Current News

2017 Alumni Achievement Award: Jim Kirkpatrick (Ph.D. '72)

Posted on 11.14.2017 | Read More
Photo: Presentation of the plaque
On November 3rd, 2017, Prof. R. James Kirkpatrick (PhD ’72), Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at Michigan State University, was presented with the department’s Alumni Achievement Award.  Jim is well known to many current and former members of the department, having served UIUC for nearly 30 years as a faculty member, department head, and executive associate dean (10 years).

Jessica Conroy: Thriving in Research

Posted on 10.31.2017 | Read More
Jess Conroy
Assistant Professor Jessica Conroy has been included in a list of 7 women climate scientists in an article published in The Guardian.  The piece highlights the successes and contributions of several prominent women climate scientists.

Saturday, Nov. 4th Natural History Building Re-dedication

Posted on 10.31.2017 | Read More
Natural History Building

 November 4th, 2017:  Please join us for a grand event to mark the re-dedication of the Natural History Building!  Geology alumni from all over will be converging on NHB for a re-dedication ceremony, tours, and plenty of socializing to celebrate the completion of this once-in-a-lifetime renewal of the traditional home of Geology, on the quad.

Jim Best to be award the Lamarck Medal from EGU

Posted on 10.10.2017 | Read More
The Lamarck Medal

Prof. Jim Best will be awarded the 2018 Lamarck Medal from the Division on Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Paleontology of the European Geosciences Union!

2018 Spring Field Course: Classic Localities of Scotland

Posted on 10.08.2017 | Read More
The 2014 Group in Scotland
In Spring, 2018, the Geology 415/515 Field Course will return to Scotland!  Professors Anders, Gregg, Stewart and Burmeister will lead a group of 22 students to visit classic localities to investigate glacial geomorphology, super volcanoes, the rifting of Pangaea and thrust tectonics. 

Department of Geology Offices Return to NHB!

Posted on 07.12.2017 | Read More
"Geology Row" on the third floor of NHB
Department of Geology faculty and grad student offices have moved back into the Natural History Building.  We are now located on the east side of the third floor.  The building looks and feels wonderful!

Conroy named 2017 Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences

Posted on 07.03.2017 | Read More

Jessica Conroy has been named a 2017 Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences, and will participate in the Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, July 18-21, 2017 in Ambon, Indonesia.

The Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series is the National Academy of Science's premiere activity for distinguished young scientists. The symposia are designed to provide an overview of advances and opportunities in a wide-ranging set of disciplines and to provide an opportunity for the future leaders of science to build a network with their colleagues.

Meet Dr. Max Christie, New Lecturer in Geology

Posted on 06.30.2017 | Read More
Max Field Photograph

The department is happy to welcome Max Christie, who will join the department in August, 2017 as a Lecturer.  Max is a paleontologist interested in how extinction affects ecosystems.  He uses principles of stratigraphy, ecology, and statistics to figure out how communities of animals have changed through time. 

Gary Parker Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Posted on 05.03.2017 | Read More
Gary Parker Photograph

Gary Parker, the W. Hilton Johnson Professor of Geology and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences!

Gary joins three other faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who were also elected this year.  The LAS news page has more:

New research links river piracy, glacier retreat and global warming

Posted on 04.20.2017 | Read More
A paper just published in Nature Geoscience documents a case of river piracy in the Canadian Yukon that occurred in May 2016, and has rerouted the course of one river into another. Jim Best and colleagues report on how and why this piracy occurred, and on its cause due to glacier retreat as a result of global warming in the industrial era. 

Faculty Search: Lecturer in Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and/or Paleobiology

Posted on 03.17.2017 | Read More
Sedimentary Rocks- Ireland
The department began a nationwide search for a Lecturer in Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and/or Paleobiology in March, 2017, with applications expected in early April, and interviews in late April.

Feng Sheng Hu Named ESA Fellow

Posted on 03.02.2017 | Read More
HuFellows are members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA, including, but not restricted to, those that advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, non-profit organizations, and the broader society. They are elected for life. Photo
Ralph E. Grim Professor and Dean of the College of LAS Feng Sheng Hu has been selected as a 2017 Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Fellows are elected for life and are members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA.

Prof. Emerita Sue Kieffer receives the "Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal"

Posted on 03.01.2017 | Read More
Kieffer Photo
The department is very happy to congratulate Prof. Emerita Sue Kieffer, who has received the 2017 “Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Award” of the American Geosciences Institute (AGI).  The medal is given to a recipient with "consistent contributions of high-quality scientific achievements and service to the Earth sciences having lasting, historic value; who has been recognized for accomplishments in field(s) of expertise by professional societies, universities, or other organizations; and is a senior scientist nearing completion or has completed full-time regular employment. “

Geology Alumni Board Meeting

Posted on 02.20.2017 | Read More

The Department of Geology Alumni Board met on November 11th, 2016. Board members reconnected with campus, toured the Natural History Building, were briefed about current operations of the department, and discussed trends in geoscience and employment.

