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Geological Sciences

Field Description

The geological science program is designed to give students broad training in the basic sciences as well as field, theoretical, and practical experience through research in their specialty. The program has particular strengths in geophysics, geochemistry and petrology, structural geology, sedimentology, marine ecology, and energy resources. However, the exceptional flexibility of Cornell's graduate program provides ample opportunity for students to work across disciplinary areas. For example, arrangements exist for study of marine ecology, water resources, and various branches of applied geological science. Faculty members in other fields or divisions offer interdisciplinary courses including planetology and extraterrestrial geology, paleobotany, ecology and systematics, biogeochemistry, limnology, soil genesis, soil mineralogy, soil and rock mechanics, remote sensing, environmental fluid mechanics and hydrology, fluid dynamics, elasticity, geotechnical and earthquake engineering, regional planning, hydraulics and hydrology, and materials science and engineering.

At least one minor subject outside the field is required for the doctoral degree. Before the end of their third semester in residence, all students must take a qualifying examination. This exam, an addition to those required by the Graduate School, determines the candidate's fitness for undertaking advanced studies and enables the Special Committee to plan programs that will make the student familiar with the requisite knowledge in the chosen areas.

Research and study opportunities:
Research programs are being conducted by the field in such diverse areas as fluid cycling in subduction zones; space-based geodetic studies of faults, volcanoes, and anthropogenic deformation; interaction of tectonics, topography, and climate in major mountain systems; investigation of igneous rocks in arc systems; tectonics, seismology, sedimentation, and geomorphology of the central Andes; planetary science, comparative planetology and solar system exploration; seismic reflection profiling of the deep crust and upper mantle; mechanics and properties of subduction zone megathrusts and other large faults; induced earthquakes; using seismic signals of earth noise to understand atmospheric and solid-earth phenomena; development and application of Earth System models; response of marine ecosystems to climate variability and change; surface responses to extreme precipitation; dynamics and mechanics of the lithosphere and asthenosphere; application of geophysical techniques to environmental and archaeological problems; marine ecological and paleontological studies; sedimentology and diagenesis of mudstones; dynamics of marine ecosystems and organisms from plankton to whales using remote sensing and other tools; volcanic hazard assessment; biogeochemistry, soil development, and dynamics in young volcanic terrains; geochemistry and geophysics of oceanic islands, mid-ocean ridges and island arcs; and remote sensing of seismic and volcanic deformation of the crust.

The field maintains working agreements with institutions worldwide to facilitate research projects in those areas or to work on materials especially accessible there. Current and recent graduate students have carried out field investigations in such diverse places as Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Honduras, Chile, Argentina, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Monterey Bay (California), Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and Tibet. The Paleontological Research Institution, located near the campus, has world-renowned facilities and collections available to students interested in paleontology.

Contact Information

Website: http://www.eas.cornell.edu
Email: ss376@cornell.edu
Phone: 607 255-5466

2124 Snee Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

Geological Sciences

  • economic geology
  • engineering geology
  • environmental geophysics
  • general geology
  • geobiology
  • geochemistry and isotope geology
  • geohydrology
  • geomorphology
  • geophysics
  • geotectonics
  • marine geology (minor)
  • mineralogy
  • ocean science and technology
  • paleontology
  • petroleum geology
  • petrology
  • planetary geology
  • Precambrian geology
  • Quaternary geology
  • rock mechanics
  • sedimentology
  • seismology
  • stratigraphy
  • structural geology

