Lora Stevens

(Lora Landon-Stevens)
Department Chair, and Professor (On Sabbatical Spring 2023)

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1997
  • B.A., Pomona College, 1989

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 240 - Historical Geology
  • GEOL 300 - Earth Systems and Global Change
  • GEOL 445 - Paleoclimatology
  • GEOL 465 - Physical and Chemical Oceanography
  • GEOL 510 - Biogeochemical Cycles
  • ESP 400 - Environmental Science and Policy Capstone Project

Research Interests

  • Paleoclimatology
  • Paleolimnology
  • Isotope Geochemistry

My research involves the reconstruction of past climatic change using geochemical signatures archived in lake sediments. I focus on the oxygen-isotopic composition of endogenic carbonates as a proxy for hydrologic variability, although I utilize a suite of proxies that include biogenic silica concentrations, grain-size variations, C/N ratios, and mineralogy. More recently, I have begun to employ compound-specific isotopes of leaf waxes to sites lacking carbonates. I study the evolution and variability of a variety of climatic phenomena including ENSO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Southeast Asian monsoon, seasonal changes in atmospheric precipitation in the Mediterranean region, and drought. I specialize in high-frequency (sub-decadal) records derived from annually laminated sediments.

I have also started work on biomarkers, specifically coprostanol, as indicators of human presence on the landscape. My goal is to reconstruct relative changes in human population with simultaneous.

Research Projects

  • western Iran and the interactions of early civilizations with climate change
  • drivers of variations in the monsoon climate of Vietnam
  • understanding and refining the use of coprostanol as an indicator of past human population change