Middlebury College Earth and Climate Sciences students experience the excitement of the geological and environmental sciences in interesting, dynamic, and fun settings in the Green Mountains and Adirondacks, on Lake Champlain, and beyond.

USGS Climate Adaptation Scientists Of Tomorrow Program

Applications Open Fall 2023

Apply Now

From studying soil evolution in Costa Rica to using mathematical models to understand how changing glaciers affect drought buffering in mountains, our faculty actively engage students in the exploration of the Earth system.

We are committed to scientific and academic excellence in an inclusive and evolving environment.

Students working in class.


Upcoming ECSC events, lectures, and more

Hillcrest 103

ECSC Alumni Panel

Earth & Climate Sciences Alumni Panel Discussion

McCardell Bicentennial Hall

MBH 417

Europa Clipper
Ocean World Science with Europa Clipper

Dr. Heather M. Meyer

Planetary Geologist

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory



Water in the Solar System is not just limited to Earth. Jupiter’s second largest moon Europa shows strong evidence for an ocean beneath its icy crust. It is estimated that Europa’s ocean and icy crust contain more than twice the volume of water of Earth’s oceans. It is thought that, like Earth, Europa has the ingredients that may allow life to emerge: liquid water, bioessential elements, chemical energy, and a stable environment through time. As such, NASA is currently building its largest planetary spacecraft ever to orbit Jupiter and repeatedly fly by Europa to assess its habitability. Come learn about ocean world geology, habitability, and how we study these worlds with spacecraft!
  • Heather Meyer

    Planetary Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Europa Clipper Mission

MBH 417

Big Data and Machine Learning: How can they advance river science?
  • Kristen Underwood

    Research Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Vermont

Big Data and Machine Learning: How can they advance river science?

MBH 417

Testing the Recipe for Continental Crust Using Petrology, Field Geology, and Geochemistry of Mafic Plutons
Testing the Recipe for Continental Crust Using Petrology, Field Geology, and Geochemistry of Mafic Plutons
39 Number of Majors
$823905 Grant Funding
53 Published Students (2012–present)

About the Department

Teaching is our passion and research is an integral part of that teaching. Our research interests include ocean studies, lake studies, soil studies, structural geology, metamorphic and igneous petrology, geochemistry, and geomorphology. All of our research has field and lab components.

Since Vermont is a classic area for the study of mountain system evolution, one general theme of the program is to relate geological processes to the origin and evolution of global tectonic patterns, integrating data from the world’s oceans and continental areas.

Alum Lisa Luna in the field.

Alumni Highlights

Lisa Luna ’13, pictured, went on to work at NewClimate Institute in Berlin, Germany, as a climate policy analyst focused on policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Luna also earned her MSc in geoscience from the University of Potsdam in Germany. She returned in fall 2021 to join us as a visiting professor.

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