Ice-age Sea Level

Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations are largely modulated by ice sheet growth and decay Over glacial timescales, climate change correlated with ice volume variation controls river evolution and sedimentation patterns. In turn, the preserved sediment archive can record the history of sea-level changes, and therefore ice history.

Sea-level variability provides direct insight into the history of ice volume fluctuations. Nevertheless, these local observations of sea level do not scale directly with ice volume variations. As ice sheets grow and decay over a glacial cycle, loads of ice, water, and sediment are redistributed over the Earth's surface. The redistribution of mass perturbs the Earth’s rotation axis and gravitational field through solid Earth deformation, producing a spatially variable pattern of sea-level change.



Digging out glacial varves at Lake Hitchcock

Sediments and Sea Level

In my research I work on accurately modeling how loads of sediment change sea level. I use sedimentary records of sea-level change, in combination with modeling, to infer global ice volumes over the past glaciation phase. In particular, I have focused on refining estimates of global ice volumes around ~45 ka during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (60-25 ka), the time period leading into the Last Glacial Maximum (~26 ka).


Sunset on the R/V Oceanus 2017

I am also interested in exploring the feedback between sedimentary processes and sea-level change. I am working on coupling sea-level simulations to a landscape evolution code in order understand how solid Earth deformation influences landscapes, and in turn, how the erosion of landscapes, and the associated sediment deposition, impacts local sea level.


 "Studying" GIA's impact on river evolution at the headwaters of the Hudson River in the Adirondacks. 


Social issues in geoscience

In addition to my research in ice-age science, I am interested in social issues within geoscience and the broader scientific community. In this stream of my research, I use quantitative and qualitative methods to document and analyze how social conventions and cultural practices affect the retention of women and underrepresented minorities in the geosciences. I am particularly interested in understanding how practices in 19th century early American geology continue to shape the culture and values in our field, and how these impact marginalized communities in geoscience today.