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Earth Sciences News

USC Dornsife's David Bottjer is searching for clues to the future by examining the past. Photo by Philip Channing.

And the Microbes Shall Inherit the Earth

October 12, 2011

Global warming is not a novel phenomenon, and by studying what happened to the planet during a period of global warming about 250 million years ago, one USC Dornsife scientist hopes to discover what could happen to us this…

USC Dornsife's Meghan Miller of earth sciences explains her discovery of active delamination beneath the Earth in the Colorado Plateau — research featured today in <em>Nature</em>. Photo by Pamela J. Johnson

Peeling off the Layers

April 27, 2011

For the first time, an active delamination of continental lithosphere has been found beneath the Colorado Plateau. Meghan Miller, assistant professor of earth sciences in USC Dornsife, and her team’s discovery is…

The sea cliffs near Lyme Regis, one of the locations in England where a team from the USC College Department of Earth Sciences searched for stromatolites. Photo credit Frank Corsetti.

Stories Set in Stone

January 19, 2011

When four members of the USC College Department of Earth Sciences took a fieldwork expedition to the United Kingdom, they didn’t have to venture out in the middle of nowhere, drive on dirt roads for hours or hike miles…

Dynamic topography (gray surface) and mantle flow (vectors) as predicted by a geodynamic model for the Mediterranean.

Dismantling a Volcanic Puzzle

June 3, 2010

If tectonic plate collisions cause volcanic eruptions, as every fifth grader knows, why do some volcanoes erupt far from a plate boundary? A study in Nature suggests that volcanoes and mountains in the Mediterranean can…

USC College Ph.D. candidates Mihaela Ignatova of mathematics (left) and Whitney Behr of earth sciences have earned 2010-11 USC Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Merit Fellowship awards. Photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

Closing the Gender Gap

May 7, 2010

Nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) are difficult mathematical problems to study. Notice it didn’t say "solve." Ph.D. students researching nonlinear PDEs aren't looking for solutions. They're analyzing the…

Scott Paterson, professor of earth sciences in USC College, shows a student how to use a Brunton compass to measure rocks that have aligned minerals or layering, during a recent trip in Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of Scott Paterson.

Rock 'n' Research

May 6, 2010

Hang around the Department of Earth Sciences in USC College in the spring and you might notice posters on the walls asking pointed questions. "Enjoy hiking, climbing, and traveling to exotic spots?" one asks. "Curious about…

Katrina Edwards, professor of biological sciences and earth sciences in USC College, is leading a team to explore the subseafloor biosphere as a result of the establishment of the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI). Photo credit Phil Channing.

The Power and Promise of the Ocean

April 26, 2010

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” These were the remarkable words spoken by President…

USC College's Katrina J. Edwards has been recommended for an award of a $25 million National Science Foundation grant to establish a new science and technology center. Photo credit Philip Channing.

USC Awarded $25 Million NSF Grant for New Center to Study the Deep Biosphere

February 19, 2010

Katrina J. Edwards, professor of biological sciences and Earth sciences in the University of Southern California's College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, has been recommended for an award of a $25 million NSF grant to…

David Dominguez, a 16-year-old senior at Animo Film and Theatre Arts Charter School in Los Angeles, and Laila Barada, a third-year Ph.D. candidate in oceanography in USC College, examine their Trichodesmium project in a lab. Dominguez was a participant in the College's 2009 USC Young Researchers Summer Program. Photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

Nurturing Young Scientists

October 6, 2009

This fall, be on the lookout for possibly USC College's youngest researcher. He is David Dominguez, a 16-year-old student at Animo Film and Theatre Arts Charter School. The senior at the south Los Angeles high school is…

Team leader and USC College scientist Katrina Edwards. Photo credit Philip Channing

Iron From the Deep May Feed Oceans

February 9, 2009

Iron dust, the gold of the oceans and rarest nutrient for most marine life, can be washed down by rivers or blown out to sea or — a surprising new study finds — float up from the sea floor. The…