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Department of Geology

Who we are

What is geology?

Geology literally means the study of the Earth. Geologists are interested in a wide range of topics, including:

  • Materials that make up the Earth and solar system including minerals, rocks, soils, sediments, and fluids
  • Processes that affect those materials, including the flow of water, movement of Earth’s tectonic plates, and chemical and biological reactions
  • History of Earth and other planets in our solar system

What geologists do

Geologists play important roles in society:

  • Geologists work to better understand natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods
  • They help us meet natural resource challenges through surface and groundwater management and the exploration and sustainable development of energy and mineral resources
  • They also help us answer big questions about the origin and evolution of Earth and other planets and their habitability now and in the future

Geology is one of the most interdisciplinary sciences. So, there are a lot of ways that geology majors can apply their degrees. For more information, please see our Careers page.

Our mission

Our Department’s mission is to deliver excellence in teaching, research, and service so that our students are equipped with the knowledge to understand and predict how our planet works and to apply that knowledge to the key challenges facing society today: meeting demands for energy, mineral, water, and food, while responsibly managing our environment.

We work to achieve this mission in many ways. To see a summary of some recent outputs and achievements, please check out our Annual Report.

To support the mission of the Department of Geology please review our Support Us Page


We are committed to fostering diversity among our students, faculty, and staff in geology, our college, and Kansas State University. Our faculty and students lead outreach events and contribute to programs that increase participation in science of underrepresented groups and first-generation college students. We are also working to learn more about how to meet the needs of students with different backgrounds. Through these efforts, we are reaching our goal of ensuring that a diverse workforce of geologists can help meet the needs of Kansas and beyond.

Geology student organizations

Our department is home to the Williston Geology Club and the combined AAPG-SEG student chapters. The students in these organizations lead outreach events with K-12 students, go on outdoor adventures together, and more. If you are interested in joining these student organizations, please get in touch with their members or ask one of our faculty. For the 20/21 academic year, Callista Wilkie and  Wyatt Totten are presidents of the Williston and AAPG/SEG student organizations, respectively.

News and events

Check out our e-Newsletter to keep up with recent events in the department. Some images of Department events and local geology are available in our Twitter feed and Instagram account.

Geology seminars - Geology seminars are held on Thursdays from 4-5 pm, unless otherwise noted. The schedule for the upcoming term is available here. 

Seek articles by Geology Associate Professor Matt Kirk and Teaching Assistant Professor Aida Farough 
K-State Department of Geology's Dr. Matt Kirk - "Rural water wells show large increase in nitrate levels" (pg 6) and Dr. Aida Farough - "Researchers DEVELOP solutions through local watershed study" (pg 10) articles in the latest edition of Seekk-state.edu/seek/2020/imag
Postdoc David Pompeani Publishes Article on Environmental Lead Contamination

The article details Pompeani's recent research that indicates that environmental lead contamination from prehistoric metalworking can be detected in North America for thousands of years. Link to the article found here: https://www.k-state.edu/today/announcement/?id=60495

Geology Professor Brice Lacroix Receives Grant from American Chemical Society for Arbuckle Mountain Study

The Arbuckle Mountains expose 450-million-year-old carbonate rocks from the Arbuckle group, a natural hydrocarbon reservoir that occurs deep in the subsurface in Kansas and parts of Oklahoma. In addition to hydrocarbon extraction, the reservoir is also used to dispose of the wastewater produced during the hydrocarbon extraction process.

The purpose of this research is to better understand the timing and conditions of past fluid-flow that occurred along faults through the Arbuckle group rocks, which would have potentially altered them. Such alteration can affect key rock characteristics such as porosity and permeability.

Lacroix will apply the latest thermochronometry techniques — such as ∆47/U-Pb — that he is currently developing in collaboration with colleagues in Switzerland and France. A better understanding of the fault behaviors and their relationship with fluid flow are important to better understand this natural disposal water reservoir and its link with induced seismicity.

Assistant Professor of Geology to Participate In Drilling of the Ocean Floor

Karin Goldberg, assistant professor of geology, has been invited to participate as a sedimentologist on the International Ocean Discovery Program Equatorial Atlantic Gateway Expedition (388) aboard the research vessel JOIDES Resolution.

The expedition, scheduled for summer 2020, will study the tectonic, climatic and biotic evolution of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway at three sites on the northeastern Brazilian continental shelf. This expedition will constrain the long-term interactions between tectonics, oceanography, ocean biogeochemistry and climate, and the functioning of tropical ecosystems and climate during intervals of extreme warmth.

Kansas State University Geologist Aida Farough Explores the Depths of the Oceans

K-State News features the work of Aida Farough, a Kansas State University teaching assistant professor of geology, has spent weeks at sea on research vessels while she studies the ocean floor, underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents. Faraough recently returned from three weeks on the research vessel Atlantis in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.