Our Institute

our institute

The Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS) comprises the two departments of the University of London located in Bloomsbury: the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck College London. We are committed to staff engagement in knowledge transfer, exchange and enterprise to maximise the impact, reach and value of its expert knowledge and key research findings.

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Blaven Mountain

Impact Ejecta Layer At The Base Of Lavas On Skye Contains Unmelted Impactor Fragments.

In a collaboration between five institutions led by the UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences*, geologists have discovered a 0.9-metre thick ejecta layer at the base of the Mid-Paleocene lava series, overlying Mesozoic sedimentary rocks at two localities on the Isle of Skye. The layer contains shocked minerals, metals, glasses and a variety of shocked rocks including basement gneiss, with lapilli and glass shards sharing several textural similarities with volcanic ignimbrites.
Metallic iron forms spherules with ferro-silicate glass, and irregular native iron grains with oxidized rims and barringerite (Fe,Ni2P). Rare carbo-nitrides and nitride minerals like osbornite with vanadium (TiVN) are interpreted as unmelted impactor remnants.

Published: Dec 21, 2017 10:26:00 AM

2017-12-Research Highlight

Research Highlights

In November this year Andrew Thomson and John Brodholt visited the European Synchrotron facility in Grenoble (ESRF) to measure the seismic properties of CaSiO3 perovskite at high pressures and temperatures. Although CaSiO3 perovskite only makes up about 5% of the lower mantle as a whole, it makes up as much as 30% of subducting oceanic crust.
We hope, therefore, to be able to use our measured velocities to trace subducted crust into the lower mantle and understand what happens to old ocean crust in the deep Earth. For instance, does oceanic crust just get smeared out and mixed back into the rest of the mantle, or could it separate out and form distinct reservoirs in the mantle? More...

Published: Dec 20, 2017 10:26:00 PM


Making a (Green) Impact.

As Earth scientists, we are aware of the burden that modern society places on the environment, but as a community, we have perhaps ignored the impact of our department in recent years – not anymore! We are joining the“…UCL-wide environmental competition and accreditation scheme that allows departments and divisions across the university to improve their environmental impact, support UCL's Sustainability Strategy and engage peers and colleagues with these essential issues.” (Green UCL, ucl.ac.uk/greenucl). We want you to get involved!
The impending move into the Kathleen Lonsdale Building makes this the perfect time to get our green hats on. The new KLB (which is due to be completed in January 2018) is perhaps surprisingly, hiding many advanced technologies within its construction that should reduce our environmental impact. There are motion-sensitive lights, CO2 monitored heating and our energy consumption can be monitored from overseas. So, we really have no excuse not to ace this – and we are aiming for a Bronze award by the end of July. More...

Published: Dec 20, 2017 11:26:00 AM

2017-12-Logic seminars

Research Seminars Series

The London Geochemistry & Isotope Centre (LOGIC) was launched in 2016 and combines research teams and facilities in geochemistry at UCL and Birkbeck colleges. It is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research group, carrying out chemical and isotopic investigations of natural materials (rocks, soils, waters, and air) using a variety of analytical and experimental approaches to investigate processes both now and in the past. At the moment 18 academic staff, 8 research staff, 10 PhD students and 3 technicians are involved in the LOGIC group. LOGIC meetings, whether informal seminars or formal talks, are held every Wednesday at 1pm. By the start of this academic year, there have been 28 LOGIC talks, covering a wide range of topics from Earth’s oldest hydrothermal deposits to modern mine wastes and arsenic contamination. Diverse geochemical approaches, from non-traditional stable isotopes (e.g. Cd, Se) to rare earth elements and geochemical modelling have all been discussed. More...

Published: Dec 20, 2017 11:26:00 AM

2017-12-SoapBox Science

Soapbox Science: Art and Science 2017

Soapbox Science is an international public outreach platform supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), L’Oréal and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Different public spaces are transformed into areas similar to London Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, and members of the public can stop to hear all about exciting scientific initiatives and ask questions. Founded by two women scientists, Seirian Sumner (UCL) and Nathalie Pettorelli (ZSL), Soapbox Science aims to promote women in science and the research they do. So far, it has been launched in UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Ireland and Germany. More...

Published: Dec 20, 2017 11:26:00 AM

Open Access events and seminars: