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Deformation Kinematics and Dynamics

Penn State has a group of faculty (Engelder, Fisher, Furlong & LaFemina) who use field observations of structures to evaluate the kinematics and dynamics of rock deformation in mountain belts, along plate boundaries, and within sedimentary basins.

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Plate Tectonic and Deformation Processes

Penn State faculty have ongoing research along active plate boundaries around the world including:

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Plate Tectonic and Deformation Processes
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Climate Risk Management

Anthropogenic climate changes pose serious risks.

How big are these risks? What are scientifically sound, economically viable, and ethically defendable strategies to manage them?

Analysing these questions requires fundamental advances in the involved disciplines (e.g., Geosciences, Geography, Economics, Engineering, Meteorology, Statistics, or Philosophy) as well as a tight integration across these disciplines.

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Astrobiology

A major research focus of astrobiology is enabling the recognition of signatures of life on the early Earth, in extreme environments, and in extraterrestrial settings.

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Astrobiology Research
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Petrology and Volcanology

The Petrology and Volcanology group at Penn State (Feineman, Furman & LaFemina), explores the physical and chemical processes attendant to eruptive activity in a variety of tectonic settings, including active arcs, continental rifts and ocean islands.

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Petrology and Volcanology
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Chemistry and Physics of Rocks and Minerals

Several faculty in the Department of Geosciences work in the broad area of Physics and Chemistry of Rocks and Minerals. A primary focus is to unravel the mechanisms by which atomic-scale properties of Earth materials control large-scale geologic and geophysical processes.

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Chemistry and Physics of Rocks and Minerals
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Environmental Geochemistry

Environmental geochemists at Penn State (Brantley, Heaney & Kubicki) investigate the kinetics and the atomic-scale mechanisms that govern mineral-fluid reactions at the Earth’s surface.

Examples of the kinds of problems that we study would include:

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Environmental Geochemistry
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Biogeochemistry

Biogeochemistry analyzes the interactions between life and the chemical cycles in the Earth system. This is an inherently multidisciplinary endeavor, as it integrates the biological, chemical, geological, and physical sciences.

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Biogeochemistry
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Environmental Geophysics

The environmental geophysics research program includes Nyblade and Saffer. They use geophysical observations of the shallow subsurface to address environmental and engineering problems, particularly those related to physical, chemical, and biological processes. Research projects can be lab, field, or theoretically based.

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Environmental Geophysics
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Seismology

In concert with the Department's geodynamics, earthquake mechanics, volcanology, and active-source seismology groups, the Penn State seismology group (Ammon, Furlong, Marone, Nyblade & Richardson) performs research on Earth structure and earthquake processes.

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