Steven L. Forman
My research interests are centered on the progression and
mechanisms of environmental and climate change in the past
250,000 years of Earth's history. Investigations combine
field interpretations and analytical measurements with geophysical
modeling, to translate site-specific geomorphic or stratigraphic
understanding to regional and global contexts on various
1. Northern Eurasian ice sheet and climate dynamics. Defining
the extent and timing of ice sheets for the past 20,000 years
and attendant oceanographic changes are critical boundary
conditions for understanding the Earth's climate. Research
concentrates on northern Eurasia, where there is a knowledge
gap on past ice-sheet geometry, sea levels, chronology, and
oceanographic feedbacks. Combined data from Quaternary geology,
paleoceanography, paleolimnology and geophysical modeling
sheds new knowledge on the controls on ice sheet inception
and decay, feedbacks with the climate system, and ecosystem
2. Paleorecords of drought. The geologic record
of droughts is important for evaluating recent climate change
in the context of natural variability. Extensive wind-deposited
sand and silt (loess) covers much of the conterminous U.S.,
indicating substantial glacial to interglacial hydrologic
variability. Research focuses on defining stratigraphic sequences,
securing reliable chronologies, and understanding landscape-vegetation-climate
feedbacks for aridity and subsequent recovery.
3. Pluvial lake systems. Large lakes integrate
climate change over time and space, and, thus, contain important
paleoclimatic records. Research focuses on understanding
timing and climatic controls on lake systems in Utah, Idaho,
and the Great Lakes over annual to millennial time scales
over the past 15,000 years.
4. Geochronology. Accurate measuring of geologic
time is a critical component in the earth sciences. A long-standing
research focus is the development and application of luminescence
geochronology to decipher the timing of late Quaternary environmental
events, such as paleoearthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flood
events, lake-level oscillations, droughts, and periods of
human habitation. This includes optically stimulated luminescence
and thermoluminescence dating, often employing multiple dating
techniques (e.g., amino acids, 14C, Ar/Ar, 26Al, 10Be).
Selected recent publications:
Forman, S.L. , Ingolfsson, O., Gataullin,
V., Manley, W. and Lokrantz, H., 2002. Late Quaternary stratigraphy,
glacial limits and paleoenvironments of the Marresale area,
western Yamal Peninsula, Russia. Quaternary Research ,
Forman, S.L. , Oglesby, R. and Webb, R.,
2001. Patterns of Holocene dune activity on the Great Plains
of North America: Megadroughts and climate links. Global
and Planetary Change , 29: 1-29.
Zeeberg, J.J. and Forman, S.L. , 2001.
Changes in glacier extent on north Novaya Zemlya in the twentieth
century. The Holocene , 11: 161-175.
Doran, P.T. and Forman, S.L. , 2000. Ideas
about the surface runoff features on Mars. Science ,
Waters, M.R., Forman, S.L. and Pierson,
J., 1997. Diring Yuriakh: A Lower Paleolithic site in Central
Siberia. Science, 275: 1281-1284.