UCL Earth Sciences


The Department at a glance

Centre of learning & research discoveries, diverse student community, advanced laboratories infrastructure, public sector outreach, knowledge transfer with industry, engagement with government policies

Modern Earth Sciences is as dynamic and diverse as the planet itself.  We study everything from the origin of the Earth to the history of the life it sustains. We are an integrative, interdisciplinary, modern science, applying state-of-the-art maths, physics, chemistry and biology in order to better understand the Earth and other bodies in the solar system.


Kathleen Lonsdale reopening with Sir David Attenborough

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We are very proud to be in the building named after Dame Kathleen Lonsdale – the colocation is a major transformation for us with new teaching, laboratory and social places provisions.

Research Spotlight: Dr Ana Ferreira

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I study deep Earth structure and earthquake source processes to obtain an integrated understanding of the processes controlling the dynamic behaviour of our planet from the surface down to the lowermost mantle.

Student Spotlight: Cecily Nicholl

Notosuchians were an incredibly diverse group of crocodylomorphs during the Cretaceous”


World's oldest fossil discovered here

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Research led by Dr Dominic Papineau & Matt Dodd provide direct evidence for one of the oldest life forms on Earth - fossilized remains of microorganisms that are at least 3,770 million years old. These discoveries demonstrate life developed on Earth at a time when Mars and Earth had liquid water at their surfaces, posing exciting questions for extra-terrestrial life.

Research Spotlight: Dr Emma Liu

Emma Liu fieldwork
Emma’s life-long love for volcanoes, focuses on researching volcanic gases and the use of drone technology to obtain better gas samples. Her research interests are diverse and inter-disciplinary across physical volcanology, volatile/trace metal geochemistry and volcanic hazard assessment. Fieldwork is the major component of Emma’s research.


Lunch Hour Lecture: Are we waking up the sleeping Arctic Ocean?

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Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at more than twice the global average rate. As the sea ice cover retreats, there is a radiation imbalance and a modification of the Arctic Ocean circulation, and as the atmosphere and ocean come into direct contact, exchanges of heat and momentum will potentially be transformed. Dr Michel Tsamados will discuss the implications for the Arctic climate system and beyond.

Geobus outreach programme


GeoBus is a free outreach programme run out of the Earth Science department of UCL. We aim to bring engaging, hands-on sessions to school students in and around London. We want to inspire the next generation of Earth scientists by instilling in them a spark of curiosity and wonder for the world around them.

Research Spotlight: Dr Pieter Vermeesch

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A brief introduction to U-Pb, (U-Th)/He and fission track geochronology and thermochronology - Pieter Vermeesch, talks about the research at UCL's London Geochronology Centre.

Department History: The Kathleen Londsdale building

Kathleen Lonsdale

If we look right back to one of the very founding fathers of College itself, George B.Greenough, whose name our Student Society proudly bears to this day, we can trace our roots as far back as the 19th century.

Student Spotlight: Lisa Fuellenbach

Lisa Fuellenbach

“Understanding the mechanisms of heavy metal immobilisation is essential to expedite sustainable remediation of polluted sites. ”


Fieldtrip Highlight: Ries impact crater

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Asteroid and comet collisions have shaped the surface of the Earth – this fieldtrip gives students to opportunity to study impact geology of such event that occured ~14.5 million years ago. 


Outreach Event: Earth Science Week

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The event attracted a large number of visitors interested in the rocks, minerals and fossils that we have exhibited. This was a hands-on exhibition where visitors were encouraged to examine the specimens themselves and check them out under the scope. Earth Science Week initiative, organised by the Geological Society, is an annual international celebration of the geology all around us.

Our latest activities & research spotlights

Earth, planets, paleoenvironments, palaeobiology, geochemistry, geohazards, geophysics, seismology, sedimentology, climate observation & modelling, geodynamics, petrology, volcanism, rock mechanics, mineral physics, geoengineering ...


Student Spotlight: Kate Laxton  
Kate Laxton

“ Volcanoes, like pets, cause mischief and need constant supervision.”


Soapbox Science - Contributing to woman in science.

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What two iron bolts, apple and polystyrene sphere have in common? They are all part of the public outreach presentation on studies of the interior of the smallest planet in our solar system, Mercury.

Fieldtrip Higlight: Pyrenees Fieldtrip 2017

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The field provides a natural laboratory where students can learn. Many students find fieldwork one of the most enjoyable parts of their undergraduate career. Fieldwork is an essential component of study across all of our degree programmes in Earth Sciences.

Student Spotlight: Adam Cotterill

Adam Cotterill

“Combining drone-based strategies with ground & satellite techniques to improve monitoring at inaccessible volcanoes”


Student Spotlight: Paul Minton

Paul Minton
“Using microfossils to provide insights into long-term, seemingly gradual, climate change.”


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