Geoscience Research

Bakersfield is the center of the southern San Joaquin Valley, the fourth-largest oil-producing area in the United States and one of the most productive and heavily groundwater- dependent agricultural regions in the world.  Diverse geological environments including the Sierra Nevada, the Pacific Coast, San Andreas Fault, Mojave Desert, and the Basin and Range province are nearby.  Proximity of the campus to the petroleum industry, easy access to diverse geological environments, the broad range of faculty research interests, the excellent student/faculty ratio, and a range of modern research facilities permit the student to select from a broad spectrum of research topics.   Abundant opportunities exist for cooperation with local petroleum and environmental companies and regulatory agencies.  Due to excellent access to these local employers, students are highly successful in obtaining a diverse range of professional positions. 

As part of their instructional mission, our faculty members are engaged in a wide range of student-involved research. To support this research, they publish frequently in respected peer-reviewed geology journals and successfully solicit funding from highly competitive sources such as the National Science Foundation as well as from local industry and government agencies. Their success rate in procuring funding from competitive sources is approximately 40% which is twice that achieved by faculty at the typical research university. Our faculty is even more successful at competing for funding within the university.

Specific areas of recent research include hydrogeology, aqueous geochemistry, petroleum geology, sedimentary petrology, paleoclimate studies, environmental geophysics, and seismology.  Research is supported by local industry and regulatory agencies as well as the more traditional academic granting agencies.  Faculty and student research is commonly published in journals of the highest quality including GSA Bulletin, Geology, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, Environmental Science & Technology, Applied Geochemistry, Geophysical Research Letters, AAPG Bulletin, Journal of Environmental Quality, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Quaternary Research, and Palaeolimnology.  Research funding in recent years has come from the National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund, Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, Center for Field Research, Keck Consortium, as well as private industry and local government bodies.

Student Research, Internship and Scholarship Opportunities