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Subject Overview

Why Study Earth Sciences?

Our planet is always in the news, and so it should be: our lives are intricately linked to the behaviour of our natural environment and the resources that it grants us.

How can one volcano in Iceland ground flights across Europe? What can ice-cores tell us about future climate change? What will happen if we store nuclear waste underground? How can we obtain precious metals required for technology with minimal impact on our planet? Are we any closer to predicting when devastating earthquakes will occur? Is geothermal energy the solution to a carbon-zero world? How will the biological world respond to changes in its physical environment? How real is the threat from large meteorite impacts?

Earth Sciences integrates Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, in the natural laboratory of our planet, drawing upon evidence from over four billion years of Earth’s history. The study of Earth Sciences at Cambridge, as part of Natural Sciences, provides vital insights into how our planet works. It is naturally a multi-disciplinary subject, drawing together a diverse range of research areas, which includes: climate change, Earth-ocean-atmosphere systems, geochemistry, palaeobiology, mineral sciences, petrology, volcanology, tectonics, geophysics, and Earth history.

Want to use your background in science and maths to make a real difference in today's changing world? If you are a Natural Sciences offer holder, consider taking Earth Sciences as one of your options!

Have a look at our interdisciplinary research here

What can ancient fossils tell us about modern bird diversity?

Dr Daniel Field discusses his research

Microbes: the biological engine driving the carbon cycle

Find our more about Dr Alexandra Turchyn's research here

Meteoritic messengers of Earth's ancient atmosphere

Dr Oliver Shorttle discusses his research here

What can the chemistry of shells tell us about the climate of the past?

Dr Oscar Branson tells us more here