Cathodoluminescence (CL) image of the mineral zircon (ZrSiO4) showing internal concentric-growth zonation and a complex history.
Mars Exploration Rover Spirit on the surface of Mars - self portrait
Saturn's A and F rings, with little moon Epimetheus above and big moon Titan in the background. Captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on April 28, 2006.
Petroglyphs, McKee Springs, Dinosaur National Monument. Spring 2011 field trip.
Mt. Erebus, the most southern active volcano in the world.

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Whether you’re interested in studying the world beneath your feet, or worlds farther away, the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences provides the tools for understanding the processes that shaped our planet and other solar system bodies. Understanding the Earth system is also the key to addressing many environmental challenges, including climate change, water supply, and energy. Thus, as an earth scientist, you would be uniquely poised to help solve some of society’s most pressing problems. More...

Upcoming Events

The future of Earth science education
Room 203 @ 4:15 pm
Controls on faulting, water cycling and earthquakes in the Alaska subduction zone
Room 203 @ 4:15 pm
Early Mars: Warm, wet, and habitable
Whitaker Hall @ 4:15 pm
A Global surge of great earthquakes and what we are learning from them
Room 203 @ 4:15 pm
Earth’s accretion, core formation, and core composition
Room 203 @ 4:15 pm

Photo of the Week

August 27, 2014: Onaping Formation - Here's a good story...
Photomicrographs of two petrographic thin sections of the Onaping Formation, a 1400-m-thick deposit of impact ejecta emplaced 1.85 billion years ago when an iron meteorite struck southern Ontario to form what is now known as the Sudbury Impact Complex.  The thin section on the left was prepared from a rock collected at the Sudbury site by E&PS Research Scientist, Axel Wittmann. The one on the right was collected by Prof. Nigel Brush, a geologist at Ashland University in northern Ohio.  He found the distinctive rock among many other glacial cobbles in a stream bed in Ashland Co, OH. The rock was transported to Ohio from the Sudbury area, 400 miles to the north, by the southern Laurentide Ice Sheet and melt-water runoff associated with the glacier, probably less than 100,000 years ago. To find out how thin sections of these two rocks came together at Washington University, read more: The Columbus Dispatch.