The Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate study in geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geophysics, planetary science and environmental science and engineering. We study the earth and planets in order to understand their origin, constitution, and development. The approach to these problems relies heavily on the basic sciences. Programs of study and research are pursued in geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geophysics, planetary science, and environmental science and engineering. The curriculum is flexible so that students with degrees in biology, chemistry, engineering, or physics may carry out graduate work within the division. Interdisciplinary studies are encouraged and students may carry out academic and research programs within and between different divisions.
Our geologists work around the world on problems of tectonics, petrology and geological hazards. The geobiology program focuses on understanding the history of life in the Solar system, and the impact the biosphere has had on the earth during the past 4 billion years. Geochemists study the chemistry of the cosmos, the earth's mantle and everything in between as well instrumentation development, mineralogy, and isotope geochemistry. Our geophysicists maintain Caltech's Seismological Laboratory and help maintain the Southern California Seismic Network and the Southern California Earthquake Data Center as well as maintaining programs in mineral physics, geodynamics and computational seismology. Planetary scientists investigate planetary surfaces, atmospheres, and interiors and planetary astronomy. Caltech's Environmental Science initiative is a cross-disciplinary program involving Geological and Planetary Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is concerned with the impact of human and natural processes on the environment.
Source: Department Website June 2010