We need a bigger bucket: Experimental geochemists push limits of water estimates in magma
Experimental geochemists at WashU recently discovered compelling evidence that magmas may be wetter than we thought.
Field Notes: Patagonia 2019
Virtual Reality Comes to the Classroom
WashU's Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration offers new ways of learning with virtual reality.
Ultima Thule: A closer look at the most distant object ever explored
In the May 17 issue of the journal Science, NASA’s New Horizons mission team published the first comprehensive profile of the farthest world ever explored: the Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule.
How Ultima Thule Is Like a Sticky, Pull-Apart Pastry
Scientists from the New Horizons mission presented their latest findings about the small distant object visited by the NASA spacecraft at the start of the year. (NY Times article)
New Horizons: Ultima Thule 'a time machine' to early Solar System
Scientists are getting closer to understanding how the distant object known as Ultima Thule came to be. (BBC news article)
NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission
Ray Arvidson talks about rovers in the New York Times
Good-Bye to Mars Rover Opportunity
EPS Ph.D. alum Abigail Fraemen wrote a Washington Post op-ed on the end of the Mars Rover Opportunity
WashU Expert: Mission complete
Ray Arvidson reminisces on Opportunity, the Mars rover that exceeded expectations
Understanding tropical rainfall, both past and present
Research by EPS professor Bronwen Konecky leverages signals contained in water molecules to decode the atmospheric processes that accompany changing tropical weather and climate patterns.
Thirsty mantle: Subduction zones swallow more water than thought
Ocean bottom seismic data from the Mariana Trench show that up to three times more water is going into the Earth’s mantle at subduction zones than previously thought.
The moon got rocked by a meteorite during this weekend's lunar eclipse
"The moon gets hit every day."
Opportunity, Curiosity and Mars 2020 Rover Updates
The missions continue...watch the video with updates. Professor Arvidson comments on how NASA/JPL is continuing to try and recover communications with the Opportunity Mars Rover.
Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration launches new augmented reality app
For the past year and a half, Skemer has been incorporating HoloLens technology into his teaching. He and his team have also been working to create an app called GeoXplorer, which, when combined with a HoloLens headset, allows anyone to study geologic phenomena in 3D.
Professor Jeff Catalano New Chief Executive Editor of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Next Stop Mars - Debate About the New NASA Mars Rover
Next stop, Mars - Inside the fierce debate over the fate of NASA’s new rover — and a chance to make history. More in the Washington Post article...
Seismic study reveals huge amount of water dragged into Earth’s interior
Slow-motion collisions of tectonic plates under the ocean drag water into the deep Earth...
Professor Arvidson: Mars Opportunity Rover in the Dust Storm
Arvidson's interview with HEC TV about the Mars Rover Opportunity, its silence due to the large dust storm, and prospects for the recovery and continued operations.
Professor Jeff Catalano: Heavy Metals in the Wetlands
Scientists from cross disciplines at Washington University in St. Louis are investigating how the abundance of heavy metals in natural wetlands affects how much of these gasses are produced in aquatic systems.
Professor Bob Criss On Our Rivers
Criss has championed the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers, among others, in more than 25 years of work in earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
Mantle xenon has a story to tell
The Earth has been through a lot of changes in its 4.5 billion year history, including a shift to start incorporating and retaining volatile compounds from the atmosphere in the mantle before spewing them out again through volcanic eruptions.
Professor Ray Arvidson: Organic Compounds on Mars
What ‘warm and wet’ planetary history means for prospects of life on Mars
In the News: Arvidson about Mars Rover Mission
When Opportunity’s 5000th day dawned in February, it was a meaningful milestone for the team, and it led to a personal first for the veteran robot field geologist that has chalked up so many firsts she’s set the standard for Mars rovers.
In the News: Criss about the Mississippi River
“To understand America at this time,” says R.D. James, a Missouri farmer and new Army assistant secretary overseeing its Corps of Engineers, “you have to understand the river.”
Arvidson to receive Weidenbaum Center Award for Excellence
The Weidenbaum Award for Excellence was established in 2014 by the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy
Small Distant World with Ring
Special Delivery for Noble Gas Research
This summer, WashU received a new and very special instrument: a noble gas isotope ratio mass spectrometer.
Climate Panel Member
The first climate change panel discussion on September 18, 2017 will feature climatologists discussing how the study of past and present climate conditions can aid in the development of future strategies to protect Earth.
In the Field: Geology of the Azores
Volcanic craters, fumaroles and hot springs mark the rugged landscape of São Miguel island, in the remote Portuguese Azores, where undergraduate students from Washington University in St. Louis traveled to study field geology techniques during their 2018 spring break.
The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Logs 5000th Day, Snaps Selfie, and Roves On
See our Virtual Geology Lab
Washington University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is transforming education with the opening of the Virtual Geology Lab. Associate Professor Philip Skemer is building his own 3D holographic models that can be viewed with Microsoft HoloLens.
