Our Focus

Earth’s surface process and subsurface tectonic activity combine in the formation and distribution of sediments and landforms.

Integrated across time, the resulting sedimentary rocks hold the story of past conditions different than today’s. From young sediments, we learn about environmental activities prior to significant human impact or about the impacts of extreme weather events. From sedimentary rocks and landforms, we learn about previous climate states, earlier geographic arrangements of river drainage systems, and past tectonic activity.

Sedimentary rocks hold resources needed for today and the future. Some of those resources are the solid rock itself. Yet many types of resources are fluids within the pore spaces, including fresh water, heat-transporting geothermal fluids, and lithium-rich brines. An understanding of the large scale organization of the pores contributes to discovering, extracting, and carefully managing these vital resources.

Research Projects and Collaborations

Processes operating at the surface and in the subsurface

Earth history from sedimentary rocks and landforms

Resources in sedimentary rocks:                            water & heat

News & Recent Papers


Cornell awarded project to explore Ithaca’s subsurface to improve the prospects for geothermal heating of campus

Full Article

Recent Papers

Jordan et al 2020, Remote Sensing of the Environment

Whealton et al 2020, J. Geographical Information Science

Herrera et al ‘21, Science of the Total Environment