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Department of Earth Sciences


Life after graduating, and life before the Cambrian Explosion - Tue, 13/04/2021 - 10:47
Before the unprecedented months of virtual everythings – hand sanitiser-soaked fingers and meetings in pyjama bottoms – I was happily enjoying my final year as an undergraduate. Whilst making the most of my time left in beautiful Cambridge and running the greatest student geological society there is (the unofficial title I awarded the Sedgwick Club), …
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Dr Emilie Ringe recognised as 2021 JPC Lectureship Winner

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 13/04/2021 - 09:25

Dr Emilie Ringe, Lecturer at the Department of Earth Sciences & Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, has been recognised as one of three Journal of Physical Chemistry (JPC) and PHYS Division Lectureship Winners. The Journal of Physical Chemistry – PHYS Division Lectureship Awards...

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Scientists zero in on the role of volcanoes in the demise of dinosaurs

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 30/03/2021 - 08:47

Researchers have uncovered evidence suggesting that volcanic carbon emissions were not a major driver in Earth’s most recent extinction event. Earth has experienced five major extinction events over the last 500 million years, the fifth and most recent responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Massive...

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Masters student gets detailed snapshot of earthquake tremors in Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland - Wed, 24/03/2021 - 12:00
Just hours after Dan Roberts, Masters student at Cambridge Earth Sciences, handed in his dissertation on the seismicity of Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, the volcano in his study area erupted… Here Dan reflects on how his work, which employs Cambridge-developed earthquake mapping software, is helping inform our understanding of seismic and volcanic hazards in Iceland. Were …
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Traces of Earth’s early magma ocean identified in Greenland rocks

Earth Sciences news - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 19:00

New research led by the University of Cambridge has found rare evidence – preserved in the chemistry of ancient rocks from Greenland - which tells of a time when Earth was almost entirely molten. The study yields information on a fundamental period in our planet’s formation, when a deep sea of incandescent magma stretched...

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Hubble sees new atmosphere forming on a rocky exoplanet

Earth Sciences news - Thu, 11/03/2021 - 15:17

For the first time, scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found evidence of volcanic activity reforming the atmosphere on a rocky planet around a distant star. The planet, GJ 1132 b, has a similar density, size, and age to Earth. The planet GJ 1132 b appears to have begun life as a gaseous world with a...

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Mapping Cambridge stone

Earth Sciences news - Wed, 10/03/2021 - 08:40

A comprehensive survey of the stone used in Cambridge buildings has been made by Nigel Woodcock and Euan Furness from Cambridge Earth Sciences. The results show how stone use through time was influenced by wars, by pandemics, and by the canal and railway revolutions. The survey’s novel methodology will be useful for...

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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 - Mon, 08/03/2021 - 10:12
Cambridge Earth Sciences is proud to be celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021. International Women’s Day has occurred for well over a century with the first gathering held in 1911. In addition to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, International Women’s Day also marks a call to action for …
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Geological Society awards for Cambridge researchers

Earth Sciences news - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:35

Congratulations to Professor Marie Edmonds and Professor Nicky White who each received awards from the Geological Society. They were amongst eighteen individuals selected for the 2021 medals and awards , “these individuals have shaped our understanding of the Earth and beyond, contributing to the success of the geoscience...

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New calculations show volcanoes are key cause of hydrogen in early atmospheres

Earth Sciences news - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:07

Scientists may soon be able to tell whether distant exoplanets are home to volcanoes, and even the early stages of life, just by looking for hydrogen gas in their atmospheres. Research from Cambridge Earth Sciences has found that volcanic activity on planets with a similar size and interior to Earth can create atmospheres...

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Panel discussion: can we adapt to a changing climate?

Earth Sciences news - Mon, 22/02/2021 - 10:19

A recent panel discussion held by the Royal Society, in partnership with the British Museum, explored how humans adapted to environmental change in the past, and what we should be doing in the present to reduce our vulnerability to climate change. Throughout history, humanity's survival has depended, in part, on our...

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Catherine Craston demystifies the role of a Museum Collections Assistant - Thu, 11/02/2021 - 13:25
The roles of museum curators and archivists are often shrouded in mystery – what do they get up to behind the scenes? In this post I lift the lid on the profession and give you an insight into my job as Sedgwick Museum’s Collections Assistant for the intriguingly named, Moving a Mountain project. But first, …
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New geomagnetic timescale through the Early Palaeozoic Icehouse

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 09/02/2021 - 12:45

The Geomagnetic Polarity Timescale that charts the reversals of Earth’s magnetic field is well established for the past 200 million years, but increasingly patchy before that. In recent papers in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, scientists have reported the first reliable polarity timescale for later...

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Trapped gases in Kīlauea lavas are a window into the volcano’s fiery depths

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 09/02/2021 - 10:35

Pockets of frozen magma and gas trapped in the crystals erupted from Kīlauea are allowing scientists to see deep into its plumbing system - a below-ground view that could help volcanologists get a better handle on what triggered the colossal 2018 eruption. The 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano on the Island of Hawai’i was...

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Sedgwick Museum launches DIY Duria online gallery

Earth Sciences news - Thu, 04/02/2021 - 10:21

Early in the first lockdown, the Getty Museum challenged social media users to recreate artworks from its collection using household objects. The Sedgwick Museum, alongside their social media followers, got to work recreating the famous Duria Antiquior – a painting depicting the ancient Dorset shoreline teaming with...

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Earthquake depth and basin shape are deciding factors for seismic ground shaking

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 02/02/2021 - 14:02

Research led by Aisling O’Kane, a PhD student in our Department, is helping scientists understand why some sedimentary basins -- low lying regions on Earth’s surface that accumulate sediments -- are particularly prone to hazardous ground shaking following earthquakes, one of the primary causes of building damage...

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Student receives Dave Johnston Mapping Prize

Earth Sciences news - Mon, 25/01/2021 - 10:34

Congratulations to third year student, Peter Methley, on receiving the Dave Johnston Mapping Prize by the Tectonic Studies Group (TSG) of the Geological Society of London. The Prize is awarded annually to the best undergraduate student mapping dissertation. The Tectonic Studies Group, a Geological Society of London...

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The UK’s best student mapping project - Mon, 25/01/2021 - 10:19
In June every year, the Part II examiners in Cambridge Earth Sciences select the best mapping project of the year group, based on the quality of field maps and notebooks, and on the final drafted map and report. Since 2006, this top project has won the Reekie Prize within the department; a useful accolade to …
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Learning from earthquakes, protecting communities - Wed, 20/01/2021 - 14:24
A PhD student from our Department has recently answered a call to join an international mission to improve the understanding of earthquake impacts, response and recovery. Aisling O’Kane was selected as part of a team of volunteer engineers and academics investigating a destructive magnitude 7.0 earthquake and tsunami in the Aegean Sea. She was one …
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