Earth Science

Go with the Flow

Streambeds act as natural water filters by trapping particles and pollutants. To better understand the dynamics of these small yet complex systems, a UNC hydrologist is creating (and clogging) her own stream.

The Earth is Our Laboratory

UNC earth scientists have crossed oceans and traveled to far-away continents to pursue their research, as well as studied natural systems right here in North Carolina. In celebration of Earth Science Week, check out where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to.

In Sync

12,340 miles separates the North Pole from the South Pole. But many geophysicists believe the two points are connected. How has always been a mystery, but UNC geophysicist José A. Rial has a hypothesis — they actually “talk” to each other through a natural process called synchronization.

The 0.3 Percent

From the basalt lava fields of Hawaii to the vast white expanse of Antarctica, UNC alumna Zena Cardman has ventured to some of Earth’s most unique and remote places. Now she’s setting her sights on the ultimate frontier — space. Over 18,000 people applied to be in NASA’s newest class of astronauts, and Cardman found out on May 25 that she was among the top 12 accepted. She reports to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in August to begin her training.

A Volcanologist’s Vigilance

As director of Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute, Mario Ruiz has monitored some of the most active (and potentially destructive) volcanoes in South America. After earning his PhD at UNC 10 years ago, Ruiz has come back to Carolina to sift through data from the recent eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano.

Keepers of Our Coast

North Carolina’s barrier islands are dynamic landforms in a state of constant change. UNC researchers want to better understand how those changes happen and what they mean for the future of our coast.

A Day in the Field

How does a beach recover after a hurricane? What are the outcomes of natural processes versus man-made interventions? These are some of the questions posed by Elsemarie deVries, a PhD student in the UNC Coastal Environmental Change Lab. Using a variety of approaches, deVries investigates the interactions between different dune-building processes. Now she is taking her expertise to a South Carolina beach recovering from the effects of Hurricane Matthew.