Lijun Liu Named LEAP Scholar

Posted on 02.20.2017 | Read More
Liu Photo

Prof. Lijun Liu was named a Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professors (LEAP) Scholar for 2016-2017.  Liu is one of only six assistant professors in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognized for their exceptional accomplishments in teaching and research as part of a new program to highlight and encourage the contributions of outstanding junior faculty in the College of LAS.  

Alum Named Teacher of the Year by AAPG Eastern Section

Posted on 02.16.2017 | Read More
Canavan in the field
Dylan Canavan (B.S., '98, M.S. '00) has been named Teacher of the Year by the Eastern Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).  Dylan has been teaching at Hinsdale Central High School in the Chicago area for 14 years, and loves his work as an earth science teacher and leader of summer field trips to Grand Canyon National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  Congratulations, Dylan!!!

Prof. Gregg leads team exploring submarine volcanos in the Pacific!

Posted on 02.01.2017 | Read More
R/V Atlantis Photo

Professor Patricia Gregg, her graduate students, and Prog. Craig Lundstrom are aboard the ship R/V Atlantis out in the Pacific Ocean.  Prof. Gregg is Chief Scientist for project OASIS, "Off-Axis Seamount Investigations at Siqueiros," that is exploring sea-floor volcanoes using the Alvin research submarine and other advanced observational methods.



Posted on 11.23.2016 | Read More
Amazon River Aerial Photo

Jim Best, graduate student Julia Cisneros and undergraduate Vanessa Gabel, are journeying to the Amazon River in late November and early December to conduct research on the sedimentology of the Amazon’s main channel.

Follow their trip during this period through a triptych of blogs at

Don Lowe (Ph.D., 1967) receives department’s Alumni Achievement Award

Posted on 11.22.2016 | Read More
Lowe award photo
On November 3rd, 2016, Prof. Donald R. Lowe of Stanford University was presented with the department’s Alumni Achievement Award.

International Water Prize Awarded to Gary Parker

Posted on 10.23.2016 | Read More
Gary Parker Photo

Prof. Gary Parker has been selected as the recipient of the 7th Prince Abdul Aziz Surface Water Prize, for his work on the problem of meandering rivers.  

More information about the prize can be found at

Prof. Philip Alan Sandberg (1937-2016)

Posted on 10.23.2016 | Read More
Sandberg Photo
Professor Emeritus Philip A. Sandberg passed away on August 30th, 2016 at his home in Hammondsport, NY.

Jim Best's Mekong work published in Nature

Posted on 10.22.2016 | Read More
Mekong River PhotoFluvial sediment supply to a mega-delta reduced by shifting tropical-cyclone activity  Stephen E. Darby	Christopher R. Hackney	Julian Leyland	Matti Kummu	Hannu Lauri	Daniel R. Parsons	James L. Best	Andrew P. Nicholas	Rolf Aalto AffiliationsContributionsCorresponding author Nature (2016) doi:10.1038/nature19809 Received 03 February 2016 Accepted 22 August 2016 Published online 19 October 2016

Professor Jim Best, the Jack and Richard Threet Professor of Sedimentary Geology, is part of an international team that has published a new paper about sediment supply to the Mekong River Delta.  

See more on the College of LAS News web page:


Posted on 10.22.2016 | Read More
San Francisco Photo

Illinois Alumni are cordially invited to attend the AGU reception hosted by:
University of Illinois Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Geography, and Geology in the School of Earth, Society, and Environment 
in conjunction with the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Bruce Fouke Publishes Yellowstone Book

Posted on 10.19.2016 | Read More
Yellowstone Mountains

Bruce Fouke, along with photographer Tom Murphy, has published a new book, The Art of Yellowstone Science – Mammoth Hot Springs as a Window on the Universe. 

Liu magnetotellurics paper appears in Science

Posted on 09.30.2016 | Read More
Figure from Liu Paper

Prof. Lijun Liu, with co-author Derrick Hasterok of the University of Adelaide, has published a paper in Science, titled: "High-resolution lithosphere viscosity and dynamics revealed by magnetotelluric imaging."

U of I Reception at Denver GSA!

Posted on 09.21.2016 | Read More
Denver Photo

The Illinois Geology Alumni and Friends reception at GSA will be a combined event, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa, and Minnesota-Duluth. 

Monday, September 26th
7:00 to 10:00 PM
Bubba Gump's Restaurant, 2nd floor
1437 California St, Denver (just northeast of the convention center)

Noah Jemison Receives AGU Horton Research Grant

Posted on 09.07.2016 | Read More
Photo of Jemison at Rifle

Graduate student Noah Jemison has been awarded a Horton Research Grant by AGU.  Each year the grant is awarded to up to three students during their candidacy for a Ph.D. degree in hydrology, water resources, or a closely related field.  Noah will be recognized at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.


