Earth Sciences at St Andrews dates to the 17th Century, a rich tradition that shapes our vision for the future: to define the cutting edge of Earth, environmental, and planetary science, and deliver unparalleled student education.

Our research is both curiosity driven, addressing profound questions about the co-evolution of Earth and life, and applied, delivering societal and economic impact. It spans recent environmental change to planetary formation, underpinned by state-of-the-art analytical and field capabilities.

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  • Silicic ash beds bracket Emeishan Large Igneous Province to < 1 m.y. at ~ 260 Ma 

    Huang, Hu; Cawood, Peter A.; Hou, Ming-Cai; Yang, Jiang-Hai; Ni, Shi-Jun; Du, Yuan-Sheng; Yan, Zhao-Kun; Wang, Jun (2016-11-01) - Journal article
    Claystone beds directly below and above the Emeishan basalts in SW China formed around the Guadalupian-Lopingian (G-L) boundary. Zircons from both levels give U–Pb ages of ~ 260 Ma, and are identical within-error to ages ...
  • Tectonic settings of continental crust formation : insights from Pb isotopes in feldspar inclusions in zircon 

    Delavault, Hélène; Dhuime, Bruno; Hawkesworth, Chris J.; Cawood, Peter A.; Marschall, Horst; the Edinburgh Ion Microprobe Facility (2016-10-01) - Journal article
    Most crustal rocks derive from preexisting crust, and so the composition of newly generated (juvenile) continental crust, and hence the tectonic settings of its formation, have remained difficult to determine, especially ...
  • An early Neoproterozoic accretionary prism ophiolitic mélange from the western Jiangnan orogenic belt, South China 

    Yao, Jinlong; Cawood, Peter A.; Shu, Liangshu; Santosh, M.; Li, Jinyi (2016-09) - Journal article
    The Neoproterozoic Jiangnan orogenic belt delineates the suture zone between the Cathaysia and Yangtze blocks of the South China Craton. The western part of the belt, in the Longsheng region, consists of a disrupted ...
  • Onset of the aerobic nitrogen cycle during the Great Oxidation Event 

    Zerkle, Aubrey L.; Poulton, Simon W.; Newton, Robert J.; Mettam, Colin; Claire, Mark W.; Bekker, Andrey; Junium, Christopher K. (2017-02-23) - Journal item
    The rise of oxygen on the early Earth (about 2.4 billion years ago)1 caused a reorganization of marine nutrient cycles2, 3, including that of nitrogen, which is important for controlling global primary productivity. However, ...
  • Spatial reconstruction of Scottish summer temperatures from tree rings 

    Rydval, Miloš; Gunnarson, Björn E.; Loader, Neil J.; Cook, Edward R.; Druckenbrod, Daniel L.; Wilson, Rob (2017-03-15) - Journal article
    A detailed understanding of past temporal patterns and spatial expression of temperature variations is important to place recent anthropogenic climate change into a longer term context. In order to fill the current gap in ...

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