My research and teaching interests are in geomorphology 
and landscape evolution. I apply
fieldwork, geochronology, 
and terrain metrics to 
investigate landscape responses to 
tectonics and climate change and
to decipher the landscape 
evolution of the Interior West.

I am originally from rural Minnesota, made a pilgrimage 
to the Southwest for graduate study, and then lucked out
and got a job here at Utah State.  I am married to 
Carol Dehler, also a professor here in Geology, and we have 
a son, Zane. 




Topics of my current research:

from muley point

Landscape Evolution of the Colorado Plateau

What explains the patterns of erosion across the plateau?

Is the landscape eroding in dynamic equilibrium, or are their transient features?

What are the rates and controls of cliff retreat?
What have been the landscape's responses to Quaternary climate change?

  Alluvial Stratigraphy in the Interior West

    How do river terraces form 

    and do they correlate across the region?

Can the roles of climate change versus tectonic/baselevel controls be deciphered in landscapes?

tsegi wash

  Geoarchaeology of the Colorado Plateau

  What is the Holocene stratigraphy of the Colorado River?

Can OSL be used to date rock falls and rock art?

Some Publications:

     Bursztyn et al., 2017, GSA Today, Virtual field trips and student motivation

    Bursztyn et al., 2017, Geosphere, Learning effectiveness of virtual field trips

    Pederson et al., 2016, Evolution of the Bear River and Lake Bonneville

    Bursztyn et al., 2015, EPSL, Rock strength controls in Colorado Plateau

     Jochems and Pederson, 2015, JGR-Earth Surface, Salt deformation and incision near Moab

     Gallen et al., 2015, Geology, Transience in fluvial incision rates

     Pederson et al., 2014, PNAS, Age of Barrier Canyon Style rock art

     Pederson and O'Brien, 2014, Geoarchaeology, Geoarch patterns in Grand Canyon

     Pederson et al., 2013, Lithosphere, Incision and faulting along Green River

     Pederson et al., 2013, Geology, Colorado Plateau bull's-eye of incision

     Chapot et al., 2012, Quat. Geochronology, Rock fall and rock art OSL dating

     Pederson and Tressler, 2012, EPSL, Colorado River metrics and knickzones

     Pederson, 2012, GSA Special Paper 489, Eastern Grand Canyon geomorphology

     Harvey et al., 2011, GSA Bulletin, Arroyos and paleofloods in southern Utah

     Harvey and Pederson, 2011, QSR, Reconcilng arroyo cycles and paleofloods

    Hidy et al., 2010, G-cubed -Monte Carlo modeling of TCN profiles, Lee's Ferry

     Roy, Jordan, and Pederson, 2009, Nature -uplift of the Colorado Plateau

    Pederson et al., 2008, Science comment and reply -formation of Grand Canyon

    Pederson, 2008, GSA Today -origin of Colorado River and Grand Canyon

    Larsen et al., 2006, Geomorphology -hillslope processes in Dino Natl Park

    Pederson et al., 2006, ESPL -gully erosion in Grand Canyon

    Pederson et al., 2006, JGR-Earth Surface -Grand Canyon terraces and incision

    Anders et al., 2005, QSR -Grand Canyon terrace stratigraphy and climate

    Pederson and Hadder, 2005, UGA guidebook -integration of the Green River

    Counts and Pederson, 2005, UGA guidebook -alluvial stratigraphy of Henrys Fork

    Munroe et al., 2005, GSA guidebook -Quaternary Geology of the Uinta Mtns

    Pederson et al., 2003, INQUA guidebook -geomorph of Grand Canyon

    Pederson et al., 2002, GSA Today -uplift and erosion of Colorado Plateau

    Pederson et al., 2002, Geology -differential incision of Grand Canyon

    Pederson et al., 2001, GSA Bulletin -hillslope records of climatic sediment supply

    Pederson et al., 2000, Geology -ancient colluvium

    Pederson, 2000, GSA Bulletin -Holocene chronostratigraphy of Lake Canyon


courses I teach:

GEO 1110 - Physical Geology  go to course web page

GEOL 6120/7120 - Advanced (Tectonic) Geomorphology

graduate student opportunities:

HEY!  I usually need grad students to come to Utah, hike, raft and ski, and work on projects in the beautiful Southwest!  EMAIL ME!

Most projects include fieldwork, OSL geochronology, and GIS terrain analysis. The facilities and collaborators here at USU for geomorphic studies are awesome.  
Check out our Luminescence Laboratory and the Watershed Department.

potential graduate research themes:

1) Strategies for increasing engagment and diversity in geoscience education

2) Rates, processes and climate controls on escarpment retreat

3) Using river terraces and topopgraphy to quantify incision and active deformation


rob mackley doing fieldwork

past grad students--where are they?

    Matt Anders, '03 - Idaho Dept. of Water Resources
    Paul Petersen, '03 - GIS consultant, Ft. Collins, CO
    Isaac Larsen, '03 - PhD U. Wash., geology professor at U Mass
    Ron Counts, '05 - PhD Univ. of Cincinnati, now USGS
    Rob Mackley, '05 - Pacific Northwest National Lab
    Scott Cragun, '07 - Doc. Osteopathy, Radiology
    Ben DeJong, '07 - PhD U. Vermont, consulting geologist, Montpelier, VT

    Jonathan Harvey, '09 - PhD UCSB, professor at Ft. Lewis College, Durango
    Erin Tainer, '09 - Geophysicist at Chevron

    Chris Tressler, '10 - Natural Channel Designs Inc., Flagstaff
    Andy Jochems, '13 - New Mexico Bur. of Mines & Min. Res.
    Faye Geiger, '14 - Geologist at Anadarko
    Natalie Bursztyn, '15 - Geology professor at Cal State Fullerton
    Daphnee Tuzlak, '17 - Geomorphologist at BGC Engineering, Vancouver