Lamont-Doherty is a unique research enterprise, bringing together courageous, entrepreneurial thinkers dedicated to bold exploration and discoveries that illuminate our understanding of Earth’s processes and the myriad ways our planet is changing as our climate warms.

Since its founding in 1949, Lamont has been a leader in the Earth sciences, and is now the scientific research heart of the Columbia Climate School founded in 2020. We are a dynamic community of 500 scientists, students, and staff, with nearly 300 PhD-level researchers, and 80-90 graduate students involved in research. 

Our scientists study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean, providing a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humanity.

Research Themes

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Research Themes

Research Divisions

Stone Tools Collected at Gobero Archaeological Site in Niger - Credit: Kevin Uno
Biology & Paleo Environment

Biology & Paleo Environment is a diverse group of oceanographers, geologists, geochemists, biologists, and environmental scientists who use biology to uncover clues about Earth’s past and study how the modern environment affects biology through its oceans, atmosphere, and land.

Blue Water Diving off Puerto Rico to Collect Planktic Foraminifera - Credit: Bärbel Hönisch

Using advanced chemical and isotope analyses of air, water, biological remains, rocks, and meteorites, Geochemistry researchers seek to understand Earth’s environments by studying its history and the past and present processes that have governed these environments.

ROSETTA IcePod over Sea Ice - Credit: Caitlin Locke
Marine & Polar Geophysics

Marine & Polar Geophysics scientists are explorers at heart, motivated by curiosity to understand some of the most remote and forbidding parts of our planet, from the active margins beneath the oceans to the polar ice sheets.

Cascadia Sunrise from Marcus G. Langseth during Jun 2021 Cascadia Expedition. Credit: Cody Bahlau
Marine/Large Programs

From expeditions aboard the R/V Marcus G. Langseth to seafloor mapping to ship-based experiences for students and more, Marine/Large Programs marine geoscientists and experts are seafaring explorers of Earth's history and environment.

Zebra Grazing in Kenya's Nairobi National Park with Nairobi Skyline in Distance - Credit: Daniel Westervelt
Ocean & Climate Physics

Researchers in Ocean & Climate Physics study Earth's climate dynamics from sea ice to the oceans to the atmosphere in order to document change, build an understanding of controlling forces, and develop cutting-edge computer models for crucial predictions.

Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool in Western Australia's Shark Bay - Credit: Kottie Christie-Blick
Seismology, Geology & Tectonophysics

Seismology, Geology & Tectonophysic scientists are at the forefront of seismology, solid earth dynamics, rock mechanics, and sedimentary geology, making important contributions to the study of earthquakes, Earth’s structure, and  motions and deformation of tectonic plates.

Research News

2,500 years ago, an earthquake changed the course of the mighty Ganges River, a new study shows. The region remains vulnerable to a similar event now.

Why are extreme weather events worsening? How is climate change contributing to this development? And what measures are being taken to adapt to this new reality? 

Where tectonic plates collide off the coasts of the western United States and Canada, giant earthquakes and tsunamis occur. The last one was 324 years ago. When will be the next?

Lamont researchers are in the field studying the dynamics of the planet on every continent and every ocean. Journalists may join and cover expeditions when possible. Learn more about this essential fieldwork.