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photo of Dr. Glenn Thackray

Glenn Thackray, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 228

(208) 282-3871


  • Quaternary Geology
  • Geomorphology
  • Environment Geology
  • Tectonic Geomorphology
Research Interests

My research interests span a broad range of surficial geologic realms. My principal background and research focus lies in the application of Quaternary geology and geomorphology to paleoclimatic and active tectonic investigations. I am currently pursuing projects in these realms in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and New Zealand.

I also apply my background in surficial geology to hydrogeology. I am involved in current projects in eastern Idaho, exploring the impacts of bedrock and unconsolidated sediments on groundwater flow and groundwater quality, and have worked extensively on public groundwater protection efforts.

photo of Dr. Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Field Camp Director

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 215B

(208) 282-5024



  • Field geology and mapping
  • Science education of pedagogy
  • Structural geology and Tectonics
  • Geothermal geology
  • Thermochronology
Research Interests

I have two main areas of research interest. 1) The structural evolution of continental crust, both extensional and contractional, and the orogenic models that predict their behavior. 2) The structural controls of hydrothermal fluids, mainly in amagmatic settings within the Basin and Range of the Western U.S. My main approach is detailed geologic mapping coupled with construction of balanced and restored cross-sections, apatite and zircon thermochronology, geochronology, and peak temperature data using RSCM (Raman spectroscopy on carbonaceous material).

Photo not available

H. Carrie Bottenberg, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Director of Geotechnologies

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 225

(208) 282-3648


  • Principles of GIS
  • Advanced GIS
  • Remote Sensing
  • GPS Applications in Research
  • Physical Geology
Research Interests

My research interests involve the disciplines of geology, remote sensing and GIS. I use InSAR techniques to study the movement of the Earth's crust and to detect volcanic inflation and deflation. I model tectonic plate motion in 3D visualization software to understand rifting environments. Specifically, I have worked in the Afar, Ethiopia (see the photo above) to study the kinematics of the African, Arabian and Somali plates. I also have a research interest in environmental geochemistry and the effects of heavy metals in streams. Currently, I have an interest in exploring past volcanic activity on the Snake River Plain in Idaho using remote sensing and field based studies.

Headshot of Dr. Benjamin Crosby Professor of Geosciences and Department Chair

Benjamin Crosby, Ph.D.


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 235

(208) 282-3565



  • Surface Processes
  • Fluvial and Hillslope Geomorphology
  • Climate Change Impacts on Landscapes
  • Arctic Landscape Evolution
  • Digital Topographic Analysis
Research Interests

I am fascinated by the physical and biological processes through which the Earth's surface responds to climatic, tectonic and anthropogenic disturbance. I enjoy exploring the response time and morphology of landscape adjustment (rivers, hillslopes, coastlines and the species that inhabit them) and the implications of this adjustment over both human and geologic timescales.

photo of Dr. Donna Delparte

Donna M. Delparte, Ph.D.


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 201

(208) 282-4419



Research Interests

I have an extensive background in the applications of GIS and remote sensing to the fields of geosciences, resource management and conservation/environmental planning. My current research focus relates to visualization, 3D modeling and analysis. I'm using 3D platforms to visualize research work with photogrammetry, Structure from Motion (SfM), LiDAR and point-cloud generation from gaming devices. Specific research applications relate to avalanche flow modeling and hazard mapping, terrain models, land cover change, precision agriculture and image analysis. My professional experience also extends to government and industry sectors.

Headshot of Dr. Bruce Finney Professor of Paleoecology, Climatic Change, Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry

Bruce Finney, Ph.D.

Professor, Director Stable Isotope Laboratory

Office: Gale Life Sciences Bldg, Rm 236 & Physical Sciences Bldg, Rm 202A

(208) 282-4318



Biological Sciences & Geosciences (Joint Appointment)

  • Climate Change
  • Analyzing Lake & Ocean Sediments

Research Interests

Bruce Finney is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, with a joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences. Much of his research focuses on using lake and ocean sediment-based data to study past and future climate changes and its effects on wildlife, humans and fish. He is particularly well known for his research on the effects of climate change on Pacific salmon populations. More than 100 of Finney's publications have been featured in peer-reviewed journals, 40 of which have been published since his arrival at ISU in 2007. His publications have been cited more than 5,000 times in the peer-reviewed literature.

