Department News 2018-2019

Eldridge Moores

Eldridge M. Moores | In memoriam: 1938-20

Our colleague and dear friend, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Eldridge Moores, passed away on October 28th. Eldridge's vision, leadership, and compassion were the soul of this department. His family and his many friends and colleagues here at UC Davis and around the world are grieving from this untimely los

Sarah StewartSarah Stewart | Living on Earth

From NPR's Living on Earth: "Creating The Earth And Moon - a novel theory for how the moon was formed sheds light on earth's origin." Sarah Stewart is a guest. Listen (beginning at 34:30 minutes)


New undersea maps lead to hydrothermal vent and species discoveries | Rob Zierenberg
From EurekaAlert! AAAS: A spectacular new hydrothermal vent field, named JaichMatt, has been discovered during an expedition aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's R/V Falkor. "The deep ocean is still one of the least explored frontiers in the solar system," said Principal Investigator Robert Zierenberg. "Maps of our planet are not as detailed as those of Mercury, Venus, Mars or the moon, because it is hard to map underwater. This is the frontier." read more

Sujoy MukhopadhyaySujoy Mukhopadhyay | Mantle Neon Illuminates Earth’s Formation

From UC Davis News: The Earth formed relatively quickly from the cloud of dust and gas around the sun, trapping water and gases in the planet’s mantle, according to research published Dec. 5 in the journal Nature. Apart from settling Earth’s origins, the work could help in identifying extrasolar systems that could support habitable planets. 

Drawing on data from the depths of the Earth to deep space, University of California, Davis, Professor Sujoy Mukhopadhyay and postdoctoral researcher Curtis Williams used neon isotopes to show how the planet formed. read more

Picnic Day  | ‘Adventure Awaits': Saturday, April 13, 2019
The Picnic Day board of directors last week announced the theme of the 105th event as “Adventure Awaits,” which, according to Chair Elise Pohlhammer “captures both that Picnic Day itself is a day of adventure, exploration and opportunity, and that coming to Davis for school is an adventure in its own right.” The board further emphasized the adventure theme by choosing as parade marshal a planetary scientist: Sarah Stewart, professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences who recently received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellows grantread more

David GoldDavid GoldFirst Jellyfish Genome Reveals Ancient Beginnings of Complex Body Plan

"Jellyfish undergo an amazing metamorphosis, from tiny polyps growing on the seafloor to swimming medusae with stinging tentacles. This shape-shifting has served them well, shepherding jellyfish through more than 500 million years of mass extinctions on Earth."

“Whatever they’re doing has really worked for them,” said Assistant Professor David Gold, a lead researcher on the genome study.

Sarah StewartSarah Stewart | This Planetary Scientist Is Now a Certified Genius

From "I was sitting where I am now at my desk, and I usually do the caller-ID-screening thing, but it was a Chicago number and I thought, 'Oh, Chicago, that's fun, so I'll pick up the phone," Sarah Stewart told After the trio on the other end identified themselves with the MacArthur Foundation, "I just didn't hear anything that came next, because I guessed that they were calling about this thing and it was a complete surprise for me, so I went into shock," she continued. (They told her they're used to that.) read more

Robert ZierenbergRob Zierenberg | Interdisciplinary Investigation of a New Hydrothermal Vent Field

Interdisciplinary Investigation of a New Hydrothermal Vent Field: The Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) ship R/V Falkor conducted research at hydrothermal vents in the Pescadero Basin, off shore of Baja, Mexico in November 2018. Initial dives used a state of the art mapping system built by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) that featured co-registered photo mosaicking, multi-beam sonar, and LIDAR to map the geology and biology at centimeter scale resolution. Later dives collected geological, geochemical, biological, and microbiologic samples. Blogs are available in both English and Spanish, and with some bilingual dive narration as well. Professor Emeritus Rob Zierenberg is the Chief Scientist for the cruise. Watch Live From R/V Falkor | youtube

Leading Women in Marine Science | Veronica Vriesman
Geology graduate student Veronica Vriesman was interviewed by Hannah Rudd for the Leading Women in Marine Science series

Alumni Profile: Geology Grad Pursues Adventure-Writing Career | Mike Bezemek
Mike Bezemek (B.A., geology, ’03), a freelance writer and photographer, has crafted a career that combines his passion for natural landscapes with his love of literature and writing.

Max RudolphLA Times | A San Andreas fault mystery: The 'slow-moving disaster' in an area where the Big One is feared

"The San Andreas fault begins its dangerous dance through California at the Salton Sea, at a spot that seismologists long have feared could be the epicenter of a massive earthquake. But in recent months, this desolate location where the North American and Pacific plates rub together has become the focus of intense interest for a type of movement that is less the Big One than the Slow One."

Assistant Professor Max Rudolph, who studies geothermal activity in the Salton Trough, comments on the geologic history of the area.

