Earth and Planetary Sciences

There and Back Again: Mantle Xenon Has a Story to Tell

August 08, 2018
The Earth has been through a lot of changes in its 4.5 billion year history, including a shift to incorporating and retaining volatile compounds such as water, nitrogen and carbon from the atmosphere in the mantle before spewing them out again through volcanic eruptions.

Playing It Cool at Ocean Vents

June 29, 2018
Not all ocean vents are hot. Cool hydrothermal systems, or cool vents, are much harder to spot because the fluids they release are clear and only a bit warmer than surrounding water. Yet they could play a major role in releasing minerals into the deep ocean. Now researchers including Laura Zinke, now a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis, have published the first survey of the microbes living near a cool vent.

Curiosity Rover Finds Organic Matter on Mars

June 07, 2018
The Mars Curiosity rover team announced today (June 7) finding organic matter – carbon-based compounds – in three billion year old mudstone sediments from Gale Crater. Dawn Sumner, professor of earth and planetary sciences, is a member of the Mars Curiosity team and coauthor on the first paper.

Why Whales? What Sends Land Animals Back to Sea

April 20, 2018
What drives species to move into such a different habitat? Two paleontologists at UC Davis, Geerat Vermeij and Ryosuke Motani, set out to test these ideas by compiling a list of all the groups of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that have re-occupied marine environments and comparing their time of return to the ocean with known mass-extinction events.

Picnic Day 2018: College Events

April 16, 2018
College of Letters and Science at Picnic Day 2018

Come celebrate with us and experience the richness of diversity and achievement at UC Davis and the surrounding community in the areas of research, teaching, service and campus life. More than 200 events will take place throughout campus and will include exhibits, shows, competitions, demonstrations, entertainment, animal and athletic events, the Student Organization Fair, the Children’s Discovery Fair, the Parade and much more.

Model of Blobs in Earth’s Interior Explains Unusual Pacific Volcanism

April 12, 2018
Deep inside the Earth are two huge blobs of dense rock splayed across the core-mantle boundary. A computer model from UC Davis project scientists Juliane Dannberg and Rene Gassmoeller, members of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, offers new insights into the relationship between the mantle blobs and the lava erupted at some Pacific islands.

Michael Poland: Life at the Living Edge

March 02, 2018
As a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and now scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, Mike Poland (B.S. '97, Geology) is on the front line during hazardous volcanic events. Poland credits his "amazing professors" at UC Davis for teaching him how to communicate science clearly and vividly - an essential part of a career with the USGS.

A New Explanation For the Moon's Origins

February 28, 2018
A new explanation for the moon’s origin has it forming inside the Earth when our planet was a seething, spinning cloud of vaporized rock, called a synestia.