Climate & Surface Processes

The climate and earth surface processes researchers at UNLV study interactions between water, rock, atmosphere, and soils, that are affected by, affect, and record the global climate. These researchers use techniques such as stable isotopes, trace elements, microbiology, and geo- and soil chemistry to better understand processes at the earth’s surface.


Subdisciplines2015-01-14_13_31_39_Rock_formations_within_Lehman_Caves_in_Great_Basin_National_Park,_Nevada

Paleoclimate and Climate
Soil Science
Earth Systems Change
Geomorphology
Stable Isotope Research


Participating Faculty

Brenda J. Buck: Professor
Medical Geology: Asbestos, arsenic, dust

Elisabeth (Libby) M. Hausrath: Associate Professor
Soil-forming Processes, Water-rock Interaction, Chemical Weathering

Ganqing Jiang: Professor
Sequence and Chemostratigraphy, Sedimentology, Carbonate Diagensis

Matthew S. Lachniet: Professor
Quaternary Geology, Paleoclimatology, Isotope Geochemistry


Cooperating Faculty

Henry Sun: Adjunct Faculty
Desert Research Institute (DRI)
Endolithic Microbes, Desert Microbiology, Geomicrobiology


Paleoclimate & ClimateChad Crotty - Lake Mead 7-27-2015

Our faculty use a variety of techniques to better understand paleoclimate and climate. Isotope proxy records from speleothems are used to reconstruct climate, particularly rainfall histories, to evaluate climate change and variability in the neotropics. Paleotemperature proxies are also used to interpret seawater/surface temperature during times of elevated atmospheric CO2.

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Soil Science

Our faculty and students study the processes occurring at Earth’s surface to better understand human exposures to harmful earth materials. Recent studies include naturally occurring asbestos in southern Nevada. See: https://www.unlv.edu/sciences/research/natural-asbestos

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Earth Systems Change

The earth has changed significantly over time. UNLV Geoscience faculty work on various aspects of global change, including climate records, paleosols, and weathering relevant to the Archean and early biosphere.

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Stable Isotope Research

Our faculty use stable isotopes to better understand paleoclimate and the paleoenvironment, including topics such as the role of climate change in the tropics, including rainfall histories and climate variability, the origin of the late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian carbon isotope excursions, the relationship between sea-level change and isotope excursions, and seawater and surface temperature during times of elevated atmospheric CO2. Research areas include Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Alaska, Utah, Nevada, and China.

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