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: 2022

Downhill from Austin and Ely to Las Vegas: U-Pb detrital zircon suites from the Eocene–Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation and associated strata, Death Valley, California

In a reconnaissance investigation aimed at interrogating the changing topography and paleogeography of the western United States prior to Basin and Range faulting, a preliminary study made use of U-Pb ages of detrital zircon suites from 16 samples from the Eocene–Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation, its overlying units, and correlatives near Death...

Miller, Elizabeth L.; Raftrey, Mark; Lund Snee, Jens-Erik

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Year Published: 2022

Magmatism, migrating topography, and the transition from Sevier shortening to Basin and Range extension, western United States

The paleogeographic evolution of the western U.S. Great Basin from the Late Cretaceous to the Cenozoic is critical to understanding how the North American Cordillera at this latitude transitioned from Mesozoic shortening to Cenozoic extension. According to a widely applied model, Cenozoic extension was driven by collapse of elevated crust...

Lund Snee, Jens-Erik; Miller, Elizabeth L.

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Year Published: 2022

Tectonic influence on axial-transverse sediment routing in the Denver Basin

Detrital zircon U-Pb and (U-Th)/He ages from latest Cretaceous–Eocene strata of the Denver Basin provide novel insights into evolving sediment sourcing, recycling, and dispersal patterns during deposition in an intracontinental foreland basin. In total, 2464 U-Pb and 78 (U-Th)/He analyses of detrital zircons from 21 sandstone samples are presented...

Sharman, Glenn R; Stockli, Daniel F.; Flaig, Peter; Raynolds, Robert; Dechesne, Marieke; Covault, Jacob A