Earth Surface Processes
The focus of the Earth Surface Processes group is on earth and environmental processes. Graduate research areas include climatology, hydrology and surficial geoscience including geoarchaeology, geophysics, glacial sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy. Emphasis is placed on understanding the impacts of human activities on the physical environment, including changes in climate, land-use and surface and groundwater quality. Environmental interactions are also studied through interdisciplinary analysis of the archaeological record and through paleoenvironmental reconstruction of past climates and landscapes.
Environment & Health
The relationship of the environment to health is clearly one of the defining issues of the coming decades. McMaster has responded to the need for more research and trained graduates in the field by adopting it as one of the University's Strategic Areas, and by establishing the McMaster Institute for Healthier Environments. Faculty and graduate students from the School have played the major role in these developments and graduates from the School now occupy both academic and professional positions in Canada and other countries.
This research group is primarily interested in the application of stable and radiogenic isotopes in conjunction with organic and inorganic geochemical approaches to understand bio- and geo-chemical processes, geochronology and physico-chemical records. Researchers in this group investigate the entire geologic record. The understanding of geochemical processes in the earth and environmental sciences is obtained through the use of state-of-the-art analytical equipment for measuring elements and isotopic abundances from a wide range of materials.
This research group uses state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to generate new knowledge about the occurrence, distribution, and quality of water in the environment. The role of water as an essential component of the environment and key driver of climate system, and the impact of human activities on the quality and quantity of water are also studied. That research has strong field, laboratory, and modelling components. Together with our graduate and senior undergraduate students we conduct world-class research on Climate Change, Soil water, Ecohydrology, Wetlands, Contaminant Hydrogeology, Arctic and Cold Regions Hydrology, Vadose Zone Hydrology, Hydroclimatology, and Hydrologic Models including physical, statistical and Neural Network Models.
Social geography focuses on the relationship between social life and geographical patterns of change at various scales. At McMaster we are interested in both rural and urban settlements, present and past, and continue to do research in North America and the developing world. We are using a variety of theoretical perspectives including feminism, political economy, and postcolonialism, and diverse methodological tools, in order to understand topics that include disability, urban quality of life, health and health care, formal and informal caregiving, gender and legal issues, housing, suburban development, and colonial urbanism. Social geographers with graduate degrees from McMaster obtain jobs in a range of fields including housing, public health, planning, and education. Many have gone on to academic careers in leading departments of Geography in Canada and around the world.
Spatial Analysis has a long tradition in Geography at McMaster University. Our focus is on understanding the nature and outcome of human and physical processes that take place over space with the use of quantitative methods, such as spatial statistics, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Recent focus of the Spatial Analysis group has been in applications of transportation geography, urban land use, urban and regional air pollution, and the impact of environmental pollution on human health. Faculty members from the group participate in multi-disciplinary projects, both within and outside the School of Geography & Earth Sciences. Graduates with Spatial Analysis training pursue academic careers or find employment in the public and private sectors.