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

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Rano Raraku crater lake basin: Geochemical characterization and implications for the Ahu-Moai Period

Rano Raraku, the crater lake constrained by basaltic tuff that served as the primary quarry used to construct the moai statues on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), has experienced fluctuations in lake level over the past centuries. As one of the only freshwater sources on the island, understanding the present and past geochemical characteristics...

Argiriadis, Elena; Bortolini, Mara; Kehrwald, Natalie; Roman, Marco; Turetta, Clara; Hanif, Shahpara; Erhendi, Evans Osayuki; Ramirez Aliaga, José Miguel; McWethy, David B.; Myrbo, Amy E.; Pauchard, Anibal; Barbante, Carlo; Battistel, Dario

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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

A global ecological classification of coastal segment units to complement marine biodiversity observation network assessments

A new data layer provides Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) labels for global coastal segments at 1 km or shorter resolution. These characteristics are summarized for six US Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) sites and one MBON Pole to Pole of the Americas site in Argentina. The global coastlines CMECS...

Sayre, Roger; Butler, Kevin; Van Graafeiland, Keith; Breyer, Sean; Wright, Dawn; Frye, Charlie; Karagulle, Deniz; Martin, Madeline T.; Cress, Jill Janene; Allen, Tom; Allee, Rebecca; Parsons, Rost; Nyberg, Bjorn; Costello, Mark; Harris, Peter; Muller-Karger, Frank