Earth Science

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Unit Description, Full: 

Earth is a dynamically evolving planet. Unraveling the 4560 million years of its history and predicting the course of its future are central objectives of Earth Science. The diverse fields of study within Earth Science takes UCSB scientists from the highest mountains to the depths of the oceans, from life's beginning to the great extinctions of the past, from modern global warming to climates of the past, from erupting volcanoes to earthquake hazards, from the scale of individual atoms in a crystal to giant tectonic plates-all across an ever-changing landscape that reflects the continuing interaction among tectonics, climate and humans.

Research into the deep Earth and deep time is the framework for understanding the past and predicting the future. Earth Science provides a perspective that allows students to address such fundamental societal issues as natural hazards, global change, and mineral, petroleum and water resources.

Like all disciplines within MLPS, Earth Science students have a basic foundation in math, physics, chemistry and biology. From there the student branches into one of the various emphases within the major that that best suits his or her talents and interests: a BS in Geological Sciences or Geophysics; a BS with an emphasis in Earth System Science, Geohydrology, Paleobiology, or Earth and Planetary Science; or a BA in Geological Sciences; or a BA with an emphasis in Science Education. For the exceptional student, a five-year BS/MS degree is available. The PhD and MS programs in Earth Science cover all areas of research by the faculty from geology to geophysics. The Department plays a key role in the education of MS and PhD students through the Marine Science Graduate Program.

Leading the Earth Science program is a distinguished faculty known for its dedication to research and teaching. Among the active faculty, two have received the UCSB Academic Senate Awards for Outstanding Teaching, another received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and another received the UCSB's Academic Senate Outstanding Graduate Mentoring Award. The research level is high among all faculty; about 75% have received distinguished awards within their discipline. For example, four are members of the National Academy of Science, six are fellows of the American Geophysical Union and 12 are Fellows of the Geological Society of America.

field work in the Himalaya - J. Cottle