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Areas of Study

Coastal Studies

The study of the coastal and near-shore environment can help answer important questions related to natural hazards, ecosystem dynamics, sediment transport, climate variability, ancient cultures, and coastal environmental issues, such as groundwater management and pollution.


Geochemistry is a powerful tool for investigating a wide variety of geosystems in the ocean basins. Current topics of study include sediment biogeochemistry, submarine hydrothermal systems and the origin of mineral deposits on the seafloor, melt generation and flow in the earth's mantle, crustal magmatic systems, and seafloor volcanic processes.

Marine geology/geophysics/tectonics

Using a range of superb facilities, the Joint Program faculty and staff study a range of problems in marine geophysics and tectonics, including seafloor volcanic processes, ccean crustal structure, faulting and tectonics, upper mantle dynamics and ocean-continent interactions.


The main focus in this area is the ocean's role in earth's climate. Joint Program faculty, staff, and students have diverse interests, including defining problems in paleoclimatology, modeling the general circulation of the ocean and atmosphere, micropaleontology, ocean paleochemistry and sedimentation dynamics of marine particulates.

Climate Variability and Impacts

Using a combination of modern observations from instruments and satellites, data analysis, models, and high resolution records from geological archives such as corals, trees, ice sheets, marine and lake sediment, we evaluate how climate variability has impacted our environment in the distant and recent past, and how it is likely to influence our environment in the future.