Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center


GECSC researchers conduct multi-purpose geologic mapping and topical scientific studies to address issues concerning geologic, climatic, ecosystem, and land surface changes; human interactions with the environment; and physical, chemical, and biological characterization of the Earth's surface and upper crust. 


Date published: September 23, 2021

Fossilized Footprints Reveal Human Habitation of North America Thousands of Years Earlier than Previously Thought

ALAMOGORDO – New scientific research conducted at White Sands National Park in New Mexico has uncovered the oldest known human footprints in North America. The discovery reveals evidence of human occupation in the Tularosa Basin beginning at least 23,000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

Date published: February 4, 2021

Low-Flying Airplane Mapping Parts of Northeastern California

Residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying airplane over parts of northeastern California starting February 6, 2021.

Date published: March 13, 2020

Learning From Real-World Experience to Understand Renewable Energy Impacts to Wildlife

A comprehensive analysis of how renewable energy facilities affect wildlife could inform efforts to predict and reduce these impacts. A team of researchers was asked to gain a better understanding of the actual environmental impacts of renewable energy generation on sensitive species and habitats in California. 


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Year Published: 2021

Lessons learned from development of natural capital accounts in the United States and European Union

The United States and European Union (EU) face common challenges in managing natural capital and balancing conservation and resource use with consumption of other forms of capital. This paper synthesizes findings from 11 individual application papers from a special issue of Ecosystem Services on natural capital accounting (NCA) and their...

Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Carter Ingram, Jane; Shapiro, Carl D.; La Notte, Alessandra; Maes, Joachim; Vallecillo, Sara; Casey, Clyde F.; Glynn, Pierre D.; Heris, Mehdi; Johnson, Justin A.; Lauer, Chris; Matuszak, John; Oleson, Kirsten L. L.; Posner, Stephen M.; Rhodes, Charles R.; Voigt, Brian

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Year Published: 2021

Evidence for humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum

Archaeologists and researchers in allied fields have long sought to understand human colonization of North America. When, how, and from where did people migrate, and what were the consequences of their arrival for the established fauna and landscape are enduring questions. Here, we present evidence from excavated surfaces of in situ human...

Bennett, Matthew R.; Bustos, David; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Springer, Kathleen B.; Urban, Thomas. M.; Holliday, Vance T.; Reynolds, Sally C.; Budka, Marcin; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Hudson, Adam M.; Fenerty, Brendan; Connelly, Clare; Martinez, Patrick J.; Santucci, Vincent L.; Odess, Daniel
Bennett, M.R., Bustos, D., Pigati, J.S., Springer, K.B., Urban, T.M., Holliday, V.T., Reynolds, S.C., Budka, M., Honke, J.S., Hudson, A.M., Fenerty, B., Connelly, C., Martinez, P.J., Santucci, V.L., Odess, D., 2021, Evidence for humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. Science.

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Year Published: 2021

Alpine glacier reveals ecosystem impacts of Europe's prosperity and peril over the last millennium

Information about past ecosystem dynamics and human activities is stored in the ice of Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss Alps. Adverse climatic intervals incurred crop failures and famines and triggered reestablishment of forest vegetation but also societal resilience through innovation. Historical documents and lake sediments record these...

Brugger, Sandra O.; Schwikowski, Margit; Gobet, Erika; Schworer, Christoph; Rohr, Christian; Sigl, Michael; Henne, Stephan; Pfister, Christian; Jenk, Theo M.; Henne, Paul D.; Tinner, Willy