Areas of Research
The department's researchers carry out research on the composition and structure of the Earth, including the solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and our place in the Solar System with the other planets. Our special program of study focuses on both theoretical knowledge as well as practical tools in geophysics – a field that is in high demand and not taught at any other academic institution in Israel. The program focuses on the physical characteristics and observations of processes that occur on the surface and within the Earth. There is a large focus on studying natural resources, especially oil, gas and water.
Researchers working in these fields are developing methods to study the Earth's structure by field work, seismic waves, magnetic and gravity fields, heat flow from within the Earth, and mathematical and physical models in order to understand the processes and forces that drive plate tectonics, the creation of the oceans, formation of mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes. These research tools also can be used to solve applied problems like building foundations, location of natural resources, early warnings for earthquakes, and environmental conservation.
Some of the researchers in the department are studying the dynamic physical and chemical processes that occur in the envelope of air surrounding the Earth – the atmosphere. In their research they use a variety of methods and sensors to collect data on the surface, from planes and balloons in the air, and from satellites in space. Super computers are used to build and run complex models to understand and forecast the weather and climate. In order to understand how Earth works, it is also important to understand our neighbors: the planets, moons, comets, asteroids, the interplanetary medium, and of course our Sun. The connection between Space and Earth occurs via the magnetosphere and ionosphere of Earth, where there are important interactions with space craft and satellites. In the department we study our Sun and planets were formed, while searching for new extra-solar planets outside our Solar System.
The studies in our department deal with the most burning problems related to the existence of life on our planet, like global warming, natural hazards, air pollution, acid rain, the ozone hole, climate change, clouds and rain, heat waves, severe weather, and energy resources.
Department Faculty established a number of centers that are leaders in Israel: