EPS Research Centers
The Department has a wide range of research groups that concentrate on diverse topics.
Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center (BASC)
Earth is unique among the planets because of the ubiquity and diversity of life. Life interacts with geochemical cycles to control atmospheric composition, which in turn determines the radiative and thermal forcing for the circulation and climate of the planet. The study of Earth's atmosphere must therefore encompass interactions with the biosphere and how one species, humans, alter the natural cycles and long-term trajectory of the planet.
Berkeley Seismological Laboratory (BSL)
BSL is an Organized Research Unit of U. C. Berkeley with a long history in seismology and earthquake information. Since the installation of the first seismograph in the western hemisphere, in 1887, the BSL, formerly Seismographic Stations, has been involved in operating seismic and other geophysical networks in central and northern California (presently: Berkeley Digital Seismic Network, Hayward Fault Network, High Resolution Seismic Network at Parkfield, and Bay Area Regional Deformation Network), in earthquake information dissemination (Rapid Earthquake Data Integration Project) and data archival and distribution (Northern California earthquake Data Center). The BSL houses active research programs in local, regional and global seismology and tectonics.
Center for Integrative Planetary Science (CIPS)
CIPS is an Organized Research Unit at U.C. with the task to unite scientists and students from many disciplines that include:
- adaptive optics imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy that open up a new era of observational planetary astronomy
- recent discoveries of the first known extrasolar planets
- new research into the life cycles of extremophile bacteria, some of which survive in environments that are very hot or very cold
- advances in the theory of orbital dynamics that are helping us understand physical models for planetary system evolution
- paleobiological analyses of Earth's fossil record, showing that the introduction of biological complexity occurred suddenly
- space mission discoveries that one or more of Jupiter's moons contain oceans
- the discovery of ultra-high pressure chemical reactions deep with the Earth, and development of the first experimental constraints on the melting temperature of iron at Earth's core pressures
These discoveries, and others during the past decade, have revealed a remarkable set of connections among many separate traditional sciences: Geophysics, Astrophysics, Meteorology, Oceanography, Organic Chemistry, Biology and Planetary Science. These disciplines are well represented at Berkeley, where strong research programs with long records of accomplishment have existed for some time in diverse campus departments, the Space Science Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The Berkeley Geochronology Center (BGC)
BGC is a non-profit scientific research institution dedicated to establishing the history of the Earth, its various inhabitants, and its interactions with the rest of our Solar System, throughout the 4.6 billion years of our Planet's existence. Using the most advanced technology available, BGC scientists determine the ages of rocks and other materials to date important events in geological and biological history.
Center for Isotope Geochemistry
The Center consists of solid-source mass spectrometry and clean chemistry laboratories on campus and facilities for stable isotopic measurements, rare gas isotope mearsurements, and cosmogenic isotope measurements at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Research using the Nd, Sr, Pb, Ca, O, H, C, He, Ne, Be, and Al isotopes is directed toward studies of geological and hydrological processes and the structure and evolution of the oceans, the mantle, and the continental crust.
Berkeley Geomicrobiology Group
The Geomicrobiology group investigates the ways in which microorganism-mineral interactions shape the Earth's near surface environments, now and over geologic time. Research programs integrate molecular microbiology, mineralogy, and geochemistry to tackle a wide diversity of topics including microbial biomineralization, size-dependent properties and reactivity of nanophase biomineral and chemical weathering products, biological and geochemical contributions to granite weathering and landscape development, acidophiles and acid mine drainage formation, biologically-impacted metal cycling in groundwater, and microbial evolution in extreme environments.
Berkeley Geomorphology Group
Geomorphology at Berkeley prospers because of the diversity of strong research programs across the campus and because of a commitment to undergraduate teaching and graduate training. The core faculty consist of Kurt Cuffey (Geography), William Dietrich and Jim Kirchner (Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences). Their research programs (found on this web page) tackle a wide range of topics including glacier mechanics, paleoclimate analysis, environmental geochemistry, landscape evolution, hillslope erosion mechanics, flvuial processes, restoration geomorphology, and biologic extinctions and evolutionary processes.
Active Tectonics Group
The Active Tectonics Research Group at UC Berkeley is part of the Department of Earth and Planetary Science and affiliated with the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. The research focuses on problems relating to fault zone processes and crustal deformation. The approach is interdisciplinary, integrating geodetic, geomorphic, geologic, and seismological observations along with theoretical modeling.
National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM)
The NSF supported Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) is operated jointly by the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering, University of Florida (UF) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California-Berkeley (UCB). NCALM uses an OPTECH Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (ALSM) system jointly owned by UF and Florida International University (FIU), based at the UF Geosensing Engineering and Mapping (GEM) Research Center . The state-of-the-art laser surveying instrumentation and GPS systems, which are installed in a Cessna 337 Skymaster twin-engine aircraft, collects data in areas selected through the competitive NSF grant review process. The LIDAR data is processed to produce highly accurate three-dimensional digital elevation models of the surveyed areas.
At Berkeley we process the data from the raw laser information to the end-user GIS products, develop algorithms and tools for new processing techniques and improving the data worfklow, as well as provide a permanent archiving solution for the large amounts of data from the surveys and subsequent processing. The archiving and Unix-processing resources are managed with the cooperation and expertise of the Berkeley Seismological Lab Computing Center.
At Berkeley we also develop, manage and update NCALM's Online Data Distribution Center that provides public access to research-grade LIDAR data from various project that enter their open-access stage after a period of PI exclusivity.