Cutting Edge > Strong Geoscience Departments > Degree Programs > Department Profiles > Fluids in the Earth, University of Minnesota

Fluids in the Earth from Surface to Core, University of Minnesota

Information for this profile was provided by Donna Whitney and Martin Saar in 2007.

Photo of Pillsbury Hall at the University of Minnesota

Jump down to Overview and Context * Connecting to the Future of Science * Goals and Assessment

Overview and Context

This theme encompasses a summer internship program (NSF-REU site), a graduate fellowship program (Dept. of Education GAANN), and a research program that ties together faculty, students, and researchers within and beyond the Department of Geology & Geophysics; e.g., interactions between the Department and the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED). The thread of the theme also runs through undergraduate courses required for geoscience majors (Geodynamics I, II; field courses).

This programmatic theme is designed to foster links between courses and research units at many different levels in and beyond the department, and to serve as a basis for teaching quantitative skills across geoscience sub-disciplines.

Connecting to the Future of Science

The theme of fluids encompasses all 'spheres' of the Earth, from the atmosphere to the core. An integrated research and teaching on fluids promotes linkages within and beyond the UMN geosciences department. Both of these aspects of the fluids program (broadly defined) are critical elements in geoscience research and education of the present and future.

Goals and Assessment


The various elements of the program were designed to bring together as many faculty and research groups in the department as possible, and to help students see the commonalities among geoscience sub-disciplines. An additional goal relates to teaching quantitative skills to undergraduate and graduate students in the context of Earth processes from the surface to the deep interior.


We assess the success of the internship and fellowship program by tracking the post-graduation career paths of students. We assess the success of the research theme by the number of collaborative, cross-disciplinary research investigations undertaken by faculty and researchers in the department.

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