skip to main content

Geology of the World at On the Rocks

UMW News Bureau

Cape of Good Hope, Photo by Rob Thomas

On Monday, Dec. 10, University of Montana Western Professor of Environmental Sciences Rob Thomas will present “Geology of the World: A Semester at Sea” at the final On the Rocks of the Fall 2012 semester.

On the Rocks is a scientific colloquium sponsored by the UMW Environmental Sciences Department.

In spring 2012, Thomas, his wife Anneliese and daughters Abbey and Haley circumnavigated the globe on a ship with the Semester at Sea program. The tour, directed by the University of Virginia, covered 25,000 miles from Florida to South America, Africa, Asia and eventually returning to the United States via San Diego, Calif.

While on the ship, Thomas taught three university-level geoscience courses and ran several geology field trips in ports over the course of four months. Thomas’ presentation will cover the geology surrounding each port while also discussing the culture and environmental issues facing those areas.

Thomas earned his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Washington and joined the faculty at the University of Montana Western in 1993. He has led many layperson field trips for the Geological Society of America and the Yellowstone Association and co-authored a series of geological road signs placed along the Lewis and Clark Trail in Montana with UMW Professor of Environmental Sciences Sheila Roberts, Ph.D. He is also the co-author of “Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country” and has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications. Most recently, he worked with UMW Professor of Environmental Sciences Steve Mock to incorporate an environmental interpretation component into the Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC) curriculum. The KCC is a climbing school for Nepali mountain guides located near Mt. Everest in Nepal.

Thomas is the recipient of the Geological Society of America Distinguished Service Award (2007), Fellowship in the Geological Society (2008), the Humboldt State University Distinguished Alumni Award (2008) and the University of Montana Geosciences Alumnus Award (2010). In 2009, he received the Carnegie Foundation (CASE) U.S. Professor of the Year Award and was named Regents’ Professor by the Montana University System in 2010.

“Geology of the World: A Semester at Sea” will begin at 4 p.m. in Block Hall Room 311 on the Montana Western campus.