Subsurface, Surface & Life
This programmatic effort studies the past and present states of Earth’s surface; the environment. We seek to (1) understand the evolution of organisms and how developing ecosystems affect the environment, (2) understand how the transport of fluids, solutes, and solids both at and near the Earth’s surface evolve its form, and (3) develop tools and methods that image and quantify properties of Earth’s near surface. Geophysics is used to define the subsurface structure of sedimentary basins, as well as the rock properties defining their composition, rheology, and the subsurface transport and retention of fluids. Tools from biology are adapted to study both ancient and modern organisms, and their habitats. Geological, geochemical, and geochronological methods are utilized for the interpretation of sedimentary deposits and landscapes. Field work, experiments, remote sensing analyses, and numerical models are applied to understanding the many interacting parts of Earth’s environment with an eye toward reconstructing past Earth states and predicting future change.