Department Head’s Welcome

Never has there been a time when geoscience is more important for humankind.

Earth's future is already here.  To adapt confidently and efficiently to the uniqueness of what the next century will bring, we must know how our planet works and what its history has been. Our job as geoscientists is to obtain that knowledge and share it with everyone.

We've recently learned that human beings have become the dominant geological agency operating on the planet. Though our power remains trivial compared the enormous forces of the sun, geothermal heat, and gravity, our species is now in control, as with a child operating a bulldozer.

We welcome you to join our team.  Learning how the planet works can make you a more effective citizen. Learning what its history has been can put the world's biggest issues --climate change, ecosystem collapse, water scarcities, global inequality--  into their proper perspectives.  Understanding this can also help satisfy our innate curiosity about where we came from, sustain natural habitats for our species and others, mitigate natural hazards and planetary degradations, obtain the material and energy resources we need to flourish, and share our findings with society at large.

Our upper division STEM courses, research experiences, engaged mentoring, and special events will give you with a toolbox of skills in: the field work of observation, mapping, and sampling, the laboratory analysis of sampled materials, the mathematical modeling of phenomena, and the communication of what we know. Our alumni enjoy successful careers in academia, industry, environmental science, education, land management, risk economics, law, journalism, and even medicine.

To learn more about us, please peruse this new website, attend one of our events, enroll in one of our courses, or contact me.

Robert M. Thorson
Professor and Head

Professor Robert Thorson