Adventures in Mongolia

Think the age of exploration is dead? Think again. This summer saw graduate student Claire Bucholz under the harsh Mongolian sun looking for tell-tale signs of past subduction in the desert.


Classroom Earth - A Summer in the Field

To achieve the essential synergy between theory and observation necessary to understand natural processes, EAPS members must often get out into the field. Find out where these latter-day explorers went this summer.


Spotlight on New Faculty

News of two new faculty arriving in summer 2013: Hilke Schlichting joins EAPS as an assistant professor of planetary sciences while Germán Prieto joins as an assistant professor of geophysics.


EAPS Alumna Gives Rein to Curiosity

A fling with politics turned into a life-changing career path for Sarah Stewart Johnson, a planetary scientist and 2008 MIT PhD recipient. 

Letter from the Department Head

A message from Professor Rob van der Hilst, EAPS Department Head


Other News

Explained: Near-miss Asteroids

Professors Rick Binzel and Jack Wisdom talk to MIT News about the tracking "fire-drill" for close-approach asteroids.


When it Rains, it Pours

Global warming is expected to intensify extreme precipitation, but the rate at which it does so in the tropics has remained unclear. A new study authored by Associate Professor Paul O'Gorman provides an estimate based on model simulations and observations.


Martian Snowflakes

Graduate student Renyu Hu, Assistant Professor Kerri Cahoy, and Professor Maria Zuber have determined that Mars’ carbon dioxide ‘snowflakes’ are about the size of red blood cells.


Seismic Strain in Azerbaijan

New research by postdoc Mike Floyd and principal research scientist Rob Reilinger shows deformation caused by colliding tectonic plates may threaten Azerbaijani capital, oil supplies to Europe.


The Mathematics of Leaf Decay

Understanding the rate at which leaves decay can help scientists predict the global flux of carbon dioxide, and develop better models for climate change. A new mathematical model from postdoc Dave Forney and Professor Dan Rothman, co-director of MIT's Lorenz Center, reveals commonality within the diversity of leaf decay.


Follow this link for more research news READ MORE


Degrees Awarded

Degrees awarded during the 2011/2012 academic year. Degrees are conferred in September, February, and June.



EAPS members continue to receive numerous awards and honors.



Where Biology and Geology Meet

Tanja Bosak, the Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor of Geobiology at MIT, directs the MIT Laboratory for Geomicrobiology and Microbial SedimentologyIn this video interview she describes how her research contributes to unraveling the co-evolution of life and the environment on early Earth.


The Ground Beneath Her Feet

In this interview, Assistant Professor Alison Malcolm talks about her seismic imaging work and the challenge of "seeing inside the solid Earth."



June 2012 - October 2012

A reception, a colloquium, a breakfast: Read about a selection of EAPS events during this past summer and fall.


Looking Ahead

EAPS Reception for Alumni and Friends at the AGU

December 3, 2012
Our annual reception during the Fall Meeting of the AGU will be held at the InterContinental San Francisco from 6:00-8:00 p.m.


Killian Lecture

March 5, 2013
Please join us in celebrating one of our own, as Maria Zuber, the E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and 2012-13 recipient of the James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, gives the 2013 Killian Lecture at 4:00 p.m. in Room 10-250.  A brief reception will be held outside the lecture hall immediately following.

Established in 1971 to honor MIT's former president, Dr. James R. Killian, Jr., the Killian Award  "recognizes extraordinary professional achievement" and is the highest honor bestowed by the MIT faculty on one of its own members. The last EAPS faculty member to receive this award was Frank Press.  Zuber is a trailblazing planetary scientist who has been involved in dozens of NASA missions exploring the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and several asteroids.  She also served as EAPS department head from 2003-2011.

read more

All events in the EAPS calendar are open to the public READ MORE

Support EAPS

By unlocking the mysteries of the natural world, EAPS faculty, researchers, and students are discovering answers to questions that pique the imagination and solutions to problems with important societal implications. Support these brilliant and creative minds with a gift to EAPS. In the face of uncertain federal research funding and increased competition for talent among our peers, your contribution will help us maintain our leadership in the geosciences. Fund-raising priorities are fellowship support for graduate students and discretionary funding, used to seize opportunities and to address pressing needs.  In the past, these discretionary funds have allowed us to enrich the student experience, purchase laboratory equipment, and seed new ideas deemed too risky for federal funding.

For more information on making a gift, please contact Dawn Adelson at dadelson [at] mit [dot] edu or 617.253.0593. You may also make a gift by going directly to our website at

Published November 2012
by the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT
Editorial team: Helen Hill and Dawn Adelson
eapsnewsletter [at] mit [dot] edu
Next Issue: Oceans Ahoy!

Special thanks to: Morgan Banea, Gregory Batcheler (MIT Alumni Association), Rick Binzel, Russell Boulais (MIT Alumni Association), Tanja Bosak, Claire Bucholz, Jennifer Chu (EAPS reporter, MIT News Office), Vicki Estrom (Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change), Mike Floyd, Elyse Graham (Office for the Dean of Graduate Education), Rob van der Hilst, Alison Malcolm, Renyu Hu, Paul O'Gorman, Tom Pixton (MIT Communications), Dan Rothman, Adam Sobel, Heather Queyrouze, Yunpeng Wang, Shira Wieder (School of Science), and Jack Wisdom as well as everybody who contributed to the Classroom Earth: A Summer in the Field map.


Contact information