Earth Sciences

Departmental News

Pete Helton (1933-2021) helped start the Department of Earth Sciences at TTU and served as Chairman of the Department from 1967 to 1993.
Earth Sciences students, Winners of Tennessee's GeoConclave 2022 at Harrison Bay State Park
Dr. Wayne Leimer is retiring this summer after 50 years of dedicated service to TTU Earth Sciences. Here is a picture of Wayne in the field holding "graduation" in 1982 for geology majors who did not want to miss a field trip!
Kittrell Hall remodeled, August 2019
Lauren Michel (Tennessee Tech University) discusses with Tom Lehmann (Senckenberg Institute) strategies for excavating a Rusinga Island fossil site given its complex stratigraphy.
Earth Sciences picnic, April 2021

What is Geoscience?

Geoscience is the study of the composition, structure and processes of the Earth. It includes studying minerals, rocks, fossils, soils, surface and groundwater, and the atmosphere through field work, laboratory analysis, computer modeling and geospatial analysis.

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The Department of Earth Sciences offers a BS degree in geosciences in four concentrations (geology, environmental geology, geographic information systems (GIS), and geography). The department consists of seven full-time faculty and two adjunct faculty with specializations in mineralogy/petrology, structural geology and tectonics, field geology, climate science, sedimentation/stratigraphy, planetary geoscience, GIS/remote sensing, geomorphology, meteorology, and hydrogeology. The faculty is student-oriented and works closely with geoscience majors.

The curriculum emphasizes both theoretical and applied geology. Graduates of our program are well prepared to enter graduate school or to seek career employment in the geosciences. The department offers modern laboratory equipment and instructional aids to assist in the study of the geosciences.

Our program includes numerous field experiences and an extended field excursion most spring semesters. Students gain field and research experience working with faculty as part of a senior thesis. Faculty-student research projects lead to presentations at professional meetings and publications in professional journals.


The Earth Sciences Department is located in Kittrell Hall on Tennessee Tech's campus in Cookeville, TN. Cookeville is a moderately sized city with a population of about 35,000 located approximately 70 miles east of Nashville along I-40.

Geologic Setting

Tennessee Tech is located on the Highland Rim of middle Tennessee. This is an area of classic stratigraphy and paleontology, active mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and karst features (caves and sinks).  Just a few miles from Tech is an exotic geologic feature, the Flynn Creek impact structure.  Also, Tech is just a half-day drive from the complex geology of the Appalachian Mountains and the stratigraphy of the Mississippi Embayment.

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