Sarah Godsey, Ph.D.  Associate Professor

Sarah Godsey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 231

(208) 282-3170



Research Interests

Our group at Idaho State University focuses on hydrology in mountain and polar regions. We're interested in how climate and land use changes may affect water resources in these areas.

I am currently studying hillslope contributions to fluvial carbon fluxes and patterns of water quality in drinking water and risk perceptions associated with water pollution in mountainous watersheds throughout Idaho. We're also currently wrapping up a collaborative project to understand coupled hydrology and biogeochemistry of water tracks in Arctic Alaska with a great team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Kathleen Lohse

Kathleen Lohse, Ph.D.


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Rm 202B

(208) 282-3285



Biological Sciences & Geosciences (Joint Appointment)

Research Interests

Dr. Lohse has been an Associate Professor at Idaho State University since 2013. She obtained her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2002 working with Pamela Matson at Stanford University and Ronald Amundson at UC Berkeley. Her training was in soil science with an emphasis in ecosystem ecology/soil biogeochemistry. Prior to her employment at ISU in 2010, Dr. Lohse worked at University of Arizona for three and half years as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Lohse's group works at the interface of ecology, earth system/soil science and hydrology studying the processes shaping ecosystems and their responses to anthropogenic changes.

The Lohse Biogeochemistry Laboratory (LBL) is led by Dr. Kathleen Lohse in the Department of Biological Science with joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences at Idaho State University and includes researchers who conduct interdisciplinary research to understand the hydrologic and biogeochemical processes shaping watersheds and their responses to anthropogenic changes. Increasingly, we are incorporating social processes into our conceptual and quantitative models to understand and predict these responses.

photo of Dr. Kendra Murray

Kendra Murray, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 229

(208) 282-2949



  • Low-temperature thermochronology
  • Igneous petrology
  • Western US tectonics
  • Tectonic geomorphology
Research Interests
Kendra's research reflects her evolution from an igneous petrologist interested in lithosphere-scale tectonics to a thermochronologist who investigates the many magmatic, geomorphic, and tectonic processes that change rock temperatures—from wildfire to the eruption of large igneous provinces. 
Shannon Kobs Nawotniak, Ph.D. Associate Professor

Shannon Kobs Nawotniak, Ph.D.

Professor and Incoming Department Chair

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 223

(208) 282-4758



  • Physical volcanology
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • High performance computing
Research Interests

I investigate the connection between process and products in volcanic eruptions, ranging in scale from the origins and underpinnings of monogenetic volcanic fields through eddy-scale mixing in eruption columns. I have served as the Geology Co-Lead on the NASA FINESSE project and Deputy PI on the NASA BASALT project, both of which use terrestrial lavas to investigate planetary volcanoes, as well as a member of the SUBSEA and JETT 3 analog teams. I am currently leading the IDEAS-LA (IDaho Exploration And Science Lunar Analog) using the eastern Snake River Plain in support of future Artemis missions to the Moon, serving on INL's Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Assessment (PVHA) team, and the Director of the Honors Program at ISU.

David Pearson, Ph.D. Associate Professor Geosciences

David M. Pearson, Ph.D.


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 215A

(208) 282-3486



  • Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • Geo- and Thermochronology
  • Regional Geology of the Northern Rocky Mountains
  • Metamorphic Petrology
Research Interests

Dave's research is focused on deformation of the continental crust. His approach is primarily field-based and at the regional scale, integrating structural geology, geo- and thermochronology, and metamorphic petrology in the context of tectonic processes.

Kurt Sundell Headshot

Kurt Sundell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 230



  • Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
  • Tectonics
  • Geochronology
  • Geochemistry
  • Tectonics
  • Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
  • U-Th-Pb Geochronology
  • Quantitative Sediment Provenance Methods
  • Stable Isotopes (O & H)
  • Hf Isotope Geochemistry
  • (U-Th)/He Thermochronology
  • Data Reduction-Visualization-Archiving Methods
Leif Tapanila, Ph.D.  Professor, Director, Idaho Museum of Natural History

Leif Tapanila, Ph.D.

