Earth-surface processes shape the landscape, drive sediment flux, and interact with with global systems such as climate and even tectonics. These processes act over geological time scales as well as shorter, human time. Because earth-surface processes intersect the human realm, research in this area often is relevant to society. For example, when rates of surficial processes such as down-slope movement or coastal erosion are rapid, or act episodically, they can become hazards that threaten human life and property. Researchers at UC Davis study a broad array of earth-surface systems, including rivers, oceans and coasts, natural hazards, how tectonics shape landscape, climate change and climate dynamics, earth-life interactions, and other fields.
The Earth and Planetary Sciences department at UC Davis offers interdisciplinary curricula in geochemistry. Tools involve the use of stable isotope and trace element mass spectrometry to address problems in aqueous, marine and environmental geochemistry, and studies applied to sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous systems. Our students are encouraged to design individual academic programs involving both empirical and theoretical approaches. Opportunities exist for students to participate in international field research programs on land and throughout the ocean basins.
Geophysicists aim to understand the dynamics of the Earth through research on the physical processes, properties, and structure of the planet on which we live. The Geophysics group at UC Davis is involved in a diverse spectrum of research activities including geodynamics, marine geophysics, seismology, paleomagnetism, geodesy, natural hazards, and tectonics. In their research, faculty and students in geophysics use theoretical modeling, computer simulations, data analyses, laboratory experimentation, and land and marine field observations.
The field of paleobiology is thriving today, due largely to its fundamentally interdisciplinary focus- the study of the history of life in relation to the history of the Earth. Partnerships with biologists allow paleontologists to investigate questions concerning fossils as once-living organisms - their development and evolution, function and behavior, patterns of genealogical relationships. Partnerships with geologists allow paleontologists to investigate questions about the changing long-term relationships between organisms and their environment - paleoceanography, paleoecology, paleobiogeography, biogeochemistry.
The Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Change faculty group is a diverse group of scientists brought together by their common interest in the environment, both ancient and modern. Faculty research interests include: Environmental Geology, Fluvial Geomorphology, Ocean Chemistry (Archean to Modern), Paleoclimatology, Paleomagnetic Studies, Sedimentology, and Stratigraphy.
The Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Group at the University of California, Davis has a wide range of research interests and active research projects. We have a common interest in the petrology of mafic and ultramafic rocks, fluid-rock interactions, and the application of petrology to regional and global scale geologic problems. There is an unusual degree of cooperation among structural geologists and petrologists in our department.
The Planetary group combines expertise in geochemical studies of extraterrestrial materials, experiments and modeling of major geophysical processes, and developing geobiological approaches to search for life on other planets. Current research includes exploration of ancient environments on Mars, timescales of planet formation, giant impacts and lunar origin, and the formation of the early terrestrial.
The program in Structural Geology and Tectonics encompasses a wide variety of subjects, and a wide variety of areas all over the world. The common themes of our research are to understand the deformation of the Earth's crust and to reconstruct its history through geologic time. We approach these studies from many different perspectives, including global synthesis, field studies, materials science, theoretical analysis, and numerical modeling. Research in this group overlaps extensively with geophysics, igneous petrology, and metamorphic petrology, and there is productive interaction with faculty in these other areas.
NEAT (Nanophases in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology) is a multidisciplinary research and education program which links the fundamental physics, chemistry, and engineering of small particles and nanomaterials to several challenging areas of investigation:
- applications in ceramic, chemical, electronic, environmental, and agricultural technology
- environmental transport and transformation and resulting roles in environmental pollution and remediation
- interactions with the biosphere, especially microorganisms
- effects on health