Faculty

Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; seismology Research Interests: Earthquake seismology, earth structure, material exchange between the earth surface and deep interior, and deformation at active plate boundaries; emphasis on deep roots of volcanoes and on fault systems generating great earthquakes
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geotectonics; seismology; structural geology Research Interests: structural geology
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology; paleontology Research Interests: macroevolution; evolutionary paleoecology; systematics of Cenozoic mollusks
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: environmental geophysics; geobiology; geochemistry and isotope geology; mineralogy Research Interests: Organic contaminant trapping in soils and waters, microbial metabolism of organic contaminants, metabolomics of organic matter breakdown, activity of extracellular environments in different chemical environments, engineering of microbial metabolism, engineering of natural nanoparticles.
Toby R Ault - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: Quaternary geology Research Interests: paleoclimatology/quaternary geology
Muawia Barazangi - (Ithaca) - (Graduate School Professor)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; seismology Research Interests: seismology; tectonics; geophysics; GIS
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: environmental geophysics; geophysics; seismology Research Interests: geophysics; seismology; ground penetrating radar; geotectonics
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology; engineering geology; environmental geophysics; geochemistry and isotope geology; geohydrology; geophysics; geotectonics; petroleum geology Research Interests: economic geology; geophysics
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geobiology; paleontology; sedimentology; stratigraphy Research Interests: paleontology
Louis A Derry - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geochemistry and isotope geology; ocean science and technology Research Interests: low-temperature geochemistry; isotope geochemistry; biogeochemical cycles
Gregory P. Dietl - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology; paleontology Research Interests: paleontology
Charles H Greene - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology Research Interests: oceanography; interaction of physical and biological processes in oceanic ecosystems
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: planetary geology Research Interests: Evolution of planetary surfaces
David Lee Hysell - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics Research Interests: geophysics; upper atmosphere physics; radar remote sensing; space plasmas
Bryan Leonard Isacks - (Ithaca) - (Graduate School Professor)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: seismology Research Interests: seismology; tectonics
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geotectonics; ocean science and technology; petroleum geology; sedimentology; stratigraphy Research Interests: stratigraphy; sedimentology; tectonics; geomorphology
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology; general geology; geochemistry and isotope geology; geotectonics; mineralogy; petrology; planetary geology; Precambrian geology Research Interests: petrology; geochemistry
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology; geotectonics; petrology Research Interests: igneous petrology; geochemistry
Kathleen Keranen - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; seismology Research Interests: Tectonics at active plate boundaries; structure of the crust and lithosphere; induced earthquakes; hazards and resources
Rowena B. Lohman - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics Research Interests: geophysics
Jonathan Lunine - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: planetary geology Research Interests: Planetary Science; Theoretical Astrophysics; Astrobiology
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology Research Interests: global interactions between climate and bio-geochemistry through aerosols
Sturt W. Manning - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology; Quaternary geology Research Interests: dendrochronology; dendroclimatology; dendrochemistry in the Mediterranean, Near East and Northeast North America; radiocarbon dating and calibration; Aegean, Cypriot and East Mediterranean history
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; rock mechanics; seismology Research Interests: Earthquake source physics, laboratory earthquakes, seismology, friction, and piezoelectric sensors.
Bruce Monger - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology Research Interests: Satellite remote sensing; biological oceanography
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: engineering geology; rock mechanics Research Interests: geotechnical and earthquake engineering
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; ocean science and technology Research Interests: geodynamics, marine geophysics, geochemical evolution of the Earth, hotspot, mid-ocean ridge, and subduction zone processes
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; planetary geology; seismology Research Interests: active tecctonics/earthquake cycle; volcanology; planetary geophysics
Sara C. Pryor - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology; geohydrology; ocean science and technology; seismology Research Interests: Development and application of coupled earth system models. Biogeochemical cycling. Seismic detection of atmospheric phenomena. Extreme events and atmosphere-surface coupling.
Robert M. Ross - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geobiology; paleontology; Quaternary geology; sedimentology; stratigraphy Research Interests: evolutionary paleobiology; paleoceanography; geoscience education; micropaleontology
Andy Lee Ruina - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: engineering geology; geophysics; geotectonics; rock mechanics; seismology Research Interests: geomechanics
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: planetary geology Research Interests: planetary science
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geohydrology Research Interests: geohydrology
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology; engineering geology; geochemistry and isotope geology; geohydrology; petroleum geology; rock mechanics Research Interests: geothermal energy; advanced drilling technology; unconventional fossil fuel upgrading; carbon capture and sequestration; water purification and use
John Thompson - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology Research Interests: Economic geology; natural resource geology and economics
William M White - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology; ocean science and technology; petrology Research Interests: geochemistry