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Harvard University

The World Under Our Feet

Harvard’s researchers are exploring Earth’s past, predicting its future, and working to understand the hidden mysteries of our home.

The bedrock of Earth science

Explore how the slow, powerful forces within the Earth continue to create and alter the places we call home.


How are mountains made?
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Tectonic plates

Researchers studying when tectonic plates began to shift found that it began much earlier than previously thought, launching the creation of continents, oceans, and other landforms.

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In real time

Earth continues to shift and change, which means we must develop creative solutions for the complex problems that emerge.

Pieces of ice float near a large glacier

The melting of polar ice is shifting Earth itself

As glacial ice from Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic Islands melts, Earth’s crust warps, an impact that can be measured thousands of miles away.

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A 2022 volcano eruption altered the chemistry of the stratosphere, reducing ozone levels

A volcano erupts
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Catastrophic floods are exposing the cracks in the flood insurance market

A man carries a package of bottled water through flood waters
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Experts are rethinking design and infrastructure in the wake of major earthquakes

A decimated neighborhood in Turkey after an earthquake

A deadly tsunami in Japan forced people to think more critically about unexpected natural disasters

Funnels at a nuclear power plant
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Better understanding our home

Harvard experts are using everything from science to religion to gain a deeper awareness of the world around us.

New research corrects decades of sea surface temperature data, solving a long-standing mystery about global climate change.

Researchers created an algorithm that can separate small disturbances from seismic noise.

A team of researchers found that hydraulic fractures play a major role in the generation of tectonic tremors.

The philosophy centers on the idea that we are part of and utterly dependent on the living Earth.

Spinning back the globe

Exploring the events and changes in Earth’s past may help us understand what we can except in the future.