Masaya Volcano lava lake in Nicaragua | Matthew Scott
Masaya Volcano lava lake in Nicaragua | Matthew Scott

Earth & Planets Laboratory

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Drawing on more than a century of science, our multidisciplinary department discovers exoplanets, creates new materials, illuminates Earth's inner workings, and seeks to better understand the universe that is our home.

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From the inner workings of our world to the edge of the universe
The sun shines on the horizon of Earth, as viewed from space.

Studying life’s chemical and physical evolution—from its pre-solar beginnings through planetary formation to the emergence of life on Earth. 


Studying the formation and early evolution of our Solar System, of meteorites and asteroids, and larger bodies like Mars, Mercury, and the Moon.

Experimental Petrology
A small silver bucket filled with what looks like glass is the result of a drop quench experiment.

Uncovering the physical and chemical processes governing the evolution of planetary interiors.

Extreme Environments
Green bacteria

Drawing on expertise and equipment from a broad swath of plant biologists, cellular and molecular biologists, astrobiologists, geophysicists, and geochemists to answer fundamental questions about our planetary habitability and the origins of life.  

Extreme Materials
Extreme materials

Utilizing experimental and theoretical approaches to understand fundamental chemical processes and interactions and to create new and advanced technological and energy-related materials.


Building a timeline of Earth and our Solar System’s early development.

Geophysics & Geodynamics

Revealing Earth's internal dynamics and the processes that give rise to earthquakes and eruptions.

Mineralogy & Mineral Physics

Investigating the origin and dynamic evolution of Earth and planetary interiors, from their crusts to their cores, and the processes that lead to surfaces capable of supporting life. 

Planet Formation & Evolution

Piecing together the processes that shape a planetary system's formation and early evolution.

Solar System & Exoplanets

From discoveries in our Solar System to exploring distant worlds.