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Department of Earth Sciences


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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Image of Dr Penny Wieser sampling the Kilauea lavas

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

9 February 2021

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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The Duria Antiquior painting of ancient Dorset recreated with household items

Sedgwick Museum launches DIY Duria online gallery

4 February 2021

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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Photo of Aisling on field work, standing in front of mountains, in December 2019

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

2 February 2021

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

25 January 2021

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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Image of two Cantabrigiaster fezouataensis fossils

New starfish-like fossil reveals evolution in action

19 January 2021

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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