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Program in Geophysics
Professor Thomas Herring, Chair
Degrees Offered: S.M., Sc.D., Ph.D.
Driven by a fundamental curiosity about processes on Earth and other planets, students in the EAPS Geophysics Program (PG) work to understand complicated physical and chemical interactions—occurring over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales—that result in the rich behaviors of a variety of geosystems. We develop advanced tools of observation to address questions such as: What is the pattern of mantle convection and what are the underlying dynamics? How are subcontinental keels created and preserved? How do magmas and deforming host rocks interact? How can microwave signals help us learn more about the distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere?
Thanks to recent advances in instrumentation and computer power, geophysicists now have access to data sets covering spatial, temporal, pressure, and temperature ranges previously unavailable, opening new and exciting avenues of discovery. Through a combination of theory, field work, and precise laboratory experimentation, we use innovative techniques to gather and examine data crucial for understanding a multitude of geodynamic processes. Leaders in the field, EAPS geophysicists often perform work that is of grave importance to society, investigating such global issues as petroleum reservoirs, atmospheres and climate, and active fault systems.