Earth Systems Research
Our interdisciplinary research group aims to develop an integrated understanding of the evolution of the Earth's surface and near-surface environments. We collaborate very closely in this mission with the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC). The bulk of the ESRG research is built around the themes outlined below.
This theme examines the complex interactions that occur between the geosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. We are unpicking the biological response to primary climatic and tectonic forcing and using biominerals and biomarkers to track changes in our past climates. Our work explores the biogeochemical cycles fundamental to life with an emphasis on the transport and fate of carbon. We are also developing new biotechnologies to tackle some of our most pressing environmental problems.
We study the evolution of the Earth's surface and its environments over all spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction of tectonic and surface processes in coastal, glacial and fluvial settings.
Here we examine the primary geodynamic and tectonic processes responsible for creating and modifying topography. Processes include interactions in the shallow crust between heat and fluid flows, diagenesis, low-grade metamorphism, thermochronology, seismogenic structures, and volcanism.
Topics of this theme include application of noble gas isotope geochemistry to early Earth processes, integration of noble gases and other “lithophile” isotope tracers to quantify sources of magmatism and to constrain modes of mantle convection, diamond genesis and chemistry, and early solar system evolutuion and meteorite impacts.
We use Earth Observations from ground, aircraft and space, together with computer models, to monitor local, regional and global changes in the environment so as to improve our understanding of how the Earth system works. Specifically, advanced techniques of space geodesy, digital topography, multispectral imagery and geochronology are being developed for quantifying processes operating at or near the Earth's surface. We are also concerned with data quality and improving the usability of geospatial information systems.