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Department of Geoscience News

Geoscience is an all-encompassing term used to refer to the earth sciences. Geoscientists strive to understand earth processes and study the origin and evolution of our planet; the chemical and physical properties of minerals, rocks, and fluids; the structure of our mobile crust; the history of life; and the human adaptation to earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and floods.

Current Geoscience News

Two women stand in front of an image of a Martian rover
Research | May 19, 2020

Pair of geoscience professors at the forefront of UNLV’s contributions to Mars exploration, but plenty more academics are involved in the Red Planet.

library interior study spaces
People | May 15, 2020

Eight UNLV Students Honored With 2020 Lance and Elena Calvert Awards For Undergraduate Research across a wide spectrum of research topics.

Interior of Grand Canyon with individual looking at rocks
Research | May 1, 2020

Las Vegas Valley rock layer matches that of a famous interval of rocks at the Grand Canyon; findings reported in the journal Geology.

A woman in a labcoat manipulates a test tube
Business and Community | April 17, 2020

Life sciences' Helen Wing and colleagues assisting Southern Nevada Health District with viral transport medium; other faculty in College of Sciences contribute protective equipment.

Matthew Lachniet stands in the midst of a cave in Guatemala with speleothems surrounding him.
Research | February 5, 2020

New UNLV research provides context for climate history of Guatemalan rainforests.

UNLV professor Matthew Lachniet works in his lab on campus.
People | December 27, 2019

A collection of stories highlighting UNLV faculty and students who made the news in 2019.

Geoscience In The News

KLAS-TV: 8 News Now
May 15, 2020

The 6.5-magnitude Tonopah earthquake was felt by many here in southern Nevada. It’s now raising questions if a similar-sized quake could rock the valley anytime soon.

Le Nouvelliste
April 17, 2020

She is sparkling. Determined. Brilliant. Arya Udry is 32 years old. This native Valaisanne, whose mother lives in Hérémence and who grew up between Brittany and neighboring France, is now a professor of geology and planetology at the University of Nevada, in Las Vegas. A dazzling journey for the one who, while crawling on the mountains of Valais, dreamed of being an astronaut. "To realize this dream, you had to either become a scientist or an airplane pilot."

Smithsonian Magazine
April 8, 2020

Despite their microscopic size and simplistic cells, bacteria are some of the hardiest life forms around. In recent years, scientists have uncovered these stalwart microbes in environments as extreme as the searing hot springs in Yellowstone National Park and the acidic, metal-rich waters that drain out of mines.

National Geographic
April 2, 2020

IN 2013, SCIENTISTS were stunned to find microbes thriving deep inside volcanic rocks beneath the seafloor off the Pacific Northwest, buried under more than 870 feet of sediment. The rocks were on the flank of the volcanic rift where they were born, and they were still young and hot enough to drive intense chemical reactions with the seawater, from which the microbes derived their energy.

Science Daily
February 6, 2020

It's hard to believe the landscape ever looked any different. But according to new research by UNLV climate scientists, the locations where those jungles exist today likely looked very different less than 9,000 years ago -- a blink of an eye by geologic standards.

Science Blog
February 6, 2020

Tourists today spend thousands of dollars to explore and enjoy the lush and thriving rainforests of Guatemala.

It’s hard to believe the landscape ever looked any different. But according to new research by UNLV climate scientists, the locations where those jungles exist today likely looked very different less than 9,000 years ago – a blink of an eye by geologic standards.

Geoscience Experts

Lachniet is an expert in paleoclimatology, quaternary geology, climate change and stable isotope geochemistry.
Brian Hedlund in an expert in microbial ecology at high temperatures, biofuels and genomics. 
An expert in earthquakes, structural geology, tectonics, and neotectonics.
An expert in global metal resources, the use of geochemistry to unravel geological processes, igneous petrology, mineral exploration, and global tectonics.    
An expert in geology, paleoecology, paleontology, and the history of geology.
An expert in Mars geochemistry, astrobiology, water-rock interactions, and snow dynamics.

Recent Geoscience Accomplishments

May 5, 2020
The Graduate College is pleased to announce its 2019-20 award winners.  UNLV Graduate College Outstanding Thesis & Dissertation Awards Each year the Graduate College presents four awards for outstanding theses and dissertations (within each category, one for STEM and one for non-STEM). This year’s winners are: Outstanding Thesis (STEM...
April 27, 2020
Min Li (Physics and Astronomy) will have a new study appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society — a major international astronomy journal. She and her collaborators, UNLV's Jason Steffen, Zhaohuan Zhu (both Physics and Astronomy), and Shichun Huang (Geoscience), as well as Misha Petaev at Harvard, combined simulations of a...
March 27, 2020
Several faculty and staff members recently were recognized by the College of Sciences with the following awards: Distinguished Classified Staff Award Rychelle Tomlin, College of Sciences   Distinguished Professional Staff Award Martha Schumacher, College of Sciences   Distinguished Researcher Award Balakrishnan Naduvalath, Chemistry and...
August 12, 2019
Jason Steffen (Physics and Astronomy), Shichun Huang (Geoscience), and Zhaohuan Zhu (Physics and Astronomy) were awarded a $550,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation for "Modeling Dust Condensation in Protoplanetary Disks".  This program will combine UNLV's expertise in geochemistry and in planet formation to calculate the...
March 26, 2019
Simon Jowitt (Geoscience) and colleagues from Hefei University of Technology and Uppsala University recently published a paper on the use of magnetite compositions to determine the processes that formed major mineral deposits in eastern China. The paper, "In situ LA–ICP–MS Trace Element Analyses of Magnetite: Genetic Implications for the Zhonggu...
February 22, 2019
Arya Udry and Chris DeFelice (both Geoscience), along with Zoe Wilbur, '18 BS Geology; Rachel Rahib, '15 BS Geology and '18 MS Geoscience; and Logan Combs, '18 MS Geoscience, co-authored the manuscript "Reclassification of Four Aubrites as Enstatite Chondrite Impact Melts: Potential Geochemical Analogs for Mercury" in the Meteoritics and Planetary...