Professor, Director, Idaho Museum of Natural History

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 209

(208) 282-5417/3168



  • Paleoecology
  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Virtualization

Research Interests

Our ancient past provides a rich data set to understand how ecosystems respond to change over time, and I have dedicated my research career to discovering, analyzing and educating the public about the unbelievable history recorded by fossils. I have little use for traditional boundaries in paleontology: all clades, ages and environments are fair game for study. Owing to the regional geology of the west, I have spent a good deal of time studying Paleozoic marine and Mesozoic continental rocks. Past projects have studied the trace fossil record in rock, wood, and coralline skeletons; continental mollusks and their geochemistry; eugeneodontid sharks; and post-impact recovery of a marine coastline.

Through the Idaho Virtualization Lab, I am working to expand the capacity and capability of making the fossil record accessible to anyone, anywhere. Our 3-D scanning lab is the best in the country at making high-fidelity digital reproductions for the purposes of archiving, research, and education. Many of these same tools and techniques are breathing new life into ancient fossils, especially specimens collected decades ago and collecting dust in the basement of museums around the world. The Helicoprion project, which has garnered the most attention for our lab, is a good example of how a century's old mystery can finally be solved using virtual paleontology. It is exciting to imagine what discoveries lie ahead!

Lecturers & Adjunct Faculty

LJ Krumenacker

Adjunct Instructor



I have a PhD in Earth Sciences from Montana State, MS in Geology from BYU-Provo, and a BS in Biology with Geology Minor from ISU. Aside from ISU, I currently also teach Geology at the College of Eastern Idaho and Life Science at Mountain View Middle School in Blackfoot.
My research interests and projects include the taphonomy and vertebrate paleontology of the Wayan Formation of Idaho, with a special focus on the burrowing orodromine dinosaur Oryctodromeus. I am also part of a group researching the biotic recovery after the Permian-Triassic extinction as recorded in the marine Thaynes Formation of the western US. Other work includes the taphonomy and geology of bird nesting sites in the Eocene Green River Formation, the taphonomy of the Jurassic Morrison Formation, and the taphonomy and fauna of the Cambrian Spence Shale of Idaho and Utah.


headshot of Melanie Keys

Melanie Keyes

Adjunct Instructor

(208) 521-0368


  • Radiochemistry analysis
  • Physical Geology
I have a bachelor's degree in Geology and I work at Idaho National Laboratory in the Chemical and Radiation Measurements Department. My work is focused on analyzing water samples that come out of the nuclear reactor. I was a researcher in the bioenergy department prior to working in radiochemistry. My first geological love, from as early as I can remember, has been Paleontology, but life and career took me in a different direction. 
photo of Dr. Di Wu

Di Wu, Ph.D.

Cyber-programming Analyst and Adjunct Geotechnologies Instructor


Postdoctoral Associates

Nicholas Patton smiles and poses while backpacking, hiking sticks in each hand

Nicholas R. Patton, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Office: Room 202C

(412) 296-2385




  • Soil Science
  • Quaternary Geomorphology
  • Landscape Evolution
  • Paleoclimate
  • Biogeochemistry


Research Interests:

  • My research primarily involves the interaction between biotic and abiotic processes that drive landscape, climate, and ecosystem evolution over the Quaternary. I am involved with projects investigating coastal dune systems and paleoclimate in Australia, glacial history in New Zealand and Alaska, and soil thickness and nutrients stocks globally. I am currently working with Professor Kathleen Lohse on the Critical Zone Collaborative Network’s (CZNet) Geomicrobiology Project where I am evaluating mineral associated 'heavy fraction' and microbial associated 'light fraction' of organic matter across landscapes and soil profiles. In the past, I have worked with research groups such as the British Geological Survey (BGS), Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Desert Research Institute's Integrated Terrain Analysis Program (ITAP), Critical Zone Observatories (CZO), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a suite of multifaceted projects. Working with such diverse groups, my work tends to be at the interface of many scientific disciplines which has motivated me to become a voice for the scientific community and an advocate of science literacy and communication.



