of a few hundred years? The key to this mystery that has been brewing historians for centuries may lie at the bottom of an ancestral lake in Mexico City, Science magazine reveals on Thursday, August 2 .

Aug 16, 2018

As one of the most advanced civilizations of its time, the Mayans left behind puzzles related to their extinction.

Aug 6, 2018

The sediment under a lake in Mexico contains some of the long-sought answers to the mystery of the Mayan demise.

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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