Earth Sciences Department

A woman writes in a notepad in a field - behind her is a steaming volcano

Volcanologist Dr Chiara Petrone takes field notes in the shadow of the Popocatépetl volcano, central Mexico

Our researchers are tackling challenges in Earth science, from the formation of the solar system and the evolution of life, through deep time to the characterisation of new mineral species.

The Museum's vast collections of meteorites, rocks, minerals and fossils support our staff's expertise in natural resources, planetary geology and the evolution of life on Earth.

Vertebrate and anthropology palaeobiology


Studying the growth and development of early humans and modern people worldwide. 

Fossil vertebrates

Investigating the role of vertebrate evolution in shaping the history of life on Earth. 

Quaternary mammals research

Tackling questions about mammals of the past.

Invertebrate and plant palaeobiology

Fossil plants

Using our palaeobotany collections to unravel the origins and evolution of plants over the last 470 million years.


Reconstructing past environments and locating hydrocarbon reserves using our huge microfossil collection. 

Fossil invertebrates

Using our fossil invertebrate collections to investigate the quality of the geological record.

Mineral and planetary sciences

Volcanology and petrology research

Investigating active volcanoes and other volcanic areas.

Extraterrestrial materials research

Exploring the origins and evolution of the Sun, planets, the Moon, asteroids and comets.  

Mineral Sciences

The mineral sciences group manages one of the world's most significant mineral collections and researches the crystal chemistry and physical properties of natural inorganic structures.


Economic and environmental Earth sciences

Researching the formation, discovery and sustainability of Earth's natural resources. 

Core labs and consulting

Our research labs are available for complex analyses of mineralogical and palaeontological samples, including ancient DNA.

The life of a Museum scientist

Read the latest posts from our Earth scientists in the field and at the Museum.


Browse our world-class collections of meteorites, fossils, rocks and minerals.