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Curtis WilliamsQing-zhu YinCurtis Williams and Qing-zhu Yin  | Meteorites Show Transport of Material in Early Solar System

From UC Davis: New studies of a rare type of meteorite show that material from close to the sun reached the outer solar system even as the planet Jupiter cleared a gap in the disk of dust and gas from which the planets formed. The results, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, add to an emerging understanding of how our solar system formed and how planets form around other stars. The consensus theory on how planets form is that they accrete from a disk of dust and gas that rotates around a new-formed star.

Evidence for the composition of this protoplanetary disk in our own solar system comes from chondrites, a type of meteorite made up of smaller particles, or chondrules, that collected together like a cosmic dust bunny. “If we understand transport, we can understand the properties of the disk and infer how the planets were built,” said Qing-zhu Yin, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Davis, and co-author on the paper. Yin, UC Davis research scientist Curtis Williams, and their collaborators carried out a detailed study of isotopes from 30 meteorites. They confirmed that they fell into two distinct groups: the noncarbonaceous chondrites as well as other, more common types of meteorite; and the carbonaceous meteorites.

Ryosuke MotaniRyosuke Motani | Ichthyosaur’s Last Meal Is Evidence of Triassic Megapredation

From UC Davis: When a specimen of the ichthyosaur Guizhouichthyosaurus was discovered in Guizhou province, China, in 2010, researchers noticed a large bulge of other bones within the animal’s abdomen. On examination, they identified the smaller bones as belonging to another marine reptile, Xinpusaurus xingyiensis, which belonged to a group called thalattosaurs. Xinpusaurus was more lizardlike in appearance than an ichthyosaur, with four paddling limbs. “We have never found articulated remains of a large reptile in the stomach of gigantic predators from the age of dinosaurs, such as marine reptiles and dinosaurs,” said Ryosuke Motani, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Davis, and co-author on the paper. “We always guessed from tooth shape and jaw design that these predators must have fed on large prey but now we have direct evidence that they did.” The fossil is described in a paper published Aug. 20 in the journal iScience. Read more at Reuters | CNN  | National Geographic | AFP

Sarah StewartSarah Stewart | Understanding Matter at Atom-Crushing Densities

From UC Davis: University of California, Davis will be part of a new National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Frontier Center focusing on understanding the physics and astrophysical implications of matter under pressures so high that the structure of individual atoms is disrupted. The Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP) will be funded with $12.96 million from the NSF. It will be hosted at the University of Rochester in collaboration with researchers at UC Davis, MIT, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Buffalo and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC) are university-based centers funded by the NSF to enable transformational advances in the most promising research areas.  “This collaboration is focused on developing a new area of physics focused on the properties of matter under extreme pressures” said Sarah T. Stewart, professor of earth and planetary sciences at UC Davis and co-principal investigator on the project. “Most of the work is motivated by the diversity of the interiors of planets, to understand their formation and evolution.”

Brunton and mapUC Davis Geology Graduate Program | GRE Scores Permanently Dropped

The Geology Graduate program has permanently dropped GRE scores from the required application materials. Starting August 2020, students applying to the Masters and PhD Programs in Geology will no longer be asked to submit GRE scores. This change is in response to strong evidence that GRE scores do not predict the success of students in graduate school and the recognition that this requirement is one barrier to increasing diversity of graduate students in the program.

Analysis of Landslide Kinematics Using Multi-Temporal Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery, La Honda, California | 2020 E&EG Best Publication Award

Former EPS graduate student Jordan Carey paper, "Analysis of Landslide Kinematics Using Multi-Temporal Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery, La Honda, California,” EEG Volume XXV, Number 4, pp. 301-317, has been selected to receive the AEG Publication Award for 2020 - the best paper from the last four issues of E&EG. Jordan completed his M.S. thesis on this topic, under Nicholas Pinter's mentorship, while at UC Davis. Nicholas Pinter is also one of the co-author's on this paper.

Berryessa Geology | Field Guide for Car Tour

From UC Davis: Only two hours by car from Davis, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is one of the world’s best living laboratories for studying plate tectonics. "Exploring the Berryessa Region: A Geology, Nature and History Tour" provides a lively guide for touring the monument’s natural wonders by car. The book was inspired by field trips led by the late Eldridge Moores, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of geology, and his wife, Judy, among the contributors. The trips drew hundreds of people to Berryessa in support of the yearslong lobbying effort that led to the national monument designation.

Mike OskinMike Oskin | UC Davis Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award

Mike Oskin is a 2020 recipient of a UC Davis Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award. The award recognizes faculty providing outstanding service in advising and mentoring at the program level. Graduate advising and mentoring are vital for guiding students through their degrees and professional development, while also helping to ensure their overall success and well-being.

NASA's FINESST 2020, Planetary Science division | Supratim Dey

Geology graduate student Supratim Dey is a recipient of a NASA's FINESST scholarship (Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology). Entitled: Establishing Planetary Genealogy of Iron Meteorites and Pallasites using Nucleosynthetic Isotope Anomalies of Chromium and Titanium, the primary objective of the proposed research is to establish the genealogy of important groups of planetary materials and to determine the provenance of their parent bodies in the early Solar System using nucleosynthetic isotopic anomalies in meteorites.

Richard CowenRichard Cowen | In memoriam: 1940-2020

Our colleague and dear friend, Senior Lecturer Emeritus Richard Cowen, passed away on January 8, 2020. A gentleman and a scholar, Richard's teaching excellence inspired thousands of students, as well as UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences faculty and staff. Messages of sympathy and memories of Richard may be sent to If you wish to have your message included on our Memories of Richard page, please let us know.

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