Josh West

Professor of Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies
Email Office ZHS 325B Office Phone (213) 740-6736

Research & Practice Areas

Tectonics, Geochemistry, Climate Science


My area of speciality focuses on the chemical processes operating at the Earth’s surface — an area known as low-temperature geochemistry. Understanding these processes is a critical scientific problem, fundamental to questions ranging from how the planet’s carbon cycle works to what determines the characteristics of important natural resources, such as soils and groundwaters. My research group is particularly interested in how chemical and physical processes are related, and much of our research lies at the intersection of geochemistry with geomorphology, the study of the shape of the Earth’s surface. Our research approach combines fieldwork, lab analysis, and data modeling. Please see my personal website – linked above – for more information.


  • Ph.D. Earth Sciences (Geochemistry), University of Cambridge (UK), 2007
  • M.Phil. Geography (Environment & Development), University of Cambridge (UK), 1999
  • B.S. Geology & Geophysics / International Studies, Yale University, 1998
    • NERC Research Fellow, University of Oxford (UK), 2005-2009
  • Visiting and Temporary Appointments

    • Visiting Research Associate, University of Oxford (UK), 06/2010-08/2010
    • Visiting Research Professor, National Cheng-Kung University (Taiwan), 08/2009-12/2009
    • Wilford and Daris Zinsmeyer Early Career Chair in Marine Studies , 2016/05/15-2021/08/16