A woman wearing a veil over her head sitting among different rock formations.

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

A portrait of UNLV's new president Keith Whitfield on campus.
Campus News | August 10, 2020

As summer heats up, so do the accomplishments on UNLV’s campus.

An image of Lake Mead and mountains in the background
Research | July 22, 2020

New study from UNLV climate scientist Matthew Lachniet links Arctic and tropical Pacific warming to ancient climate records, providing parallels to today.

This artist's rendition depicts NASA's Mars 2020 rover studying rocks with its robotic arm.
Research | July 6, 2020

Geoscientist Libby Hausrath gives an insider glimpse at her role as one of 15 scientists selected by NASA to work on Mars sample return on the 2020 Rover Mission.

A UNLV banner on campus.
Campus News | July 2, 2020

A collection of news stories featuring the people and programs of UNLV.

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.

Geoscience In The News

Las Vegas Review Journal
August 5, 2020

In response to your July 27 story, “New study may predict ‘worst case’ climate scenario for Nevada’”: I read this report with alarm. Every disaster movie starts with a scientific warning being ignored, and we ignore this study at our peril. Like ignoring the early coronavirus warnings, not following advice from climate scientists creates disasters, too.

KVVU-TV: Fox 5
August 5, 2020

Meet the UNLV scientist and professor who's literally doing some groundbreaking work on Mars with NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

U.S. News & World Report
August 1, 2020

If the Mars Perseverance Rover was lifting off from Cape Canaveral at almost any other time, University of Nevada, Las Vegas geochemistry and astrobiology professor Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath would have had a front-row seat.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
August 1, 2020

If the Mars Perseverance Rover was lifting off from Cape Canaveral at almost any other time, University of Nevada, Las Vegas geochemistry and astrobiology professor Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath would have had a front-row seat.

Oilprice.com
July 30, 2020

In the latest round of feuding between the world’s leading economies, China has vowed to retaliate after the United States ordered its consulate in Houston shut within 72 hours. Although the latest move by Washington is being viewed as an attempt by President Trump’s campaign strategists to deflect attention for his failure to deal decisively with the Covid-19 pandemic, it could quickly escalate into another ugly tit-for-tat trade war. As trade and political tensions between Washington and Beijing flare up, the specter of China using rare earth minerals as a ‘nuclear option’ has once again resurfaced.

KTNV-TV: ABC 13
July 30, 2020

At some point you've probably pondered the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe?

Geoscience Experts

An expert in global metal resources, the use of geochemistry to unravel geological processes, igneous petrology, mineral exploration, and global tectonics.    
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 Mars geochemistry, astrobiology, water-rock interactions, and snow dynamics.
An expert in earthquakes, structural geology, tectonics, and neotectonics.
An expert in geology, paleoecology, paleontology, and the history of geology.

Recent Geoscience Accomplishments

July 22, 2020
Simon Jowitt (Geoscience) was featured in an Ars Technica article on the rare earth elements, covering demand for these elements that are critical for modern technology, green energy, and defense. The article highlights recent UNLV geoscience research on the geology and potential recycling of the rare earth elements, and how developments in this...
June 18, 2020
Jesse Barnes (Public Policy & Leadership) and Michael Nicholl (Geoscience) recently had their article "Mildly hydrophobic biobased mulch: A sustainable approach to controlling bare soil evaporation" published in Vadose Zone Journal. This article was adapted from Barnes's thesis project from his master's degree in UNLV's water resources...
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...