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Department of Earth Sciences Department of Earth Sciences

Welcome to the DES Web Site!

The Department of Earth Sciences (DES) was formed in 2002 as part of the College of Arts and Sciences on the main campus of the University of Memphis. Our 29 full-time and associated faculty represent the diverse disciplines of Archaeology, Geography, Geology, and Geophysics.  The DES faculty foster an interdisciplinary approach to Earth Science studies and research, allowing  faculty and students to pursue diverse and innovative education and research studies that might be difficult in more traditional academic departments.  Some of our faculty work at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), whereas others have close ties to the Ground Water Institute (GWI), Chucalissa Museum, and Confucius Institute (CIUM).  DES Archaeology faculty have common interests with other Archaeology-related programs at the University of Memphis

Our undergraduate degree programs include the B.A. and B.S. in Geography and the B.S. in Earth Sciences, with several concentrations offered in each degree program.  Our course offerings, which are thorough and demanding in all areas, range from cultural and human geographic courses to quantitative and analytical geophysics courses.  Opportunities for coursework in societally relevant areas, such as environmental science and issues, hazards, geographic information science, and natural resource management abound at several levels.

At the graduate level, the M.A. degree is awarded in Geography and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are awarded in Earth Sciences.  Our graduate program encourages academic and personal growth of students through coursework, research, and professional development opportunities. Students are encouraged to pursue graduate research in a wide range of typical disciplinary areas as well as interdisciplinary studies.  Our program maintains its greatest strength in its research focus areas:


Many aspects of these research foci take advantage of our location along the Lower Mississippi River, which is both near the New Madrid Seismic Zone as well as the region where native American cultures thrived during the pre-Columbian era.   However, our laboratory for field studies ranges across the globe from China to Antarctica.

We invite you to explore our web site to learn about the types of earth science that we do and educational opportunities that we offer. Please feel free to contact any member of the DES for further information.

Check out our recent publications to see specific projects that our faculty and students have been doing:

2013 DES Publications

2012 DES Publications

2011 DES Publications

2010 DES Publications

2009 DES Publications






Timothy Alexander

Khurram Aslam

Michael Ayers

Urbi Basu

Elizabeth Cruzado

Graham Ellsworth

Alberto Jimenez

Chunyu Liu

Yusuf Eshqi Molan

Andrew Moodie

Evan Pressley

Mohammad Shahabuddin

Alireza Shahjouei

Catherine Soplata

Alex Ward




2014 Geology Field Camp

2014 Archaeology Field School



2014 GSA Annual Meeting

2014 AGU meetings


Dr. Larsen talks about Memphis water resources on Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club radio show

Interdisciplinary undergraduate student research on medicinal compounds in plants and soils

DES students investigate ground-water contamination at Shelby Farms landfill

2010 U of M Geology field camp Slide Show

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Last Updated: 5/23/14