I enjoy the historical aspects of geology, looking back in time to explore past events and ancient life. My research and that of my students is focused in two main areas. We use the techniques of sedimentary geology and geochemistry to explore the Earth's earliest surface environments, life, and crustal development, generally before 2.5 billion years ago. Much of this research is focused in South Africa and Western Australia. The other half of my research deals with deep-water sedimentation, especially using outcrops and cores to study the processes by which coarse sediment is transported and deposited in the deep sea.
My teaching is focused on topics in sedimentary geology and techniques for interpreting the sedimentary record. This includes an undergraduate/graduate course (co-taught with Professor Steve Graham) in sedimentary geology and depositional systems, and graduate courses in sedimentation mechanics, sedimentary petrography, and sedimentary environments.
Current co-director, Stanford Project On Deep-water Depositional Systems (SPODDS); leader, Science Definition Team for NASA Astrobiology Research Laboratory (1999-2000); member, UCLA Astrobiology Center (2000-2003); service on numerous school and departmental committees, especially those aimed at setting goals and directions for long-range planning and graduate and undergraduate curricula in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and on the editorial boards of several professional journals and on numerous program, grant, and fellowship review panels