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About Our Department

Scope of departmental expertise & teaching

The education and research programs in our department aim to explore the various disciplines associated with the Earth's environment, including the prevention against geologic hazards, material circulation, palaeontology and natural resources.

Our research fields are divided into the following five subjects:
(1) Crustal material science which includes the nature and genetic processes of rock materials from the Earth's crust and mantle.
(2) Earth surface science which includes the evolution and interaction of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.
(3) Environmental science which includes the circulation of near surface material and interactions between life and the Earth.
(4) Earth and Planetary science which includes the formation and evolution of the solar system and the Earth by means of physico-chemical methods.
(5) Disaster science which includes the geologic hazards that affect human life such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.

We are joining in the activities of IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) and IGBP (International Geosphere-Biosphere Program), and overseas projects of scientific surveys, and doing joint research with many invited scientists from foreign countries.

Department history

The roots of our present department began as a Geology Course in the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, when the new Japanese university system started in 1949. At that time, the department had only four teaching staff. Then, in 1967, the course (now containing 5 staff ) was separated into the Department of Geology in the Faculty of Science (3 staff) and the Department of Geology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts (2 staff).

Following the world-wide revolution of earth sciences in the 1970's, the department in the Faculty of Science changed its name to the Department of Earth Sciences in 1978, which at that time included four main disciplines; petrology and mineralogy, paleontology, geochemistry, geophysics. The aim of the new department was to study from a global point of view. Between 1978-1980 the department was expanded, with the addition of nine new staff; four of them were called back from various institutes and universities in America and Europe, whilst the other five were from the Geological Survey of Japan (1 staff) and domestic universities (4 staff).

In recent years, the department has been concerned with natural hazards and environmental disruptions such as the large earthquake in Kobe, the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Unzen and Mt. Usu, global warming and acid rain. Our university was asked to contribute to, and cooperate with, the local community by addressing environmental problems. Therefore, in 1995 the Department of Earth Sciences changed its name to the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and combined with the Department of Geology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts. The theme of this new department was "Global relationships between humans and the Earth". Our Masters course began in 1982, and in 1998 we combined with the Faculty of Engineering to make a new Doctors Course.

From April 1st in 2017, Faculty of Science of Yamagata University changed the academic structure. The Faculty of Science contains a Department of Science with six educational course curriculums. Former staffs of Earth and Environmental Sciences are undertaking the education for Earth Science course curriculum. Similarly, Graduate School of Science and Engineering (Science) changed the academic structre in 2017.


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