  • 2022, Ph.D., Geology, University of Canterbury
  • 2016, MSc., Geology, Idaho State University
  • 2013, B.S., Chemistry and Geology, Pennsylvania Western University


Selected Publication:

  • Patton, N. R., Shulmeister, Hua, Q., Almond, P., Rittenour, T., Hanson, J. M., Grealy, A., Gilroy, J., & Ellerton, D. (2023) Reconstructing Holocene fire records using dune foot-slope deposits at the Cooloola Sand Mass, Australia. Quaternary Research, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1017/qua.2023.14


  • Ellerton, D., Rittenour, T., Shulmeister, J., Roberts, A.P., Miot da Silva, G., Gontz, A., Hesp, P., Moss, P., Patton, N. R., Santini, T., Welsh, K., & Zhao, X. (2022). Fraser Island (K'gari) and initiation of the Great Barrier Reef linked by Middle Pleistocene sea-level change. Nature Geoscience, 1752-0894. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-01062-6


  • Patton, N. R., Shulmeister, J., Ellerton, D., & Seropian, G. (2022). Measuring landscape evolution from inception to maturity: Insights from a coastal dune system. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 584, 117448. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117448


  • O'Bryan, C. J., R. Patton, J. Hone, J. S. Lewis, V. Berdejo-Espinola, D. R. Risch, M. H. Holden, & E. McDonald-Madden. (2021). Unrecognized threat to global soil carbon by a widespread invasive species. Global Change Biology, 28(3), 877-882. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15769


  • Florin, S. A., P. Roberts, B. Marwick, R. Patton, J. Shulmeister, C. E. Lovelock, L. A. Barry, Q. Hua, M. Nango, D. Djandjomerr, R. Fullagar, L. A. Wallis, A. S. Fairbairn, & C. Clarkson. (2021) Pandanus nutshell generates a palaeoprecipitation record for human occupation at Madjedbebe, northern Australia. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5(3), 295-303. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-020-01379-8



Charles W. Blount, Ph.D.

Scott S. Hughes, Ph.D

Paul K Link, Ph.D.  Professor

Paul K. Link, Ph.D

Professor Emeritus

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 230

cell (208) 317-3946



  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Regional Geology of Intermountain West
  • Detrital Zircon Study of Proterozoic Sandstones
  • Field Geology
Research Interests

Geology of Idaho, Belt Supergroup, Windermere Supergroup; Neogene stratigraphy on the Snake River Plain; Stratigraphy and basin analysis.  Former field camp director for "Lost River Field Station" in Mackay, Idaho.

Michael McCurry, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus

Michael McCurry, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 227A

(208) 282-4254


  • Geochemistry
  • Petrology
  • Volcanology
  • Tectonic Magmatic Evolution
Research Interests

Interests are in the areas of low and high temperature geochemistry, igneous petrology, and volcanology. Principal experience is in geochemistry and petrology of magmatic systems in south eastern Idaho, Snake River Plain as well as  Nevada and California.

Head shot of Dave Rodgers

David W. Rodgers, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus



  • Structural Geology
  • Regional Tectonics
  • Administration

Between 2019 and 2022, I served as ISU's Associate Vice-President for Research and as Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES).

In 2018-2019, I was on sabbatical leave while serving as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Central Asia in Khorog, Tajikistan.

From 2013-2018, I was the ISU Site Leader for a large research program called MILES (Managing Idaho's Landscapes for Ecosystem Services). Funded by a five-year, $20M grant from NSF through their EPSCoR program, MILES involved 100+ participants at the three Idaho research universities. Faculty, post-docs, staff members, graduate students, and undergraduate students worked collaboratively to study the past, present and future growth of mid-sized cities, especially in relation to ecosystem services such as water supply, water quality, flood control, and recreation. The ISU MILES project is described in more detail here, and the statewide MILES project is described here.

From 2010-2018, I was Associate Dean in the ISU College of Science & Engineering. Comprising ten different disciplines, CoSE is a vibrant college characterized by quality education and significant research success.

Allied Faculty

Danny Marks

James McNamara

Tammy Rittenour

Mark Seyfried

Douglass Shinneman

Keith Weber

Affiliate Faculty

Million Hailemichael

James Mahar

Travis McLing

Mark Shapley

Christopher Shaw

Jo-Ann Sherwin