Research within the School is grouped into four main themes:
Research into global change focuses on the processes, causes and consequences of environmental and climate change on decadal to millennial timescales with studies ranging from tropical coral reefs to the polar ice caps and deep ocean. This understanding of modern processes is used to constrain and test models for earth system change in deep time.
Staff currently undertaking research into global change include:
- Dr Nicola Allison – biomineralisation; ocean acidification.
- Dr Richard Bates – high-resolution geophysical surveys of near surface investigations.
- Dr Andrea Burke – ocean circulation and chemistry; climate change.
- Dr Michael Byrne - atmospheric and climate dynamics.
- Dr Mark Claire – atmospheric chemistry on Earth, Mars and exoplanets.
- Prof Adrian Finch – mineralogy and biomineralisation processes.
- Dr James Rae – reconstructing past climate change and its causes.
- Dr Eva Stüeken – geobiology and isotope geochemistry.
- Prof Rob Wilson – Late Holocene palaeoclimatology using tree-ring records.
- Dr Will Hutchison – Volcanic impacts on climate and society
Solid Earth research focuses on the formation of terrestrial planets and understanding the genesis of the rock archives that preserve the record of planetary development.
Research ranges from the study of nano-scale structures and geochemical compositions of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and minerals, to the geological characterisation of Earth’s internal layering, mountain belts and sedimentary basins.
Staff currently undertaking research into solid Earth and planetary science include:
- Dr Claire Cousins – Linkages between volcanism and microbial life; Mars geology
- Prof Adrian Finch – Mineralogy and alkaline magmatism
- Dr Nicholas Gardiner – Crustal evolution, radiogenic isotope geochemistry, magmatic ore deposits
- Dr Will McCarthy – Igneous petrology, structural geology; rock magnetics
- Dr Sami Mikhail – Mantle processes; planetary-scale volatile cycling
- Prof Tony Prave – Field geology; Earth history; sedimentary basin reconstructions
- Dr Paul Savage – Non-traditional stable isotopes applied to planetary sciences
- Prof Richard White – Metamorphic processes; orogenesis
- Dr Will Hutchison – Magmatic processes; volcanic hazards
- Dr Catherine Rose – Earth history, paleoenvironmental reconstructions
The long-term evolution of the Earth system is a response to the feedback processes between geobiological, geochemical and geological phenomena. This research theme uses geochemistry, field geology, and numerical modelling to study pivotal periods in the development of our planet over its 4.567 billion year history.
Staff currently undertaking research into geobiology include:
- Dr Mark Claire – atmospheric chemistry on Earth, Mars and exoplanets
- Dr Claire Cousins – linkages between volcanism and microbial life; Mars geology
- Dr Sami Mikhail – deep carbon; planetary-scale volatile cycling
- Prof Tony Prave – geological archives of ancient environmental change
- Dr Eva Stüeken – geobiology and isotope geochemistry
- Dr Aubrey Zerkle – early Earth evolution; geobiology
- Dr Catherine Rose - geological archives of ancient environmental change
Exploration and responsible management of Earth’s natural resources is an important economic application of the Earth sciences. Research at St Andrews spans a range of industrial applications, including ore exploration, development of non-conventional hydrocarbon reserves, geothermal energy and storage, and environmental impacts.
Staff currently undertaking research into economic geology include:
- Dr Richard Bates – Near-surface geophysical investigations; geothermal energy.
- Prof Adrian Finch – Applied mineralogy and alkaline magmatism.
- Dr Nicholas Gardiner - Crustal evolution, radiogenic isotope geochemistry, magmatic ore deposits.
- Dr Will McCarthy – Igneous petrology, structural geology; rock magnetics.
- Prof Richard White - Metamorphic processes; orogenesis.