Quaternary Geology and Climate Change Research

Darrell Kaufman: Quaternary geology & geomorphology

Research activities

My research centers around environmental changes, particularly those related to paleoclimate, that have shaped the Earth's surface during the Quaternary Period. I study lake and glacial deposits that provide an archive of long-term climate variability. Because dating of geological materials is pivotal to understanding the timing, rates, and regional extent of paleoclimatic changes, I am particularly interested in geochronology, especially amino acid geochronology and tephrochronology. And, because accurate dating of geologic deposits is predicated on understanding the geologic context of the dated materials, I have a strong emphasis in field geology. I have been involved in a variety of field-oriented projects, principally at high latitudes and high altitudes where past environmental changes have been most pronounced and future changes are anticipated to be greatest. I have externally funded research programs in two field areas, western/northern Alaska, and the eastern Great Basin. The analytical phase of my research is devoted to analyzing the physical properties of lake sediments, particularly those from glaciated basins, and applying amino acid geochronology and paleothermometry to resolving outstanding Quaternary paleoclimatic and geochronological problems.