HOME > Departments and Centers > Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Earth and Planetary Sciences Course

Earth Environmental Systems
Adopting an Earth environmental system science viewpoint, this laboratory carries out research and education on the Earth’s environment, viewing it as a result of interaction between nature and human activities. The laboratory is mainly engaged in the development of methods for observing the Earth and planetary and space environments, using various remote sensing data, the examination of techniques for the analysis of observation data, and education and research on changes in the global environment, visualized by means of a modeling approach. Based on these techniques, the laboratory promotes interdisciplinary research and education programs in collaboration with other groups within the department and with other departments.

Geology and Geobiology
Based on traditional knowledge of geology and paleontology, this laboratory carries out research and education concerning the Earth’s history on a long time scale. The main themes of our research and education are: 1) to analyze the tectonics of the crust and the mantle, as well as their interaction, using analytical methods such as field work and instrumental analysis, focusing on sedimentation, metamorphism, material cycling in the deep Earth, and geochronology, and 2) to analyze the evolution of the biosphere and its interaction with the global environment using analytical techniques in the fields of paleontology, molecular phylogeny, sedimentology and geochemistry.

Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry
This laboratory aims to analyze the global environment, including human activities, using various chemical compounds, chemical elements and isotopes. To accomplish this, it is necessary to trace the history of the evolution of materials, including biological activities, over the past 4.6 billion years, since the formation of the solar system. Currently, the laboratory is engaged in research and education in three main fields: 1) cosmochemistry, studying extraterrestrial materials such as meteorites and lunar samples, 2) geochemistry, studying terrestrial materials, and 3) environmental chemistry, studying the interaction between human activities and terrestrial materials.

Earth and Planetary Physics
The aim of this laboratory’s education and research is to explore the origin of the solar system and the evolution/changes occurring on the Earth and other planets by physically analyzing various phenomena relating to the Earth and the other planets constituting the solar system. Three key themes of our research are: 1) to explore the mechanism responsible for the formation and variation of the solar system and the environments of the Earth/planets from a comparative planetology perspective, involving the theory of solar system formation, and 2) to explore the crustal movements, earthquakes and volcanic activities associated with the solid Earth, and the dynamics of the Earth’s interior, by utilizing a modeling approach to solid-Earth cycles. 3) to explore the geophysical phenomena from the viewpoint of the fundamental physics of granular matter and soft matter.

This course offers research and training in areas of adaptive evolution and ecosystem functions through fieldwork, aiming to acquire an ability to recognize and resolve environmental issues.
• The group attempts to uncover wildlife behaviors with the use of bio-logging. The group also combines information attached to individual subjects and their environment in order to uncover the true nature of observed behaviors.
• The group attempts to uncover the evolution of life and ecosystems in the Archaean era.The group has begun a full study on material cycles of river ecosystems.

Earth and Planetary Dynamics
(Earthquake and Volcano Research Center)

The Japanese islands are located in a subduction zone. Seismology, volcanology and the massive interpolate earthquakes experienced in this area represent the dynamic phenomena of the Earth’s interior. This laboratory is engaged in the analysis and prediction of crustal activities such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, based on the latest observational and theoretical studies. Education for students is provided by the staff members of the Research Center for Seismology, Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation, enabling students to conduct research based on the abundant data obtained using the latest observation facilities and equipment. This laboratory also offers many opportunities for overseas research trips and field observation.

Chronology and Natural History
(Museum/ Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, DCR)*

The Earth today is a mirror that reflects both the results of various events that the Earth has experienced since its creation, and the various possibilities for the future. Our research group explores the Earth’s 4.6 billion-year history and various issues related to its future. We engage in various forms of chronological analysis, ranging from the targeting of natural samples such as rocks and fossils, through to specific items related to human activities, such as archeological materials and cultural assets, as well as the collection, examination, classification and storage of various natural history samples including rocks/minerals, animals and plants. Our research and education is based on field work.

Hydrospheric-Atmospheric Sciences Course

Global Environmental Variations
It is important for the survival of human beings that we understand how the global environment has already changed in the past, and that we learn to predict how it will be affected by human activities in the future. The aim of our research and education program is to elucidate past events through the analysis of samples obtained from glaciers and growth rings of trees, and understand the present situation through the measurement and analysis of greenhouse gases, aerosol and air pollutants on various scales, ranging from the city level through to that encompassing the entire Earth. Our research also aims to predict future events based on a better understanding of environmental variation mechanisms and human activities.

Climate Science
Global warming associated with recent increases in greenhouse gases is one of the most serious global environmental problems that we face today. To predict future trends in global warming and environmental variations, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms responsible for the maintenance and variation of climate. The aim of this laboratory’s basic and applied research/education is to understand the various physical and chemical processes related to climate/global environmental changes, as well as to understand and predict further changes in atmospheric composition, involving greenhouse gases, ozone and aerosols, and cryosphere variations.

Global Geochemistry
Biochemical cycles on various time/space scales play an important role in the maintenance and variation of the Earth’s surface environment. Aiming to acquire a comprehensive understanding of our Earth, this research group explores the mechanisms and dynamics of biochemical cycles in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere through field research, laboratory experiments and numerical analyses.
Our research themes include:
• understanding the biochemical cycles in oceans and lakes,
• understanding the global-scale carbon cycle,
• understanding interactions between life and the dynamics of Earth systems, and
• reproduction of the paleoenvironment and paleoclimate, and understanding its mechanisms

Global Water Cycle
(Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research)*

Consisting of 5 laboratories (Meteorology, Cloud and precipitation sciences, Atmospheric chemistry, Hydroclimatology, and Oceanography), we investigate processes (such as typhoon, precipitation system, monsoon, and ecosystem) associated with water circulation in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere to improve the understanding of climate variations and environmental problems.

Classes with* are provided by cooperating institutions.