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Department of Earth Sciences


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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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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New starfish-like fossil reveals evolution in action

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 19/01/2021 - 17:37

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a fossil of the earliest starfish-like animal, which helps us understand the origins of the nimble-armed creature. The prototype starfish, which has features in common with both sea lilies and modern-day starfish, is a missing link for scientists trying to piece...

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New fossil evidence shows Australia’s oldest animals lived along the coastline

Earth Sciences news - Thu, 14/01/2021 - 12:13

Fossils of some of Earth’s first macroscopic animals – the roughly 550-million-year-old Ediacara biota – have been identified in rocks that record Australia’s ancient shorelines. Scientists had thought that these archaic lifeforms lived out to sea in calmer waters. But the new study, published in the Journal of Sedimentary...

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Reflections on becoming a climate scientist - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 14:22
I love reading career path stories; seeing how someone's personality and life circumstances affects their career journey and decisions. As a research scientist, most of the career stories I come across are about a person's love for science and how they carry that passion through a changing career, in or out of academia.
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Dr Sanne Cottaar receives Royal Astronomical Society award

Earth Sciences news - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 10:12

Dr Sanne Cottaar has been awarded the 2021 Royal Astronomical Society Harold Jeffreys Lectureship for outstanding geophysical research into processes in the Earth’s lower mantle and core. The Royal Astronomical Society awards recognize scientists across the world for their significant achievement in the fields of astronomy...

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Muddying the waters – weathering might remove less atmospheric carbon dioxide than thought

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 22/12/2020 - 10:22

The weathering of rocks at the Earth’s surface may play less role of a role in regulating our climate than previously thought, says new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published today in PNAS , suggest Earth’s natural mechanism for removing carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the atmosphere via the weathering of rocks may in fact be weaker than scientists had thought – calling into question the exact role of rocks in alleviating warming over millions of years.

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Socially-distanced Earth Sciences teaching. Dr Nigel Woodcock finds out how the term went… - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 11:31
For the first time in 47 years, I’m not doing any teaching in this academic year. But, having been Director of Teaching for over half that time, I’m still programmed to worry about how teaching is going in the Department, especially in this strange year of all years. So I’ve asked a selection of students and teaching staff for their perspective. The replies I’ve had are almost entirely positive…
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What can museum specimens tell us about climate change?

Earth Sciences news - Mon, 30/11/2020 - 15:02

The humble blue mussel is fighting to protect itself from environmental change and increased predation by building itself a thicker shell. The unexpected phenomenon, tracked by researchers through generations of museum specimens, shows that climate change can have complex localized impacts that cannot be predicted by global experimental models.

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Prof. David Hodell named AAAS Fellow

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 24/11/2020 - 09:31

David Hodell, Woodwardian Professor of Geology at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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Escaping the pandemic – my experience as an exploration geologist in Yukon - Mon, 23/11/2020 - 15:20
If you had the chance to escape from the ongoing pandemic to a remote exploration geology camp in northern Canada, 150km from the closest town and only accessible by helicopter, would you take it?
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2020 AGU awards to Department members

Earth Sciences news - Thu, 12/11/2020 - 09:52

Congratulations to Professors Marie Edmonds and Nick McCave on their 2020 AGU awards.

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Forecasting eruptions with the help of drones

Earth Sciences news - Thu, 29/10/2020 - 11:57

Specially-adapted drones, developed by an international team involving scientists from the University of Cambridge, are transforming how we forecast eruptions by allowing close-range measurements of previously inaccessible and hazardous volcanoes.

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Nanoscale mapping of lithium in geological materials

Earth Sciences news - Tue, 20/10/2020 - 12:36

A breakthrough in the imaging and analysis of geological materials means that scientists can now study variations in their chemistry and structure at nano-scales, with possible applications ranging from the green energy transition to the planetary sciences.

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Ancient Dorset travels to France

Earth Sciences news - Mon, 19/10/2020 - 10:04

Duria Antiquior, or ‘Ancient Dorsetshire’, has for many years been an important part of the Sedgwick Museum displays. The painting, which depicts a prehistoric shoreline teaming with marine life, has been described as ‘the first true scene from deep time’ to be based on fossil evidence. Today the painting sets off for Paris where it will form part of a new exhibition ‘The Origins of the World: The invention of Nature in the 19th Century’ at the Musée D’Orsay - opening later in the autumn.

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