Research on global change at St Andrews covers environments from tropical coral reefs, to the polar ice caps and deep ocean. We investigate change in climate and marine chemistry on timescales ranging from millions of years to months, and seek to understand controls on environmental change in Earth’s past, present and future.
Solid Earth research at St Andrews includes the formation of terrestrial planets, the processes of mountain building, and the genesis of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks in a range of environments. Our research ranges from the study of nano-scale structures and chemical compositions in rocks and minerals, to the geological mapping of supercontinents and sedimentary basins.
The long-term evolution of the Earth system involves an inter-linked set of biological, chemical and geological processes. Geobiology research at St Andrews uses geochemistry, field geology, and numerical modelling to study the oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere, major swings in past climates, and the evolution of life.
The processes which shape Earth’s surface also control elemental fluxes between environments, and between the land, coasts and oceans. Earth surface research areas include the evolution of river systems, glaciation and glacial processes, geochemical budgets and land-ocean cycling, and contaminant transport.
Exploration and responsible management of Earth’s natural resources is an important economic application of the Earth sciences. Research at St Andrews spans a range of industrial applications, including ore exploration, development of non-conventional hydrocarbon reserves, geothermal energy and storage, and environmental impacts.