Understanding the evolution of the Earth and how it works as a system

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Sustainability Goals AW
Main Sustainable Development Goals for the Department of Earth Sciences.

The Earth Sciences contribute to answers on a wide range of societal and economic questions, e.g.;

  • the natural means of existence (water, energy, raw materials),
  • the terrestrial environment (including remediation of pollutions),
  • natural hazards and disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods),
  • and the use of terrestrial space (specifically near surface and underground space).

Through our work, the Department contributes to many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set by the United Nations, in particular these five: Clean water and sanitation, Affordable and clean energy, Sustainable cities and communities, Climate action, and Life below water.

It is our mission to advance our understanding and prediction capability of processes that govern the evolution of System Earth. This system is Earth’s structure, together with the internal workings and surface processes, that determine its evolution and current dynamic state. Our scientists study the Earth (and other planets) on scales from the molecular to the planetary scale and from the microsecond to the geological time scale, from its birth about 4500 million years ago to the present-day, including the origin and evolution of life. We strive to understand the processes that give rise to its immense riches of life and natural resources.

We honour James Hutton’s early insight that "from what has actually been, we have data for concluding with regard to that which is to happen thereafter".

Follow us

Follow the Department of Earth Sciences on Facebook: UUEarthSciences, and Twitter: @UUEarthSciences,
or watch lots of informative movies of the Faculty of Geosciences on YouTube: UUGeosciences.
This includes a brief introduction to our laboratories that we made late 2020.

Find a selection of our research posters here.

Research focus

Our focus is on four major aspects of the natural Earth: