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Publications in VIVO

Anderson, Robert S Distinguished Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • I am a geomorphologist, one who studies the surface of the planet and how it has evolved. I have studied most aspects of the landscape, from the weathering of rock to generate soil, to the transport of soil down hillslopes, to the transport of sediment by rivers to the sea, to the evolution of coastlines that define the edge of the ocean. I have worked on tectonically alive and tectonically dead landscapes. My recent focus has been on alpine and Arctic landscapes in which ice figures prominently, as glaciers in alpine settings, and as permafrost and sea ice in the Arctic. I focus on the processes involved, working them as physics and chemistry problems. My research may be broken into three tasks: field monitoring, modeling, and establishment of timing in the landscape. Modeling involves numerical simulations meant both to interpret data and to generate generic landscapes, often resulting in animations. In dating landscapes, I employ cosmogenic radionuclides in a variety of ways.


  • geomorphology, earth surface processes, glaciers, periglacial processes, hillslopes, cliffs, weathering, hogbacks, cosmogenic radionuclides, rivers, sediment transport, permafrost


selected publications


courses taught

  • GEOG 4241 - Principles of Geomorphology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Studies weathering, mass-wasting, fluvial, wind, and marine processes and the resulting landforms. Same as GEOL 4241.
  • GEOL 2001 - Planet Earth
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Explores the dynamics of planet Earth with particular emphasis on the factors that make the planet habitable. Includes examination of heat balance, hydrology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry and climate history through both lecture and lab-based activities. Required for the Geology major, introduces students to the major concepts in contemporary Earth system science.
  • GEOL 4241 - Principles of Geomorphology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Studies weathering, mass-wasting, fluvial, wind, and marine processes and the resulting landforms. Same as GEOG 4241.
  • GEOL 5110 - Geomechanics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Introduces fundamental physical processes important to the transport of heat and mass in the Earth and on Earth's surface. Provides practice with quantitative treatment of geological problems. Solutions for each problem are derived from first principles, including conservation and flux laws. Emphasizes heat conduction and viscous fluid flow. Department enforced prerequisite: restricted to graduate students only and a course in calculus.
  • GEOL 5700 - Geological Topics Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020
    Offers seminar studies in geological subjects of special current interest. Primarily for graduate students, as departmental staff and facilities permit. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours provided that topics vary.
  • GEOL 5775 - Introduction to Numerical Modeling in Geoscience
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Numerical models play an essential role across the geosciences, with applications that include hypothesis exploration, data interpretation, and prediction. This course provides a hands-on introduction to numerical modeling. Students learn scientific programming and modeling concepts by iterating through a series of model-development assignments in Python and Matlab. Applications span a range of topics in the geosciences, with emphasis on physical processes that involve mass, energy, and/or momentum transport.


International Activities

global connections related to teaching and scholarly work (in recent years)

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