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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High Pressure

Washington, DC— Did you know that there are at least 17 crystalline forms of ice, many of them formed under extreme pressures, such as those found in the interiors of frozen planets? New work from a team led by Carnegie’s Timothy Strobel has identified the structure of a new type of ice crystal that resembles the mineral quartz and is stuffed with over five weight percent of energy-rich hydrogen molecules, which is a long-standing Department of Energy goal for hydrogen storage.  

The results, published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could have implications for the mineralogy of icy planetary bodies as well as for energy storage technology.

High Pressure

Washington, DC— New work from a team led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Alexander Goncharov has created a new extremely incompressible carbon nitride compound. They say it could be the prototype for a whole new family of superhard materials, due to the unexpected ratio of carbon and nitrogen atoms. Their work is published in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

High Pressure

Washington, DC— Hydrogen is the most-abundant element in the universe. It’s also the simplest—sporting only a single electron in each atom. But that simplicity is deceptive, because there is still so much we have to learn about hydrogen.


Washington, DC—Scientists have looked for different ways to force hydrogen into a metallic state for decades. A metallic state of hydrogen is a holy grail for materials science because it could be used for superconductors. For the first time, researchers, including GL's Viktor Struzhkin, have experimentally produced a new class of materials blending hydrogen with sodium that could alter the superconductivity landscape and could be used for hydrogen-fuel cell storage.


The Geophysical Laboratory's Anat Shahar and Bob Hazen received the top two awards from the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) during the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting on 27 September in Denver, CO.  Hazen and Shahar gave outstanding award lectures and join the likes of many GL alumni in each category.  Shahar received the MSA Award and Hazen received the MSA Roebling Medal. Congratulations to both on awards well deserved!

Upcoming Events

Oct 31, 2016
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with Carl Agee from the University of New Mexico.  He will present, "NWA 7034 aka Black Beauty: Unique Water-rich Meteorite from Ancient Mars."

Nov 15, 2016
6:30 PM

Bob Hazen, staff scientsist at the Geophysical Laboratory, continues our Neighborhood Lecture Series with the second of four lectures. The distribution of minerals on Earth, Mars, and other worlds mimics social networks, as commonly applied to such varied topics as Facebook interactions, the spread of disease, and terrorism networks.

Event Host: Geophysical Laboratory