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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

Subject and Degrees

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

Geoffrey A. Abers

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • 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

Richard Waldron Allmendinger

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geotectonics; seismology; structural geology
  • Research Interests: structural geology

Warren Douglas Allmon

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology; paleontology
  • Research Interests: macroevolution; evolutionary paleoecology; systematics of Cenozoic mollusks

Ludmilla Aristilde

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • 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

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: Quaternary geology
  • Research Interests: paleoclimatology/quaternary geology

Muawia Barazangi

  • Campus: Ithaca - (Graduate School Professor)
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; seismology
  • Research Interests: seismology; tectonics; geophysics; GIS

Larry Douglas Brown

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: environmental geophysics; geophysics; seismology
  • Research Interests: geophysics; seismology; ground penetrating radar; geotectonics

Lawrence M Cathles

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology; engineering geology; environmental geophysics; geochemistry and isotope geology; geohydrology; geophysics; geotectonics; petroleum geology
  • Research Interests: economic geology; geophysics

Louis A Derry

  • Campus: 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

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology; paleontology
  • Research Interests: paleontology

Esteban Gazel

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geochemistry and isotope geology; petrology; planetary geology
  • Research Interests: geochemical record of magmatic processes, intraplate volcanism, subduction processes, crustal generation and evolution, deep earth geochemical reservoirs, material exchange between the earth

Charles H Greene

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology
  • Research Interests: oceanography; interaction of physical and biological processes in oceanic ecosystems

Alexander Gerad Hayes

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: planetary geology
  • Research Interests: Evolution of planetary surfaces

David Lee Hysell

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics
  • Research Interests: geophysics; upper atmosphere physics; radar remote sensing; space plasmas

Teresa Eileen Jordan

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geotectonics; ocean science and technology; petroleum geology; sedimentology; stratigraphy
  • Research Interests: stratigraphy; sedimentology; tectonics; geomorphology

Robert Woodbury Kay

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology; general geology; geochemistry and isotope geology; geotectonics; mineralogy; petrology; planetary geology; Precambrian geology
  • Research Interests: petrology; geochemistry

Suzanne Mahlburg Kay

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology; geotectonics; petrology
  • Research Interests: igneous petrology; geochemistry

Kathleen Keranen

  • Campus: 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

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics
  • Research Interests: geophysics

Jonathan Lunine

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: planetary geology
  • Research Interests: Planetary Science; Theoretical Astrophysics; Astrobiology

Natalie M. Mahowald

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology
  • Research Interests: global interactions between climate and bio-geochemistry through aerosols

Sturt W. Manning

  • Campus: 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

Gregory C. McLaskey

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; rock mechanics; seismology
  • Research Interests: Earthquake source physics, laboratory earthquakes, seismology, friction, and piezoelectric sensors.

Bruce Monger

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: ocean science and technology
  • Research Interests: Satellite remote sensing; biological oceanography

Thomas Denis O'Rourke

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: engineering geology; rock mechanics
  • Research Interests: geotechnical and earthquake engineering

Matthew E. Pritchard

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geophysics; geotectonics; planetary geology; seismology
  • Research Interests: active tecctonics/earthquake cycle; volcanology; planetary geophysics

Sara C. Pryor

  • Campus: 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

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: general geology; geobiology; paleontology; Quaternary geology; sedimentology; stratigraphy
  • Research Interests: evolutionary paleobiology; paleoceanography; geoscience education; micropaleontology

Andy Lee Ruina

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: engineering geology; geophysics; geotectonics; rock mechanics; seismology
  • Research Interests: geomechanics

Steven Weldon Squyres

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: planetary geology
  • Research Interests: planetary science

Tammo S Steenhuis

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geohydrology
  • Research Interests: geohydrology

Jefferson W. Tester

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • 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

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: economic geology
  • Research Interests: Economic geology; natural resource geology and economics

William M White

  • Campus: Ithaca
  • Concentrations: Geological Sciences: geochemistry and isotope geology; ocean science and technology; petrology
  • Research Interests: geochemistry