Learning from the Earth’s past

Explore our research in crustal evolution, tectonics, palaeontology, environmental change, and applied geoscience

We study the history of our planet and the evolution of life, from Earth’s earliest beginnings to the present day. Our expertise spans from global tectonics, volcanism, and planetary geology to palaeontology, climate change and engineering geology. 

We use our findings to predict how the Earth may change in the future, to better understand natural hazards, and to determine how the Earth’s resources can be used sustainably.

Research groups and centres

Explore the work our research groups are doing in this area, and learn more about our recent projects, the academic and industrial partners we're collaborating with, and who our major funders are.

Crustal Evolution And Tectonics Research Group

At Portsmouth our group is particularly focussed on the development of Plate Tectonics throughout Earth history. We are addressing fundamental questions with respect to the Earth system such as when did Plate Tectonics begin operating and what changes can be documented in the style and rate of plate movement and subduction through time.

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Palaeontology and Environmental Change research group

We're exploring how fossil records can help us understand past climates & environments and using this knowledge to effectively predict & model climate change and its impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. Explore our palaeontology and environmental change research.

Rock sample for school of earth and environmental sciences
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Centre for Applied Geosciences

At the Centre for Applied Geosciences at the University of Portsmouth, we investigate natural and manmade hazards and geo-heritage conservation. Find out more

Mountain view
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Research facilities

Our research is supported by a range of specialist facilities used by staff and students. We also work regularly with visiting researchers and industries from around the world.

Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit

Gain expertise in high-magnification imaging and analysis of the chemical and physical structure of natural and manufactured materials.

Mass spectrometer
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Mass Spectrometry and Laser Ablation Laboratory

Investigate the geological and planetary processes that influence environment change and natural resource formation in this lab, using our industry standard spectrometers and laser ablation system.

Burnaby June 2019
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Rock Mechanics Laboratory

Measure the strength and elasticity of minerals and rocks under simulated geological stress conditions using high-pressure hydraulic apparatus in this lab, and explore properties including fluid-flow permeability, rock and joint friction, and induced seismicity.

Rock mechanics lab
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Palaeontology and Advanced Microscopy Laboratories

Examine rock, mineral and fossil specimens using the specialist kit in these labs, such as transmitted light, polarising and scanning electron microscopes, and explore processes including acid digestion, air abrasion and microfossil extraction.

Students examining fossils in palaeontology lab
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Geotechnics Laboratory

Our Geotechnics Laboratory – or Soils Lab – has equipment for analysing fine- and coarse-grained soils.

Geotechnics Lab
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GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Discover more about the planet's physical structures and scientific processes, such as glaciers and coastal flooding, using drone data, aerial and satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems.

Aerial view of scenic Greenland Glaciers and icebergs
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