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.

Learn More


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.

One of the biggest unknowns is its transformation under the extreme pressures and temperatures found in the interiors of giant planets, where it is squeezed until it becomes liquid metal, capable of conducting electricity. New work published in Physical Review Letters by the Geohysical Laboratory’s Alexander Goncharov and University of Edinburgh’s Stewart McWilliams measures the conditions under which hydrogen undergoes this transition in the lab and finds an intermediate state between gas and metal, which they’re calling “dark hydrogen.”


Washington, D.C.—Scientists have looked for different ways to force hydrogen into a metallic state for decades.

High Pressure

Washington, DC— Earth's magnetic field shields us from deadly cosmic radiation, and without it, life as we know it could not exist here. The motion of liquid iron in the planet’s outer core, a phenomenon called a “geodynamo,” generates the field.


Congratulations to Geophysical Laboratory/DTM Librarian, Shaun Hardy, who was just selected to receive the 2016 Mary B. Ansari Distinguished Service Award of the Geoscience Information Society!

Planetary Science

Congratulations to the Geophsyical Laboratory's own Stephen Elardo on receiving NASA's Early Career Fellowship!

Upcoming Events

Sep 12, 2016
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with our own Douglas Rumble.  He will present, "New Discoveries in multiple doubly-substituted O2 and CH4: equilibrium geothermometry vs. fingerprints of kinetic isotope effects.”

Event Host: George Cody