Geological Sciences

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.

Cheng Cao

Cheng Cao is a PhD student studying geological sciences within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on understanding Earth’s evolution over time, as well as the chemical processes that take place on the planet’s surface.

Utilizing Geophysics to Uncover History

Central North Carolina is home to a vast array of historic landscapes that weave in and out of our day-to-day paths. On Saturday, April 30, Mike Shore’s Geological Archaeology class spent a day investigating the historic Ayr Mount site in Hillsborough, where several structures that once stood above ground now lie beneath the surface.

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.

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.

Celebrating Darwin Day

For over a decade, UNC scientists have committed to sustaining and protecting the unique species and ecosystems in the Galápagos Islands. In honor of Darwin Day — a celebration of the renowned naturalist's research — here’s a look at some of the iconic wildlife and cutting-edge research found in this archipelago. (photos by Mary Lide Parker)