Matthew Lachniet

Professor
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

Mashable
April 22, 2019
When Americans celebrated the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the planet's atmosphere was markedly different than it is today. Nearly 50 years ago, scientists measured Earth's levels of carbon dioxide — the planet's most important greenhouse gas — at around 325 parts per million, or ppm.
VIPortalfi
April 22, 2019
When Americans celebrated the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the planet’s atmosphere was markedly different than it is today. Nearly 50 years ago, scientists measured Earth’s levels of carbon dioxide — the planet’s most important greenhouse gas — at around 325 parts per million, or ppm.
Eos
January 31, 2019
Forty-two centuries ago, the flourishing Akkadian Empire—spread across modern-day Iraq, Turkey, and Syria—suddenly disappeared. Paleoclimatologists and other geoscientists now have one possible explanation for why. Using precisely age dated chemical measurements from a stalagmite collected in a cave in Iran, researchers found an abrupt uptick in dust at that point in history. This heightened dust activity, which persisted for 300 years, might have made for uncomfortable living conditions and difficulties in farming, the researchers suggest.
KSNV-TV: News 3
November 30, 2018
Professor Matt Lachniet spends hours looking for clues. This Thursday, he shows us samples in his laboratory of stalagmites from Nevada caves. Some are thousands of years old, pointing to a time when this desert was actually hotter and drier, which coincides with a time when the oceans we now call the Pacific and the Arctic were warmer.

Articles Featuring Matthew Lachniet

Campus NewsJune 26, 2019
A collection of news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.
ResearchNovember 28, 2018
Climate change researcher Matt Lachniet explains the impacts of hotter temperatures.
Jonathan Baker and colleagues examine stalagmite in a cave
Campus NewsMay 22, 2017
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
ResearchOctober 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.