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Marine Geology & Geophysics

College or University: Oregon State University

Type of degree: M.S.

Brief overview of program: Management, sharing, and stewardship of global resources demands an understanding of global environmental change, Earth resources, and natural hazards related to the dynamics of the solid Earth, oceans, and atmosphere on time scales longer and over ranges larger than have been recorded by human experience. The COAS Marine Geology and Geophysics program emphasizes five themes: Crust and mantle processes: Research focuses on the interplay of magmatic and tectonic processes along the global mid-ocean ridge system, volcanic and tectonic history of oceanic hotspots, tectonic evolution of ocean basins, and the dynamics of the Earth’s mantle. This research involves a substantial geochemical component that is supported by several laboratories. Active tectonics: Research focuses on the study of active submarine faults in convergent and strike-slip settings, which leads to models that provide understanding of how deformation interacts with subduction. COAS is active in the emerging field of marine paleoseismology, which deciphers the earthquake history of large-fault systems from the geologic record to better understand earthquake and tsunami hazards. Paleo-oceanography and paleoclimatology: Research emphasizes the ice ages as a natural laboratory for understanding climate change. Recent projects include factors causing changes in global ocean circulation and the global carbon cycle, documenting the role oceans play in long-term climate changes, the role that unstable tropical climates play in triggering global climate effects, and analyzing patterns of large-scale climate change. Biogeochemical processes: Research focuses on understanding the implications of ocean fluxes, and the influence of microorganisms on the Earth’s geological and geochemical systems. Scientists are also involved in the search for life in extreme environments. Coastal processes: Research includes the fluid dynamics of near-shore waves and currents, sediment transport driven by those flows, and the morphologies created by these systems. The Coastal Imaging Laboratory supports a broad array of digital imaging tools to monitor coastal variations in locations that span the globe and include real-time observing systems based on radar and satellite measurements. Applicants to the COAS Marine Geology and Geophysics Program should have good quantitative skills and a background that includes both Earth science and one or more of the physical sciences.

Website: Click here for program website

Program Point of Contact: Robert Duncan


Institution address: 202 Apperson Hall Oregon State University
                             Corvallis,OR 97331


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This project is supported, in part, by the NationalScience Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation .