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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Geological and Environmental Sciences

Emeriti: (Professors) Robert Coleman, Robert R. Compton, Marco T. Einaudi, W. Gary Ernst,* John W. Harbaugh, James C. Ingle, Jr.,* Andre G. Journel,* Juhn G. Liou,* Ronald J. P. Lyon, Michael McWilliams, J. Michael Moldowan,* George A. Parks, Irwin Remson

Chair: Jonathan F. Stebbins

Associate Chair: Donald R. Lowe

Professors: Dennis K. Bird, Gordon E. Brown, Jr., Stephan A. Graham, Keith Loague, Donald R. Lowe, Gail A. Mahood, Elizabeth L. Miller, David D. Pollard, Jonathan F. Stebbins

Assistant Professors: George Hilley, Katherine Maher, Wendy Mao, Jonathan Payne, Jessica Warren

Professors (Research): Atilla Aydin, Martin J. Grove

Courtesy Professors: Page Chamberlain, Elizabeth Hadly, Simon L. Klemperer, Anders R. Nilsson, Alfred M. Spormann

Lecturer: Bob Jones

Consulting Professors: Brent R. Constantz, Thomas L. Holzer, Carolyn Lampe, Jack J. Lissauer, Leslie B. Magoon, Mark S. Marley, Timothy R. McHargue, Kristian E. Meisling, Kenneth Peters

Consulting Associate Professor: Jorge A. Vazquez

Visiting Professors: Craig M. Bethke, Rodney Ewing, Andrew Hurst, Jeffrey Lee, Gregory V. Lowry, Dorothy J. Merritts, Knut Bertil P. Persson, Robert J. Stern, Robert C. Walter

* Recalled to active duty

Department Offices: Braun Hall, Building 320

Mail Code: 94305-2115

Phone: (650) 723-0848

Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences are listed under the subject code GES on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

The geological and environmental sciences are naturally interdisciplinary, and include: the study of earth materials, earth processes, and how they have changed over Earth's 4.56 billion year history. More specifically, courses and research within the department address: the chemical and physical makeup and properties of minerals, rocks, soils, sediments, and water; the formation and evolution of Earth and other planets; the processes that deform Earth's crust and shape Earth's surface; the stratigraphic, paleobiological, and geochemical records of Earth history including changes in climate, oceans, and atmosphere; present-day, historical, and long-term feedbacks between the geosphere and biosphere, and the origin and occurrence of our natural resources.

The department's research is critical to the study of natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods), environmental and geological engineering, surface and groundwater management, the assessment, exploration, and extraction of energy, mineral and water resources, ecology and conservation biology, remediation of contaminated water and soil, geological mapping and land use planning, and human health and the environment.

A broad range of instrumentation for elemental and radiogenic/stable isotope analysis is available, including ion microprobe, electron microprobe, thermal and gas source mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance. The Center for Materials Research and facilities at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), and the U.S. Geological Survey in nearby Menlo Park are also available for the department's research. Branner Library, devoted exclusively to the Earth Sciences, represents one of the department's most important resources. The department also maintains rock preparation (crushing, cutting, polishing), mineral separation, and microscopy facilities.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Geological and Environmental Sciences

The purpose of the undergraduate program in Geological and Environmental Sciences is to provide students with a broad background in the fundamentals of the Earth sciences and the quantitative, analytical, and communications skills necessary to conduct research and think critically about questions involving the Earth. The major provides excellent preparation for graduate school and careers in geological and environmental consulting, land use planning, law, teaching, and other professions in which an understanding of the Earth and a background in science are important.

Learning Outcomes

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to develop and demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of fundamental concepts in Earth science.
  2. the ability to collect, analyze, and interpret geological and environmental data using a variety of techniques to test hypotheses.
  3. the ability to address real geological and/or environmental problems in the field.
  4. the ability to communicate scientific knowledge orally, visually, and in writing.

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