Department of Geosciences

The Department of Geosciences pursues fundamental, cutting–edge and strategic research in areas of the geosciences that have great societal impact and educates students for careers that advance the forefront of knowledge in the geosciences. It focus on development and management of natural resources, assessment of natural hazards, understanding of processes that modify the Earth’s surface and how they respond to natural and anthropogenic forces, and investigation of the habitability of Earth and other planets in the past, present and future. View the information below to learn more.

Department of Geosciences - Pushing the Frontiers of Research

An international leader in the geosciences, Penn State University is pushing the frontiers of research. With new instruments and new, cutting-edge techniques, students and researchers are addressing societal relevant problems that will sustain us all into the future.

News

Maps go viral
Researcher asks ‘what causes maps to go viral’ on the web
08/27/2018

As the 2016 presidential election was heating up, the statistical news website FiveThirtyEight released a projection map asking what if only women voted; it quickly went viral on social media and was viewed millions of times. That viral cartography event, and what quickly followed, is the subject of research conducted by Anthony Robinson, assistant professor of geography..


Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
Penn State well represented at upcoming sustainability conference
08/13/2018

enn State will be well-represented at the 2018 Conference and Expo of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Taking place Oct. 2-5 in Pittsburgh, AASHE's annual gathering is North America's largest conference focused on sustainability in higher education. 


The artist's concept depicts Kepler-69c, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star like our sun, located about 2
Plate tectonics not needed to sustain life
07/30/2018

There may be more habitable planets in the universe than we previously thought, according to Penn State geoscientists, who suggest that plate tectonics -- long assumed to be a requirement for suitable conditions for life -- are in fact not necessary.


Deepwater Horizon oil rig
Oil biodegradation inhibited in deep-sea sediments
07/19/2018

Degradation rates of oil were slower in the dark and cold waters of the depths of the Gulf of Mexico than at surface conditions, according to an international team of geoscientists trying to understand where the oil went during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Forest
Study sheds new light on forests' response to atmospheric pollution
07/12/2018

How forests respond to elevated nitrogen levels from atmospheric pollution is not always the same. While a forest is filtering nitrogen as expected, a higher percentage than previously seen is leaving the system again as the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, say researchers.