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Department of Earth Sciences

Satellite image of a volcano from space, shrouded in clouds and spewing volcanic ash

Plate subduction locks away more carbon than thought

21 July 2021

Scientists from Cambridge University and NTU Singapore have found that carbon drawn into Earth’s interior by plate subduction tends to stay locked away at depth, rather than resurfacing in the form of volcanic emissions, as previously thought. Their findings, published in Nature Communications , suggest that only about a...

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Dr Sasha Turchyn recognised as 2021 R. Berner Lectureship winner

23 June 2021

Many congratulations to Dr Sasha Turchyn who is the recipient of the 2021 R. Berner Lectureship . The Lectureship, which will be presented at the Goldschmidt 2021 conference, is awarded to scientists who show an 'exceptional ability to define globally important biogeochemical processes, develop new understanding, and...

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Grey volcanic rock containing exotic green nodule: you can see the pistachio green olivine crystals they are made of

Rock crystals from the deep give microscopic clues to earthquake ground movements

23 June 2021

Microscopic imperfections in rock crystals deep beneath Earth’s surface play a deciding factor in how the ground slowly moves and resets in the aftermath of major earthquakes, says new research involving the University of Cambridge. The stresses resulting from these defects – which are small enough to disrupt the atomic...

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Image of melting sea ice under sunny sky

Taking the temperature of Earth’s interior gives clues to climate changes over millions of years

30 April 2021

Geologists at the University of Cambridge have revealed how changes in our Earth’s interior can cause massive upheaval of our planet’s surface over millions of years, profoundly influencing sea levels and the sensitivity of ice sheets to climate change. Their findings, published in Nature Communications earlier this month...

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Dr Ed Tipper receives Pilkington Prize for teaching excellence

29 April 2021

Dr Ed Tipper has been awarded the prestigious Pilkington Prize in recognition of his teaching excellence. Dr Tipper, who is Lecturer in Earth Sciences and Director of Studies at St John's, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award. There’s nothing more rewarding than managing to inspire the next generation...

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Dr Helen Williams awarded ERC Advanced Grant, ‘EarthMelt’

22 April 2021

Dr Helen Williams, Reader in Geochemistry, at Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences and Fellow of Jesus College, has been awarded a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant to investigate the role of magma oceans in defining Earth’s physical and chemical evolution. Over the next 5 years, Williams and an international team of...

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Image of our galaxy, showing colourful and distant planets and stars

Department at centre of major new research initiative: searching for life beyond Earth

20 April 2021

The University of Cambridge is creating a new research initiative, bringing together physicists, chemists, biologists, earth scientists and mathematicians to answer fundamental questions on the origin and nature of life in the Universe. Led by 2019 Physics Nobel Laureate Professor Didier Queloz , the Cambridge Initiative...

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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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