Nicole Fernandez-Franzen Awarded NSF Graduate Fellowship

Posted on 09.07.2016 | Read More
Nicole on the Ireland Field Course
Geology graduate student Nicole Fernandez-Franzen has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, which will support her graduate education at Illinois for three years.

Fall Field Trip 2016- Starved Rock

Posted on 08.12.2016 | Read More



Sharon Mosher (B.S. 1973; Ph.D. 1978) selected for LAS Alumni Achievement Award

Posted on 07.13.2016 | Read More
Sharon Mosher small photo
Sharon Mosher, Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin and an alumna of the Department of Geology (B.S., 1973; Ph.D., 1978), has been selected to receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  

More NHB renovation photos

Posted on 06.01.2016 | Read More

Additional photographs from the recent NHB walk-through.



Posted on 05.24.2016 | Read More
Calgary Skyline

Join us for the 2016 AAPG Illinois Alumni reception:

Monday, June 20, 2016
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Ed’s Restaurant
202 17th Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Sediments and archaeology: Field work in Belize

Posted on 05.24.2016 | Read More
Melinda Higley and field party coring a lake in Belize

Graduate student Melinda Higley and Professor Jessica Conroy are helping Professor Lisa Lucero of Anthropology study the study the intersection of Maya civilization, landscape, and climate change in Belize. 

Holben Staff Award

Posted on 05.24.2016 | Read More
Lana Holben, Office Manager for both SESE and Department of Geology, has been awarded the 2015-2016 LAS Staff Award. 

NHB Update: May, 2016

Posted on 05.18.2016 | Read More
NHB Exterior

After the complete removal of most interior walls, the inside of NHB is now being rebuilt at a brisk pace, with new walls, infrastructure, and facilities nearly complete.  We have begun to see the department's new home take shape!


2016 Spring Convocation

Posted on 05.18.2016 | Read More
At the Spring 2016 Convocation Ceremony, students, faculty, and staff celebrated the accomplishments of our 30 Geology graduates!!!

2016 Student Awards!

Posted on 05.18.2016 | Read More

On April 28th, the department gathered for its annual awards celebration. 


Shell Sponsors Oil and Gas Industry Short Course: April 23-24, 2016

Posted on 05.17.2016 | Read More
shell logo

With sponsorship from Royal Dutch Shell, petroleum Geologist Marsha Bourque from Houston presented an introduction to petroleum geoscience and engineering.  The course was designed for students with little knowledge of the industry who were eager to learn about both the practice of petroleum geology and the nature of careers they might pursue.  

Geology department river trip with high school students

Posted on 05.17.2016 | Read More
Department of Geology faculty and grad students, led by Prof. Michael Stewart, lead canoe trips every fall and spring to teach students about geology, sediments, biology, and what scientists really do.  Royal Dutch Shell subsidized the trips for the 2015-16 school year.

Department purchases new SEM

Posted on 02.23.2016 | Read More
A new scanning electron microscope (SEM) was purchased in December for the Department with funds from the Ralph E. Grim endowment combined with funds from a grant from NSF instrumentation to Prof. Craig Lundstrom.

Illinois-based field course led by Brandon Curry of ISGS

Posted on 02.17.2016 | Read More
Glacial sediment at Spring Lake

Adjunct Professor Brandon Curry of the ISGS led a field course aimed at regional geology in Fall, 2015.  The class was intended for motivated seniors and graduate students interested in the geology of the Midwest, and centered on several field trips to observe the quaternary and bedrock geology of the State of Illinois.

The genesis and petrology of kidney stones

Posted on 02.02.2016 | Read More
Kidney stone image

This polished slice of a kidney stone looks like diamonds when polarized light is used to illuminate a wafer only a 4 millionths of a meter (micrometers) in thickness. Prof. Bruce Fouke is involved with the collaborative Mayo Clinic and University of Illinois Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare research project on kidney stone genesis with Dr. John Lieske, Dr. Amy Krambeck, Dr. Nick Chia and Jessica Saw. The project involves both advanced petrography of the stones and research into the role of microbes in their deposition.


Geochemist's Workbench Short Course

Posted on 02.01.2016 | Read More

The UIUC Geology Department is proud to host the 2016 Geochemist's Workbench (GWB) Student Forum, held January 14 - 15 in the Illini Union Building.  This intensive two day workshop provides a unique opportunity for hands-on training using a state of the art reactive transport modeling software package.

GWB short course photo

2015 Alumni Achievement Award

Posted on 01.06.2016 | Read More
John Cherry receiving Distinguished Alumni Award from Tom Johnson

John A. Cherry, Ph.D. '65 received the 2015 Alumni Achievement Award from the Department of Geology.  Cherry, co-author of the groundbreaking textbook "Groundwater" gave the Buckley Lecture in Environmental Geology at UIUC December 3, 2015 on the topic: "Environmental issues for shale gas development: A hydrogeological perspective." Cherry is Distinguished Emeritus Professor, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.