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Earth & Environmental Research
Earth & Environmental Sciences Department
Research in the Field
Two of our undergraduate students spent a school break studying burial sites near Stonehenge.
The UMD campus, located on the Canadian Shield, is in and near classic areas of Precambrian geology with spectacular Pleistocene glacial deposits and Lake Superior on our doorstep.
Paleozoic strata are easily found in southern Minnesota and there are a lot of hydrogeology opportunities. However, our research projects extend to other countries and other terrestrial planets!
For example, our faculty have research interests in Wyoming, the Four Corners, Barbados, Spain, Malawi, Krygystan, Papua New Guinea, Antarctica and Venus.
Working with Students
All of our faculty are involved in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and the department has scholarships for undergraduate students who are interested in research.
Areas of Expertise
Faculty conduct research in many geoscience fields, including:
- Climate change & paleoclimatology [Brengman, Brown, Steinman]
- Fluvial Geomorphology [Gran]
- Forest Hydrology & Forest Ecohydrology [Dymond]
- Geochemistry & isotope geochemistry [Brengman, Brown, Dymond, Gallup, Steinman]
- Geomicrobiology [Smythe]
- Glacial geology & geomorphology [Gran, Mooers, Swenson,]
- Hydrogeology [Mooers, Swenson]
- Igneous & metamorphic petrology [Davis, Goodge]
- Lakes and limnology [Brown, Wattrus]
- Planetary geology & remote sensing [Hansen, Wattrus]
- Sedimentology, basin analysis & basin modeling [Brengman, Gran, Swenson]
- Seismology and acoustic geophysics [Wattrus]
- Tectonics & structural geology [Davis, Gallup, Goodge, Hansen]
Conducts research on Lake Superior and other large lakes of the world, including several in East Africa, Central America and Asia.
Field equipment and instrumentation available to LLO include an 87 ft. research vessel for work on the Great Lakes, high-resolution seismic reflection, multi-beam and side-scan sonar profiling systems, various coring systems and water sampling equipment. LLO has a general purpose sediment analysis lab, a sedimentary geochemistry lab, and a sample archive facility, along with laboratories in physical and chemical limnology.
Located nearby in Duluth, this research institution houses a variety of lab facilities including a GIS system. Scientists at NRRI participate in joint research projects in the fields of economic geology, hydrology, and limnology.