The Department of Geosciences: A Timeline
The Geology program is established.
The Department of Geology forms in the College of Mines and Engineering.
The Department of Geology has 13 faculty members.
Around this time, Peter J. Coney takes it upon himself to create the Geologic Cross Section of Cedar Breaks National Monument, Zion National Parks, and the Grand Canyon Region.
The first field camp is held at El Coronado Ranch in Turkey Creek, Arizona.
Spencer Titley works with USGS to map the moon using the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope on Kitt Peak for NASA’s Apollo Program.
The Department of Geosciences is established by combining the departments of Geology and Geochronology.
The same year, Professor William R. Dickinson (“Hero of Plate Tectonics”) convenes the Geological Society of America Penrose Conference on Plate Tectonics, which led to the definition of “subduction.”
Geosciences holds its first GeoDaze.
The Gould-Simpson building is completed. It is named in honor of UA geologists Laurence McKinley Gould and George Gaylord Simpson.
Karl Flessa and David Dettman use shells and fish otoliths to evaluate the effects of upstream water diversions on the Colorado River Delta and estuary to help develop the new field of conservation paleobiology.
Joaquin Ruiz, Jonathan Patchett, and George Gehrels discover how to use a new mass spectrometer to generate U-Pb ages much faster than other instruments. Five years later, Laserchron is funded by NSF to operate as a national center for geochronology.
Andy Cohen begins work with 100+ researchers on the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project with a goal of improving our understanding of the environmental and climatic context of human origins in eastern Africa through the collection of drill cores from ancient lake sediments.
The same year, Peter G. DeCelles leads the COSA Project (Convergent Orogenic system Analysis), a 6-year multidisciplinary research effort sponsored by ExxonMobil involving several faculty members and students in the department, which leads to the production of the GSA Special Volume.
US News and World Report ranks UA Geosciences’ geology program #1 in the nation.
Paul Kapp, along with seven other researchers from UA, begins investigating the archetypal India-Asia collision zone in southern Tibet and the northern Himalaya in order to better understand what happens when a continent collides with a Cordilleran-style continental margin.
Joellen Russell leads the SOCCOM Project (Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling), an observational and modeling research program focused on the role of the Southern Ocean in the anthropogenic carbon budget, ocean biogeochemistry, and climate change. The operational goal of SOCCOM is to deploy nearly 200 Argo-compatible biogeochemical (BGC) profiling floats throughout the Southern Ocean waters south of 30°S. The data from the floats will help to increase our understanding of Southern Ocean processes and reduce the uncertainty of projections of the future trajectory of the Earth’s carbon, climate and biogeochemistry.
The Department of Geosciences celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The new University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum is set to open.
UA Geosciences professor Robert Downs works with NASA on their Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads program.