The Earth Sciences Division (ESD) consists of five departments. ESD staff are aligned according to their professional and scientific expertise to these departments, which also serves as their administrative home (Department Heads are responsible for line management activities associated with safety, staffing, promotions, performance evaluations, and employee development and training). Departments are further divided into Research Areas, each with a scientific focus, led by a Research-Area Leader. In the crosscutting nature of the research and disciplines in the ESD, Department staff are likely to support one or all of the Research Programs. Click on a department name below to learn more about the staff and our organization.

Tim Kneafsey and Barry Freifeld in lab  burning methane hydrate made using ice as a starting material. Samples on the left are pure methane hydrate (far left) and methane hydrate in sand (38% porosity, 40% hydrate saturation).


The Hydrogeology Department has expertise in theoretical, experimental, field, and modeling approaches in a variety of research areas, among which are advanced process modeling, reservoir engineering, vadose-zone and fracture hydrology, contaminant hydrology, and coupled nonisothermal, geochemical, and geomechanical processes.



The department is organized into six scientific core capabilities. The primary purpose of these research areas is to advance the science that will enable new high-resolution methods for extracting subsurface properties and process-related information from geophysical, geomechanical, fluid-flow, and satellite data.



The Geochemistry Department has expertise in isotopic geochemistry, reactive transport modeling, experimental mineral-water kinetics and thermodynamics, molecular geochemistry and nanogeoscience, soil geochemistry, and mineralogy.



The Ecology Department was created within the Earth Sciences Division to provide personnel resource management for scientists and engineers within ESD whose expertise was in the general area of ecology, including population ecology, community ecology, systems ecology and environmental engineering.


Climate Sciences

The Climate Sciences Department’s research capabilities fall primarily into three areas we describe as modeling climate change and climate change solutions; simulating clouds, rain, and the water cycle; and, measuring and modeling the terrestrial carbon cycle.