Glenn Spinelli, Department Chair
Welcome! Earth and Environmental Science is a leading department at New Mexico Tech with a prominent international profile for Earth science research. We strive for excellence in conducting important and cutting edge research across the sub-disciplines of Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Hydrology. Our research strengths extend from Earth’s deep interior to its shallow crust and surface. The Earth and Environmental Science Department is acutely aware of the relationship of its work to many issues of critical concern to society as a whole, and endeavors to interact with the broader community at the local, state, national, and international levels to disseminate knowledge bearing on these societal concerns.
We are devoted to the education of future generations of Earth scientists and introducing them to the wide array of excellent careers within the field. We educate graduate students to become leaders in academia and industry. We seek engaging means for undergraduate education, preparing students for societally-relevant and fulfilling careers.
New Mexico Tech’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in a broad range of earth sciences. The department incorporates five strongly interacting graduate programs — Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Hydrology, and Geobiology — in association with an integrated undergraduate major in Earth Science featuring options in Geology, Geophysics, Hydrology, and Mineral Resources. The department also administers a cross-department undergraduate degree in Environmental Science.
Here is a video (1 hour) of lighting talks showcasing some of the exciting research that our faculty and colleagues in the Bureau of Geology are working on (as of 2017): https://nmt.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a3fb18ac-5bef-455f-8f9b-c7c64bce7000
The department has 14 faculty members, of which four are in geophysics, five in hydrology, and five in geology/geochemistry. In addition, the department has more than 40 affiliated research and adjunct faculty who are actively involved in research and/or teaching. Many of these are from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, which is located on campus, but they also come from national laboratories, industry, and other organizations. The IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center and EarthScope USArray Array Operations Facility, two major NSF-funded seismological facilities, are also housed on campus and administered by faculty of the geophysics program.
The department maintains an average of 65 graduate students and 60 undergraduate students and is strongly research-oriented. Major areas of research include (but are not restricted to):
- Groundwater hydrology
- Watershed hydrology
- Cave and karst studies
- Aqueous geochemistry / Reactive transport
- Earthquake seismology
- Tectonics/structural geology
- Faults and fluid flow
- Sedimentology and diagenesis
- Economic geology
- petroleum systems, basin analysis and exploration geophysics
Research is strongly interdisciplinary and there is extensive cooperative research between programs. Major research instrumentation and facilities include well-equipped research computing laboratories, 40Ar/39Ar, quadrupole, and stable isotope mass spectrometers, electron microprobe, high-pressure rock physics and rock mechanics laboratory, fission track and image analysis lab, neutron activation counting lab, liquid and gas chromatography lab, a flow visualization lab, and local seismic networks.
Faculty research productivity is high, with external funding currently at about $7 million per year. Undergraduate as well as graduate students are involved in research activities.