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Blue Marble: Explore the Possibilities

Welcome! Climate, biogeochemical cycles, and planetary tectonics are the three basic processes that shape the environment. Geoscientists face a unique challenge in seeking to understand the complexity of the Earth's physical and biogeochemical systems. The surface environment of the Earth is controlled by interactions between the deep Earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere. These interactions occur on timescales ranging from picoseconds for chemical reactions on mineral surfaces to the billions of years over which plate tectonic processes and biological evolution have radically altered the composition of the atmosphere. Princeton’s Department of Geosciences is at the forefront of scientific discovery in the solid earth, the environmental geosciences and oceanography/climate science. Our faculty and students address critical societal issues, such as climate change and geologic hazards, through research and education at all levels. Our mission is to understand Earth’s history and its future, the energy and resources required to support an increasing global population, and the challenge of sustainability in a changing climate. Interested in coming to Geosciences for graduate school? Please get in touch with individual faculty members to find out more and ask about visiting us! 

Special thanks to GEO students, staff, and faculty who have supplied photos for our slideshow.

Faculty Spotlight

Professor Xinning Zhang
Professor Xinning Zhang

Assistant Professor of Geosciences
Area(s): Biogeochemistry, Climate

Prof. Zhang is an environmental microbiologist jointly appointed in the Department of Geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute.  Zhang’s research aims at providing a mechanistic understanding of how microbial metabolism influences biogeochemical cycling and climate in modern and ancient environments.  To determine the key parameters explaining microbial activities and their signatures in the rock record, she applies tools from microbial physiology, molecular ecology, and stable isotope geochemistry to research in lab and field settings.

Zhang earned her Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a B.S. in biological and environmental engineering from Cornell University.  She joined the faculty in spring 2017.  LEARN MORE

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