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

Detrital signals of coastal erosion and fluvial sediment supply during glacio-eustatic sea-level rise, Southern California, USA

Coastal erosion, including sea-cliff retreat, represents both an important component of some sediment budgets and a significant threat to coastal communities in the face of rising sea level. Despite the importance of predicting future rates of coastal erosion, few prehistoric constraints exist on the relative importance of sediment supplied by...

Sharman, Glenn R.; Covault, Jacob A; Stockli, Daniel F.; Sickmann, Zack; Malkowski, Matthew A.; Johnstone, Samuel A.

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Year Published: 2021

Early Pleistocene climate-induced erosion of the Alaska Range formed the Nenana Gravel

The Pliocene-Pleistocene transition resulted in extensive global cooling and glaciation, but isolating this climate signal within erosion and exhumation responses in tectonically active regimes can be difficult. The Nenana Gravel is a foreland basin deposit in the northern foothills of the Alaska Range (USA) that has long been linked to unroofing...

Sortor, Rachel; Goehring, Brent; Bemis, Sean; Ruleman, Chester A.; Caffee, Marc; Ward, Dylan

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Year Published: 2021

A multi-decadal geochemical record from Rano Aroi (Easter Island/Rapa Nui): Implications for the environment, climate and humans during the last two millennia

The small and remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has a complex and still partially unknown history of human colonization and interactions with the environment. Previous research from sedimentary archives collected in the three freshwater bodies of Rapa Nui document dramatic environmental changes over the last two millennia. Yet, the characteristics...

Roman, Marco; McWethy, David B.; Kehrwald, Natalie; Osayuki Erhenhi, Evans; Myrbo, Amy E.; Ramirez Aliaga, José M.; Pauchard, Anibal; Turetta, Clara; Barbante, Carlo; Prebble, Matthew; Argiriadis, Elena; Battistel, Dario