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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences

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We are a leading Earth Science Department with researchers and teachers of the highest international calibre housed in a new, state-of-the-art building with bespoke facilities. We teach a cohort of very well-qualified students in 5 undergraduate Honours degree programmes: Geology BSc; Geoscience MSci; Earth Sciences BSc; Environmental Geosciences BSc; Geophysics with Geology BSc. Admissions to Durham are highly sought after, and we typically register 80 students each year, while also participating in the University’s prestigious Natural Sciences Programme. Major research units in the Department include: the Centre for Research in Earth Energy Systems and the Terrestrial Laser Scanning facility . The Department co-hosts the UK Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Consortium and is a key collaborator in the University-wide the Institute for Hazard, Risk & Resilience and Durham Energy Institute.

World Rankings

Record success in QS World Subject Rankings

Durham is one of the world’s leading universities as shown by our world top 100 position in the QS World University Rankings 2019, where we are ranked 74th

A record 18 Durham subjects are also in the world top 100 of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, including ten in the world top 50 and three in the world top ten.

Active Tectonics in Young Rifts: Insights from the Southern Malawi Rift System

Tuesday 22nd October 2019, 12:00pm - 1:00pm, Arthur Holmes Building - ES231 -TR4, Dr Luke Wedmore. Research Associate in Tectonics, University of Bristol

Naming of the RRS Sir David Attenborough

Sir Richard Attenborough Ship

On Thursday 26th September Professor Christine Peirce attended the naming of the RRS Sir David Attenborough at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, together with Prince William and Sir David himself, did the honours smashing a bottle of champaign against the ship's hull. Professor Peirce has been appointed to lead the at-sea fitness for science trials of the marine geology and geophysics instrumentation when the vessel makes it to sea next year.


(1 Oct 2019)

2019 Energy & Fuels Joint Award for Excellence in Publication

Award for Excellence

The Energy & Fuels Joint Award for Excellence in Publication recognizes a notable article that has been published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Energy & Fuels during the previous 5 years. 

(6 Sep 2019) » More about 2019 Energy & Fuels Joint Award for Excellence in Publication

Double Medal Success for our Volcanologists

Madeleine and Fabian

At the 27th General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) in Montreal this summer, two members of our department were awarded honours for their academic accomplishments in the Earth Sciences and in volcanology in particular.

(6 Sep 2019) » More about Double Medal Success for our Volcanologists

Fieldwork Bursary from the Yorkshire Geological Society

Tegan Allan fieldwork

Thanks to winning a Fieldwork Bursary of £250 from the Yorkshire Geological Society, Durham Earth Sciences student Tegan Allen is able to undertake extended field-scale trials of a mine water clean-up technology at Cwmystwyth mine in mid-Wales

(16 Aug 2019) » More about Fieldwork Bursary from the Yorkshire Geological Society

Analyte Excite + 193nm Eximer Laser Ablation system (Teledyne Photon Machines)

The department has improved the capability of the geochemistry laboratories by the recent delivery of an Analyte Excite + 193nm Eximer Laser Ablation system (Teledyne Photon Machines). Coupled to our existing Thermo Scientific X-Series 11 ICP-MS this will enable the elemental analysis of solid samples of sizes of 20um and less allowing for great spatial resolution. The instrument will initially be used to develop methods tracking and quantifying magma oxidation state and equilibrium melt composition, using minerals such as amphibole and apatite. Other application areas include: Environmental and geological analysis, including, elemental concentrations isotope ratios and fluid inclusion and Paleo environment reconstruction.

(19 Jul 2019)

First for England as science course taught in prison

Education in prisons has a long history but science, other than distance learning, has been absent - in part because much science teaching traditionally relies on experimentation using technical equipment which is not available in prisons.

But now one of our academics has developed a science course that requires only a presentation, writing and reading materials.

(16 May 2019) » More about First for England as science course taught in prison

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Contact Details

Department of Earth Sciences,
Durham University,
Science Labs,
Durham DH1 3LE

Tel: +44 0191 3342300
Fax: +44 0191 3342301
E-mail: earth.sciences
Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Gold rated for teaching excellence and student outcomes

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