Earth Exploration

Understanding our planet & responsibly developing its resources

Earth Exploration: Focus Areas

Earth is more than our home — its natural resources are critical to every aspect of human life. Mines researchers are building our understanding of the earth’s structure, natural processes, and changing environments. We are using our knowledge to better predict and mitigate natural hazards, understand environmental cycles, address climate change, locate new reserves of critical resources, and develop methods of accessing these natural resources in a way that minimizes our impact on the planet. Explore our Earth research by focus area:

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Exploring the Subsurface through Modeling & Mapping

Developing techniques to characterize and explore the earth’s subsurface.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Advanced Resource Extraction, Production, & Processing

Utilizing Mines’ expertise across petroleum and mining to find and access new resources in a sustainable way.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Earth & Planetary Processes

Building our understanding of Earth’s evolving systems and processes, and leveraging that knowledge to benefit society.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Managing Earth's Water Resources

Understanding water resources and cycles to build sustainable use practices.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Engineering Solutions for a Safer Planet

Applying Earth science principles to support the built environment and design safer structures.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Underground Infrastructure Development

Analyzing, designing, building, and monitoring underground infrastructure.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Technology Critical Materials & Supply Chains

Developing strategies to ensure access and manage supply of technology- and energy-critical minerals and metals.

The layer of asphalt road with soil and rock.

Natural Resource Geopolitics & Economics

Studying the geopolitical and economic factors that shape natural resource development and management.

Dr. Shiling Pei

Using wood, a sustainable construction alternative, to build a 10-story building and test its ability to withstand seismic events: “To observe a full-scale tall building with a new lateral system that we believe will be resilient and even damage-free under large earthquakes – that is invaluable, not only for the science community but also the engineering community around the globe. This will add a more sustainable building option for seismically active regions.”

-Dr Shiling Pei,
Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Uniquely Mines: Explore our distinctive opportunities, expertise, & facilities

Edgar Experimental Mine & Underground Classroom

The Edgar mine produced high-grade silver, gold, lead, and copper in the 1870s. Today, as an underground laboratory for future engineers, it produces valuable experience for those who are being trained to find, develop, and process the world’s natural resources.

Earth Exploration: Research Collaborations

Mines embraces a culture of collaboration and has a history of building strategic partnerships across industry, academia, government, and national labs. Sharing capabilities and expertise enables us to accelerate and broaden our impact as we work together to engineer innovative solutions. Discover our Earth collaborations: