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Department of Earth Sciences


Dr Emilie Ringe recognised as 2021 JPC Lectureship Winner

13 April 2021

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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Image showing the profile of the Deccan Traps volcanic province in India - the rocks are horizontally striped with alternate light, dark layers of lava

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

30 March 2021

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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Image of Greenland landscape, with barren dark rocks in the foreground, against a backdrop of ice

Traces of Earth’s early magma ocean identified in Greenland rocks

12 March 2021

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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  Artist’s impression of the exoplanet GJ 1132 b  Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Hurt (IPAC/Caltech)

Hubble sees new atmosphere forming on a rocky exoplanet

11 March 2021

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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Close up image of the building stone survey of Cambridge, with different stone types annotated on the map

Mapping Cambridge building stone

10 March 2021

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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Geological Society awards for Cambridge researchers

3 March 2021

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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Image of lava flows in Iceland meeting the sea, with incandescent steam lofting

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

3 March 2021

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?

22 February 2021

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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 A five metre section of Silurian mudstones in Backside Beck.

New geomagnetic timescale through the Early Palaeozoic Icehouse

9 February 2021

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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