Earth and Planetary Sciences

Pockets of Primordial Earth Still Remain

September 18, 2019
New research suggests specific giant rock regions in the mantle have existed for 4.5 billion years, since Earth’s beginning.

Understanding How Pressures in Planets Evolve

September 04, 2019

A new study from Caltech and the UC Davis College of Letters and Science shows that giant impacts can dramatically lower the internal pressure of planets, a finding that could significantly change the current model of planetary formation.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

July 19, 2019
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon and Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the lunar surface. The moon rocks brought back to Earth launched a new era of research about the moon’s origin. Fifty years later, researchers at the UC Davis College of Letters and Science continue to discover new aspects of the moon’s formation that further our understanding of the solar system. Here are some highlights of their research.

Modeling Early Meteorite Impacts on the Moon

July 11, 2019
As our solar system was forming nearly four and a half billion years ago, a planet-sized object struck the early Earth, leading to the formation of the moon, possibly from a hot, spinning cloud of rock vapor called a synestia. But after the Earth and moon had condensed from the vapor, there was another phase of growth as meteorites crashed into both bodies.

Clay cache found on Mars

May 30, 2019

Since landing in 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover has been collecting data about the geology and chemistry of the Martian surface. As a member of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, geology professor Dawn Sumner helps plan the route Curiosity takes as it explore ancient environments in Gale Crater. 

Lassen Is UC Davis’ Newest Natural Reserve

May 17, 2019

With a terrain covering volcanoes, steaming fumaroles and forestlands, the Lassen Field Station is the newest addition to the University of California, Davis’ Natural Reserve System. The partnership offers researchers access to a variety of park facilities such as cabins, classroom space and camping. The reserve will streamline the research permit process and open new avenues for research, teaching and public outreach.

Small Towns, Big Flood Waters

May 15, 2019
River flooding continues to be the deadliest and most costly natural disaster threatening the U.S. and the world. Research by Nicholas Pinter, the Roy J. Shlemon Professor of Applied Geosciences, and Huck Rees, undergraduate geology major, could help