About the Geophysical Laboratory

The Geophysical Laboratory was established in 1905 to investigate the processes that control the composition and structure of the Earth as it was known at the time, including developing the underlying physics and chemistry and creating the experimental tools required for the task. Over a century later, this core mission has expanded to include the physics, chemistry, and biology of the Earth over the entire range of conditions our planet has experienced since its formation, as well as parallel studies of other planets of this and other solar systems from their surfaces to their cores.

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Matter at Extreme States

The paradox of the missing xenon might sound like the title of the latest airport thriller, but it’s actually a problem that’s stumped geophysicists for decades. New work from an international team including the Geophysical Laboratory’s Alexander Goncharov and Hanyu Liu, and GL alumni Elissaios Stavrou and Sergey Lobanov, is chasing down the solution to this longstanding puzzle.

Matter at Extreme States

New work from the Geophysical Laboratory's high-pressure geophysicists Chuanlong Lin, Jesse Smith, Stanislav Sinogeikin, and Guoyin Shen found evidence of the long-theorized, difficult-to-see low-density liquid phase of water.

High Pressure

Using submicron synchrotron x-ray beam, a group of scientists led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Ho-kwang “Dave” Mao, have studied the loading behavior of the DAC up to 400 GPa. In situ high-pressure synchrotron X-ray diffraction and absorption experiments have been done to investigate the behavior of the DAC. This study provides a detailed picture of pressure loading and distribution, gasket thickness variation, and diamond anvil deformation up to 400 GPa.

High Pressure

Washington, DC— Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth’s core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth’s history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth’s atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team published in National Science Review.


A team of experimental and computational scientists led by the Geophysical Laboratory’s Tim Strobel and Venkata Bhadram have synthesized a long sought-after form of titanium nitride, Ti3N4, which has promising mechanical and optoelectronic properties.

Upcoming Events

Matter at Extreme States
Mar 19, 2018
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with GL's own Tim Strobel. He will present, "Braking Rotors at the Nanoscale: How Diatomic Molecules Spin within Quantum Cages."

Event Host: George Cody
Mar 22, 2018
6:30 PM

Our Broad Branch Road Spring Neighborhood Lecture Series kicks-off with DTM's Peter van Keken.  Van Keken will present, "When Earth Attacks: Causes and Consequences of a Tectonic Planet."

Event Host: Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Mar 26, 2018
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with Yana Bromberg of Rutgers. She will present, "Timing evolution of biological redox via structural similarity network analysis."

Event Host: Robert Hazen