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Distinguished professor's inaugural lecture to peek at North America's changing landscape

Monday, November 16, 2015

LAWRENCE — An aging planet has many hidden stories to tell. Michael Blum, the Scott and Carol Ritchie Distinguished Professor of Geology at the University of Kansas, will explore some of Earth’s chronicles at his inaugural distinguished professor lecture on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Blum will present “Bloodlines of a Continent: Snapshots of North American Drainage and Landscapes over the last 150 Million Years” at 5:30 p.m. in the Jayhawk Room of the Kansas Union.

Blum joined the Department of Geology as a distinguished professor in August 2014. He is primarily interested in developing concepts and theory that facilitate understanding of how Earth’s surface responds to climate change, sea-level change and tectonic activity over a broad range of temporal and spatial scales, past and future. Over the past 2 1/2 decades, his research has focused on evolution of fluvial and coastal systems, source-to-sink transfer of sediments from the continents to the deep oceans and development of geochronological methods to interpret time and rates of geologic processes in the ancient stratigraphic record. 

His research has taken him to five continents to conduct field work on modern and ancient deposits and includes experimental and numerical approaches. He has numerous widely cited publications, including seminal papers on continental-scale drainage organization, river responses to climate and sea-level change, and the historical to near-future evolution of the Mississippi delta region.

Blum is a native Nebraskan who received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. From 1991 to 2008, he served as assistant professor of geology at Southern Illinois University, associate professor of geosciences at the University of Nebraska, a Summer Faculty Fellow at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Frank and Patricia Harrison Professor of Geology and Geophysics at Louisiana State University.  He left LSU in 2008 for ExxonMobil Upstream Research in Houston, where he served as senior scientist and research adviser, training early career geoscientists, conducting field work, developing concepts for future exploration and production, and advising on the company’s global portfolio of projects.