The WUSTL Geomorphology group aims to understand and quantify the processes that create the patterns and landscapes on the surface of the Earth and other planetary bodies.

We explore these links between process, form, and landscape evolution with a suite of methods, including, but not limited to, laboratory experiments, numerical methods, field monitoring, and near-surface geophysics. We work at the interface of geoscience, granular mechanics, and solid mechanics to better characterize the behavior and response of natural systems in the face of the natural variability inherent in Earth’s climate system and geologic materials.

We are committed to advancing accessibility, inclusion, and equity in geoscience through mentorship, outreach, and advocacy.

Lab News

July 2022 – Claire talked to the St. Louis Post Dispatch about river response to climate change and how our research group is digging into this challenging research question. Read the article here.

July 2022 – Claire Masteller received a research grant from NASA’s equity and environmental justice program to assess the applicability of satellite data products to capture urban flooding in Centreville, IL

July 2022 –  Claire Masteller and collaborator Colin Phillips (Utah State University) received funding from NSF to develop a signal-to-noise ratio approach to assess the sensitivity of alluvial rivers to climate change and other perturbations.  Read the Ampersand coverage of the award here.

June 2022 – Jesse Bower (Class of 2023) joins our lab as an undergraduate research assistant and thesis student.  Jesse’s thesis will involve construction of a “perpetual damage machine” to explore the interplay of bedrock abrasion and damage development in bedrock rivers. 

May 2022 – Henry Chandler (Class of 2023) earned a SURA Award to fund his summer research in the lab!  Henry is working with PhD student Jed Dale to disentangle lithologic controls on bedrock valley morphology in the Upper Mississippi. Congrats Henry!

May 2022 – PhD student Jed Dale attended the CSDMS Earth Surface Modeling Summer “Camp” where he learned the ins and outs of landscape evolution modeling and presented his research on the Upper Mississippi River Valley

May 2022 – Congratulations to thesis student Maria Schmeer on receiving the Ohle Award, which is awarded to the graduating senior judged to have the greatest promise for a successful career in Earth or planetary sciences and who has demonstrated superior academic achievement! Maria is off to Caltech this fall to pursue a PhD in surface processes. 

May 2022 – Our review paper on the importance of threshold in alluvial rivers, led by Colin Phillips (Utah State Univ.) is published in Nature Reviews of Earth and Environment!  Check it out here. 

January 2022 – Claire talked about memory in gravel bed rivers at the Physics of the Ground Beneath Our Feet workshop on applications of statistical and nonlinear physics in geoscience

January 2021 – Check out Claire’s interview on St. Louis on the Air about the group’s research at Johnson’s Shut Ins

December 2021 – Check out this great feature on Jordan Neeley’s research at Johnson’s Shut Ins!

December 2021 – WUSTL Geomorphology at AGU!  

Phd Students Jed Dale and Robert Kostynick, undergraduates Jordan Neeley and Maria Schmeer, and postdoc Hossein Hosseiny presented posters at AGU 2022. Claire presented a talk and a poster.

April 2021 – We’re excited to welcome Diala Abboud and Robert Kostynick to the lab as incoming PhD Students in August 2021! 

Diala will work towards unraveling the feedbacks between sediment transport and rock damage in bedrock rivers, by way of a  perpetual damage machine. 

Robert will be focusing on developing a signal-to-noise framework for gravel bed river responses to unsteady forcing and changing climate.

August 2020 – We’re excited to be welcoming Dr. Hossein Hosseiny to our group as a post-doc! Hossein will join us in January from the Villanova Urban Rivers research group.

July 2020 – Our group is seeking a new postdoc to work at the intersection of geomorphology and environmental justice.  See the posting here and don’t hesitate to get in touch!

May 2020 – Proud of AGU’s Earth and Planetary Sciences section for establishing this new award, after Marguerite Williams, the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Geoscience in the US. This award aims to recognize mid-career scientists for research AND community-building efforts.

Claire was part of the committee that proposed the award and is thrilled to see it come to fruition!

May 2020 – Check out Claire’s #shareEGU display on her work on rocky coasts!

Apr. 2020 – Jed Dale will be joining the lab as a PhD student in Fall 2020!

Jed comes to the lab from UT-Austin where he is gaining a Master’s in Geography, and with a Bachelor’s from UPenn. Jed will focus on the intersection of biology and fluvial transport processes.

Apr. 2020 – Excited to announce a new NSF-funded project with José Constantine (Williams College)!

The project, titled “EAGER: Collaborative Research: Invisible Floods on the Mississippi River Floodplain – Unravelling the Causes of Urban Flooding in a Community-Centered Approach to Geomorphology”, is aimed towards constraining mechanisms for flooding in Centreville, IL. The project will be in collaboration with efforts from Equity Legal Services and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.

Read more about what’s happening in Centreville here:

Feb. 2020 – Welcome to WashU: Claire Masteller check out the feature!

Jan. 2020 – Hello, world!