Geology text books

Professors for the Future | Veronica Prush & Barbara Wortham

Geology graduate students Veronica Prush and Babs Wortham are 2018-19 Professors for the Future (PFTF) Fellows. PFTF is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service


Isabel MontanezIsabel Montañez | Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal

Professor Isabel Montañez  will receive the 2019 Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal from the European Geophysical Union (EGU) Division of Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, and Paleontology at the EGU 2019 General Assembly in Vienna, Austria (April 7-12). The medal is awarded to scientists for their exceptional contributions to stratigraphy, sedimentology or paleontology.


Planetary Science

Science Channel's Space's Deepest Secrets | Dark Origins of the Moon

Professor Sarah Stewart's research is featured in "Dark Origins of the Moon", the season opening episode of Science Channel's Space's Deepest Secrets series. Her segment focuses on the experiments she and her group are doing at Sandia National Laboratory to re-create the extreme conditions during moon formation.

National Nuclear Security Administration | New Center of Excellence
The University of California San Diego was awarded $10.5 million over five years from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to create one of four new centers of excellence. The Center for Matters under Extreme Pressure (CMEC) will have an emphasis on creation and diagnosis of extreme states of matter utilizing computer modeling and experiments to develop a better understanding of high-energy density systems. The center will be headquartered at UC San Diego, but will work in partnership with three other University of California campuses — Berkeley, Davis and Los Angeles — the University of Chicago, Florida A&M University and General Atomics. Dr. Farhat Beg (UC San Diego) will lead research and technological breakthroughs in high-energy density physics while training graduate students at the participating campuses and NNSA National Laboratories.

Geerat Vermeij

Geerat Vermeij | Curiosity Project

Blinded by childhood glaucoma at age 3, Geerat Vermeij quickly learned to focus on his sense of touch to satisfy his curiosity about the outside world. At age 10, he began collecting seashells. Today, Geerat Vermeij is a Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Davis and hopes that his deep curiosity will inspire others to observe, discover, and understand.


Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart-Mukhopadhyay | MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow

Dr. Sarah Stewart-Mukhopadhyay has been named one of the 2018 MacArthur Fellows! Also known as the 'Genius Grant,' the MacArthur Fellows program recognizes "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction." Sarah joins a prestigious group, drawn from across the arts, humanities, and sciences. It is a prize held in similar esteem to the Nobel. UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences is one of two earth science departments in the nation with more than one MacArthur Fellow on its faculty (Geerat Vermeij is a 1992 fellow).

Forging Future Science Teachers. Teresa Huang (B.S., chemistry, ’18) is close to achieving her dream thanks to the CalTeach/ Mathematics and Science Teaching Program (MAST) program at UC Davis. “MAST changed my life,” Huang said.

Sarah Stewart

Space Unites the World

World Space Week 2018 is October 4-10th. “Space Unites the World” is this year's theme. Sarah Stewart contributed this post to the American Geophysical Union's From the Prow Blog. In it, she reflects on how space and space exploration can unite humanity.


Earth cake

How Do You Make an Earth-like Planet?

Astronomers have spotted many Earth-like worlds around other stars, but are these exoplanets really similar to our home, and could they support life? The CLEVERPlanets project, including UC Davis professor Sarah Stewart, has received a $7.7 million NASA grant to explore how rocky planets like Earth acquire, sustain, and nurture the chemical conditions necessary for life.


River and canyon

$1M to Attract Students to Geology and Marine Sciences

The earth and planetary sciences department at the University of California, Davis, is receiving a $1 million award from the National Science Foundation to target scholarships for students eligible for federal financial aid and enable field experiences for majors in either geology, or coastal and marine sciences.


Louise Kellogg

Geoscientists Take Part in Frontera Supercomputer

UC Davis scientists are taking part in a project to build the new “Frontera” supercomputer at the University of Texas at Austin. Frontera will be the fastest computer at any U.S. university and among the most powerful in the world. Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics, headquartered in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, and led by Louise Kellogg, professor of earth and planetary sciences, is a partner in the project.


Nicholas Pinter

Wisconsin Reservation Offers A Climate Success Story And A Warning

From NPR: Nicholas Pinter first heard about Odanah a few year ago, and immediately wondered why he hadn't heard about it before. Pinter, a geologist at the University of California, Davis, studies floods — where they happen and how humans deal with them. He's particularly interested in places where repeated, severe floods have forced entire towns to move.

Donna Eberhart-Phillips has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Donna is well known for her work on earthquakes and 3-D imaging in Alaska, New Zealand, California, and other parts of the world.

Qing-Zhu Yin has been elected a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society. The Meteoritical Society was founded in 1933 to promote the study of planetary science with emphasis on meteorites and other extraterrestrial materials, such as samples returned on space missions.