Dr. Ghassan Aleqabi and Dr. Michael Wysession, Seismologists in Washington University in St. Louis, investigates enemy attacks, terrorism and nuclear tests by seismic sleuthing.
Release of water shakes Pacific Plate at depth
Tonga is a seismologists’ paradise, and not just because of the white-sand beaches. The subduction zone off the east coast of the archipelago racks up more intermediate-depth and deep earthquakes than any other subduction zone, where one plate of Earth’s lithosphere dives under another, on the planet.
MoonRise mission to the Moon
Bradley Jolliff, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and the leader of the proposed MoonRise mission, commented on his team's proposal for a NASA mission to go back to the moon's unexplored far side.
Sending Humans to Mars
What will it take to get humans to Mars? Science writer Andrew Fazekas sits down with two Mars experts, Jedidah Isler and Ray Arvidson, to talk about the challenges we face getting to and establishing a permanent settlement on the red planet.
Life on Pluto?
William McKinnon, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and a co-author on two of four new Pluto studies published Dec. 1 in Nature, argues that beneath the heart-shaped region on Pluto known as Sputnik Planitia there lies an ocean laden with ammonia.
What’s up with Madagascar?
Michael Wysession, professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, explains why there are volcanoes on Madagascar, an island that isn’t near any tectonic boundaries.
Professor McKinnon on YouTube with Pluto
Dr. Bill McKinnon of Washington University suspected a liquid ocean beneath the surface of Pluto, published remarkable findings about Pluto that surpassed expectations about the dwarf planet and explained how a large section of Pluto’s nitrogen ice surface is renewed by a process called convection.
Reaching the Final Frontier: NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto…and Beyond!
William McKinnon of Washington University has a long career as a planetary scientist that has been marked by a series of exciting discoveries and new explorations.
A terrible rift
Doug Wiens, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and Weisen Shen, a postdoctoral research associate with Wiens, installed a seismometer to investigate the Midcontinent Rift and presented seismic images of the rift at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) Sept. 25-28.
Professor Arvidson wins Lester W. Strock Award from the Society of Applied Spectroscopy
Raymond Arvidson, earth and planetary science professor at Washington University in St. Louis, received the Lester W. Strock Award, which is given by the New England Section of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy in recognition of a selected publication of substantive research in/or application of analytical atomic spectrochemistry in the fields of earth science, life sciences, or stellar and cosmic sciences.
Moon condensed from Earth's mantle
Kun Wang, assistant professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, reported isotopic differences between lunar and terrestrial rocks that provide the first experimental evidence that can discriminate between the two leading models for the moon’s origin.
Martin's Antarctic field season blog (2016-2017)
Martin J. Pratt, research scientist having recently completed my PhD at Washington University in St. Louis, software developer for the Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration at WashU, embraced augmented reality platforms in order to display complex concepts within the Earth Sciences.
Steaming a planet
Bruce Fegley and Katharina Lodders-Fegley, respectively professor and research professor in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, published models of the chemistry of a steam atmosphere in equilibrium with a magma ocean at various temperatures and pressures, which provided some suggestions for planet hunters.
Washington University geologists mapped the huge, branching drainage system that underlies the plain that is called Fogelpole Cave, located just below the notch in the west side of Illinois, where Mississippian limestones are exposed at the surface.
Class Act: Pierre Haenecour
Pierre Haenecour, student in Washington University in St. Louis, reflected on his discovery of a new type of grain, why space research matters and how he made time to serve Washington University while conducting groundbreaking research.
William McKinnon, professor of earth and planetary science in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, published a computer model that is able to make numerical mountains that look much like the jutting rock slabs on Io.
Exploring the Moon from Orbit – Paving the Way for Future Astronaut Explorers
Dr. Ryan Clegg-Watkins, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences Postdoctoral Research Associate, Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, used Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images to study the effects of rocket exhaust on lunar soil and to investigate silicic volcanic regions of the Moon.
Brain Discovery: Bringing Scientists Into the Classroom
Graduate students Claire Weichselbaum and Brian Lananna discuss their outreach program that brings neuroscience into classrooms.
Rites & Wrongs
Randy Korotev, a lunar geochemist from Washington University in St. Louis, helped people distinguish between meteorites and "Meteorwrongs", chunks of rock and metal that masquerade as meteorites.
How to Create a Neuroscience Pipeline
Erik Herzog shares some of his outreach efforts to support and encourage younger neuroscience researchers.
Don't Panic Geocast - Learn about the Moon
Brad Jolliff, earth and planetary science professor at Washington University in St. Louis, talks about lunar rocks and meteorites. The moon turns out to be a fascinating place, but probably won’t break up like in Seveneves.
Record Missouri flooding was manmade calamity
At the end of December 2015, a huge storm named “Goliath” dumped 9-10 inches of rain in a belt across the central United States, centered just southwest of St. Louis, most of it in a three-day downpour. Robert Criss, PhD, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, says there is more to the flood than the rain.