Earth and Environmental Science
The Earth and Environmental Science Department is the most research-intensive department on campus, producing more Ph.D.’s per year than any other. The E&ES Department includes degree options in geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and hydrology. The department works closely with the N.M. Bureau of Geology, among the most well-regarded state surveys in the nation.
Glenn Spinelli, Department Chair
Welcome! Earth and Environmental Science is a leading department at New Mexico Tech with a prominent international profile for Earth science research. We strive for excellence in conducting important and cutting edge research across the sub-disciplines of Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Hydrology. Our research strengths extend from Earth’s deep interior to its shallow crust and surface. The Earth and Environmental Science Department is acutely aware of the relationship of its work to many issues of critical concern to society as a whole, and endeavors to interact with the broader community at the local, state, national, and international levels to disseminate knowledge bearing on these societal concerns.
We are devoted to the education of future generations of Earth scientists and introducing them to the wide array of excellent careers within the field. We educate graduate students to become leaders in academia and industry. We seek engaging means for undergraduate education, preparing students for societally-relevant and fulfilling careers.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Science offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a broad range of earth sciences topics. The department incorporates five strongly interacting graduate programs — Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Hydrology, and Geobiology — in association with an integrated undergraduate major in Earth Science featuring options in Geology, Geophysics, Hydrology, and Mineral Resources. The department also administers a cross-department undergraduate degree in Environmental Science.
The department has 14 faculty members and more than 40 affiliated research and adjunct faculty, many of whom are staff scientists at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. The E&ES Department also is affiliated with the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center and EarthScope USArray Operations Facility, two major NSF-funded seismological facilities.
The department maintains an average of 65 graduate students and 60 undergraduate students and is strongly research-oriented. Faculty research productivity is high, with external funding currently at about $7 million per year. Undergraduate as well as graduate students are involved in research activities.
Major areas of research include (but are not restricted to):
- Groundwater hydrology
- Watershed hydrology
- Cave and karst studies
- Aqueous geochemistry / Reactive transport
- Earthquake seismology
- Tectonics/structural geology
- Faults and fluid flow
- Sedimentology and diagenesis
- Economic geology
- Petroleum systems, basin analysis and exploration geophysics
Research is strongly interdisciplinary and there is extensive cooperative research between programs. Major research instrumentation and facilities include well-equipped research computing laboratories, 40Ar/39Argon geochronology lab, quadrupole, and stable isotope mass spectrometers, electron microprobe, high-pressure rock physics and rock mechanics laboratory, fission track and image analysis lab, neutron activation counting lab, liquid and gas chromatography lab, a flow visualization lab, and local seismic networks.