Soil Geomorphology. I am a soil geomorphologist. What is that? Well, soil geomorphology consists of a relatively small community of geologists who study soils in the context of landscapes, geology and surface processes. We use soils to determine the age of different geologic deposits. Good descriptions and understanding of soil morphology are also critical to the correct interpretation of deposit ages and “soil production” rates that are derived from cosmogenic radionuclides. We use soils to evaluate the erosion history or stability of a hillslope. We examine how soils affect hydrologic propoerties of the sediment or rock in which they form. We use soils to determine the last time that a fault trace ruptured.
Physical Weathering. Of late, I have developed a keen interest and strong research program in physical weathering processes. In particular, I have been exploring how subcritical crack growth processes play a role in mechanical weathering. Subcritical crack growth occurs as very low stresses and has been recognized as an important contributor to cracking by engineers and geophysicists. Geomorphologists have largely ignored the potential role that these processes play in weathering. Through field data collection, modeling and instrumentation, I hope to shed light on this important new paradigm for mechanical weathering on Earth and other planets.
I am a geologist, a geomorphologist as well as a soil scientist. I use the tools and methods of all of these disciplines to explore the past and modern processes affecting the surface of the Earth.
Recent and Active Research Topics
The influence of rock fracture mechanics on CRN-Derived Erosion Rates for bedrock outcrops in Shenandoah National Park.
Hillslope soils and processes, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Soil Chronosequences, terraces and alluvial fans of the piedmont of the Carolinas
Exploring the origins and evolution of exfoliation domes. Including ongoing cracking in Twain Harte, CA.
|Prospective Students: My graduate and undergraduate students primarily execute field-based research that involves one or more of the following basic components: field mapping of Quaternary deposits and landforms, field soil and/or mechanical weathering analysis, lab soil and/or weathering analysis, GIS analysis of topography. Data collected serve to answer questions related to mechanical weathering processes, active tectonics, landscape evolution, Quaternary paleoclimate or ecology. Please call or email for more information. I would love to talk to you about my active research projects or about your own research interests.|