In Geobiology we ask questions that span the range of geologic time, from the emergence and evolution of life on the earliest Earth to its occurrence in weird and wonderful extreme environments to its role in shaping modern biogeochemical cycles. These studies often blur the boundaries between geology, geochemistry, environmental science, microbiology, and molecular genetics. We offer both an undergraduate major and a graduate Ph.D. program. Our students and postdocs go on to do academic research in a variety of biological and Earth science fields, and to work in a variety of industries from pharmaceuticals to genetics to medicine.
Stromatolites with chert laminations from the Late Archean (ca. 2.55 Ga) Malmani carbonate plateform, South Africa
Shark Bay microbial mats
Warawonna Stromatolites 3.4 Ga
John Abelson takes a rest on a 2.55 billion-year-old giant stromatolite, Nothern Cape Province, South Africa
Glacial dropstone formation Oman
Banded Iron formation Hammersley Formation
Thrombolite-Stromatolite Reef, Nama Group
Giant Ooids of the Johnnie Formation
Grand Canyon. Strata exposed in these walls, first stromatolite, Nothern Cape Province, South Africa examined by John Wesley Powell, still constitute one of the most impressive records of the evolution of life on earth.
Field Work: Measuring sectionsin the Edicaran-age Huqf Supergroup, along the coastline of the Sultanate of Oman.
Shark Bay Stromatolites
Candor Chasma, Mars. Strata exposed in the great Vallis Marineris (much deeper than the Grand Canyon) include folded Ca- and Mg-sulfate deposits, which represent an early environmental record of Mars.
A Strelley Pool Formation stromatolites. These stromatolites, discovered by Abby Allwood (JPL), provide strong evidence for the presence of early life on Earth, and are ~3.45 billion years old. They are located in the Pilbara craton of Western Australia.