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Department of Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences

The origin of animals: Insights from the Ediacaran biota of Newfoundland, Canada

Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 12:00pm - 1:00pm, Arthur Holmes Building - ES230 -TR3, Dr. Alex Liu. University Lecturer in Palaeobiology, Cambridge University

Timescales of organic carbon storage and transport in river systems: what’s in an age?

Tuesday 30th January 2018, 12:00pm - 1:00pm, Arthur Holmes Building - ES230 -TR3, Dr. Valier Galy. Associate Scientist in Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, WHOI

Did Life Originate on Layered Minerals?

One of the biggest unanswered questions in science is how life first originated. Prof Chris Greenwell, in collaboration with Dr Valentina Erastova and Dr Matteo Degiacomi from Durham’s Chemistry department, and Prof Don Fraser  from the University of Oxford, have just published an article in Nature Communications which sheds light on a potential mechanism leading to the spontaneous formation of proteins, one of life’s fundamental building blocks.

(18 Dec 2017) » More about Did Life Originate on Layered Minerals?

Dr Claire Horwell appointed President-elect of new AGU GeoHealth Section

Congratulations to Dr Claire Horwell who has been appointed President-elect of the GeoHealth Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This is AGU’s first new Section in over fifteen years and Claire has been appointed to help launch GeoHealth as a major initiative within AGU’s remit.

GeoHealth is a rapidly-emerging transdisciplinary field that supports the intersection of Earth and environmental sciences with human, environmental and ecosystem health. Within her role, Claire will be responsible for attracting health-facing researchers, agencies and national/international associations to collaborate with AGU scientists, both within the AGU conferences and at a strategic level, to ensure that GeoHealth research impacts on policy and society.

(18 Dec 2017)

Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Paula Martin and Simon Mathias have been awarded of Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy recognising their significant contribution to Learning and Teaching.

(7 Dec 2017) » More about Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Researchers explore global ocean dead zones and hot greenhouse climate during the age of dinosaurs

An international team of scientists aboard research vessel JOIDES Resolution have just completed an eight-week voyage studying Australia’s climate and tectonics during the Cretaceous Period (the last age of the dinosaurs). 30 scientists from 15 countries, collected samples from deep beneath the ocean floor at five sites in water depths of 860-3850 metres mainlyin the Mentelle Basin off south-west Australia.

(29 Nov 2017) » More about Researchers explore global ocean dead zones and hot greenhouse climate during the age of dinosaurs

Yaoling Niu: UK's Most Highly Cited Geoscientist?

Yaoling has been honoured as a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher by the Web of Science (see: He is one of just 141 geoscientists, including atmospheric scientists, worldwide, to achieve this award, of which 14 are UK-based. The other 13 work in the areas of climate and atmospheric science, so that we reckon that Yaoling is the most highly-cited geoscientist in the UK. Many congratulations Yaoling!

(28 Nov 2017)

Mars might be drier than previously thought

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new study.

The new findings, involving scientists at Durham University, the US Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Arizona, and the Planetary Science Institute indicate that present-day Mars may not have a significant volume of liquid water.

The water-restricted conditions that exist on Mars would make it difficult for Earth-like life to exist near the surface of the planet.

The research is published in Nature Geoscience 

(21 Nov 2017) » More about Mars might be drier than previously thought

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
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