California Institute Of Technology

Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Planetary Science


Dr. Kai Zinn, Division of Biology 216-76

Pasadena, CA 91126

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Planetary Science

Format: Campus

Program Description:

Research in this division at Caltech ranges from the earth's core, mantle, and crust, to the outposts of thesolar system. Institute geophysicists have been leaders for over 50 years in earthquake studies, and havedeveloped a computerized network of 250 seismograph stations. Using seismic tomography, they scan theearth's interior and study mantle convection. Other faculty members have determined the first reliable valuesof the age of the earth, moon, and meteorites; worked out the geological history of western North America;deciphered the record of the earth's climate from studies of tree rings and glaciers; perfected isotopic tracersand high-pressure laboratory techniques that indicate how magmas form on the earth and moon; showed thatsurface waters penetrate deep into the crust and extensively interact with magma bodies; and, usingtheoretical studies and data from spacecraft missions, have been greatly responsible for our presentunderstanding of the origin of planetary surfaces and atmospheres, satellites, rings, comets, asteroids, andthe interplanetary plasma.

Facts & Figures

Classification: Doctoral/Research University—Extensive

Locale: Midsize City

Size & Settings: 1,000-2,999

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