Dissertations & Theses

Listed below are the Geology and Environmental Science MS and PhD graduates for the years 2000 to present. Please contact the Academic Coordinator, Annemarie Vranesevic (gpsgrad@pitt.edu) if you are a graduate who has been left out or you can provide a missing title.

Hedin, Benjamin, Ph.D.
Advisor: Capo
“Coal pollution to critical metals: Recycling rare earth elements from acid mine drainage"

Woods, Arielle, Ph.D.
Advisor: Abbott
“Monsoon Strength and Glaciation in the Peruvian Andes: A Sedimentary Perspective on Tropical Paleoclimate"


Al Taweel, Yaareb, MS
Advisor: Harbert

Buford-Parks, Victoria, Ph.D.
Advisor: McQuarrie
“Quantifying timing and rate of deformation and exhumation in the Central Andes: Insights from thermokinematic and landscape models of balanced cross-sections "

Mullins, Angela, Ph.D.
Advisor: Bain
“Characterizing Sources and Identifying Pathways of Urban Metal Contamination at the Groundwater-Soil Interface"

Thompson, James, Ph.D.
Advisor: Ramsey
“Quantifying thermal infrared emission from active lava surfaces to improve models of effusive volcanism"

Wondolowski, Nicholas, MS
Advisor: Shelef
“Influence of topography and permafrost condition on changes in Arctic water storage”


Chung, Angela, MS
Advisor: Elliott
“Assessing Spatial and Temporal Variability of Reactive Nitrogen in an Urban Fluvial System"

Cook, Sarah, MS
Advisor: Thomas

Maxim Alexandra, MS
Advisor: Bain
“Quantitative Analysis of Thermophysical Properties of Lava Flows on Earth and Mars"

Simurda, Christine, Ph.D.
Advisor: Bain
“Urban Soils in a Historically Industrial City:Concentration and Biogeochemical Speciation of Trace Metals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"



Williams, Daniel, Ph.D.
Advisor: Ramsey
“An Analysis of Proximal Volcanic Ash Emissions"

Yu, Zhongjie, Ph.D.
Advisor: Elliott
"Examining Sources and Dynamics of Soil Nitric Oxide Using Stable Isotopes Techniques"


Beauchamp, Nathan, MS
Advisor: Ramsey
“Numerical Modeling of the Daedalia Planum Lava Flows, Mars"

Ferland, Troy, MS
Advisor: Werne
“An Evolution of the Organic Geochemical Potential to Reconstruct Mid-Pleistocene Paleoclimate Adjacent to an Established Hominin Site: Lake Magadi, Kenya"

Glick, Emily, MS
Advisor: Bain
“Connectivity of the Oriskany Sandstone with the Marcellus Shale: Effects on Shale Gas Operations in North Central Pennsylvania"

Griffore, Melissa, MS
Advisor: Abbott
“A 4, 000 Year Sediment Record of Atmospheric Lead (Pb) Pollution from Laguna Roya, Northwestern Spain"

Krippner, Janine, Ph.D.
Advisor: Ramsey
“Dome Collapse Driven Block-And-Ash Flows on Shiveluch, and Pyroclastic Flows on Mount St. Helens:  Deposit Morphology and Distribution Analysis Using Multi-parameter Remote Sensing - and - Field-Based Methods"

Kumar, Dervla, MS
Advisor: Werne
“Production of Heterocyst Glycolipids and Glyercol Dialkyl Glycerol Tetraither Membrane Lipids in the Water Column of a Stratified Tropical Lake, Malawi, Africa"

Mackey, Justin, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"A Chemostratigraphic Study of Regional and Global Controls on Desposition and Preservation of Late Cambrian Shales and Carbonates of the Conasauga Group, Appalachian Basin, USA"

McGrath, Monica, MS
Advisor: Stewart
“Constraints on the Ptrogenesis of a Proterozoic Talc Deposit in Southwestern Montana: A Petrological Geochemical Study"

Pfeil-McCullough, Erin, Ph.D.
Advisor: Bain
“A Geospatial Investigation of Human Impacted Forests in Southwestern Pennsylvania"

Olsen, Josh, MS
Advisor: McQuarrie
“Determining Relative Age of Out-of-Sequence Faults: Integration of Foreland Basin Deposits to a Flexural Thrust Belt Evolution and a Case Study in Western Nepal"

Strong, Damara, MS
Advisor: Werne
“Biogeochemical Analysis of Leaf Wax Fatty Acids from Lake Surface Sediments in Mesoamerica"

Tieman, Zachary, MS
Advisor: Stewart
“Isotopic Fractionation of Barium in Shale and Produced Water from the Appalachian Basin, USA"

Wallrich, Irene, MS
Advisor: Capo
“ND Isotopes Track Rare Earth Element Sources in Acid Mine Drainage, Appalachian Bain, USA"

Weidhaas, Nick, MS
Advisor: Abbott
“A 25,000-year Lake Level History of Lake Junin, Peru from Stratigraphic and Oxygen Isotope Studies"


Ace, Ashley, MS
Advisor: McQuarrie
“Documenting the Geometry and Magnitude of Shortening at the Valley and Ridge - Appalachian Plateau Transition: Lycoming County, Pennsylvania"

Coughlin, Justin, MS
Advisor: Elliott
“Reactive Nitrogen Emissions and Deposition from Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction in the Marcellus Shale Basin"

Hortert, Christopher, MS
Advisor: Bain
“Contaminated Groundwater Flow Control Across an Inverted Groundwater Divide with Three Groundwater Control Devices"

Rossi, Robert, Ph.D.
Advisor: Bain
"Characterizing Sources and Dynamics of Metals and Metalloids in Urban Soils"

Zorn, Erich, Ph.D.
Advisor: Harbert
“Integrated Analysis and Interpretation of Microseismic Monitoring of Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus Shale​”


Dieterich, Matthew, MS
Advisor: Capo
“Physicochemical Effects of Synthetic Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid on Core Samples of the Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale and Underlying Huntersville Chert, Greene County, Pennsylvania, USA”

Finkenbinder, Matthew, Ph.D.
Advisor: Abbott
“Lake sediment records of late Quaternary Paleoclimate Change from Alaska and Newfoundland Developed using Sedimentology and Geochemical Proxies”

Lavin, Sarah, MS
Advisor: Bain
“Estimating the Limits of Infiltration in the Urban Appalachian Plateau"

Pfister, Samantha, MS
Advisor: Capo
“Geochemical and Lithium Isotope Characterization of Ogallala Aquifer and Permian Basin Carbonate Reservoir Waters at an Enhanced Oil Recovery Site, Northwest Texas, USA”

Rak Adam J., MS
Advisor: McQuarrie
“Geometry, Kinematics, Exhumation, and Sedimentation of the Northern Bolivian Fold-Thrust-Belt-Foreland Basin System”

Reath, Kevin, Ph.D.
Advisor: Ramsey
“Thermal Infrared Analysis of Volcanic Processes”

Spaulding, Richard, MS
Advisor: Harbert
“A Quantitative Assessment of Atmospherically Generated Foam Cements: Insights, Impacts, and Implications of Wellbore Integrity and Stability”


Hillman, Aubrey, Ph.D.
Advisor: Abbott
“Lake Sediment Records Examining the Spatial and Temporal Connections of Human Activity and Climate Change in Southwestern China”

Hopkins, Kristina, Ph.D.
Advisor: Bain
“From Small Watersheds to Regions: Variation in Hydrologic Response to Urbanization”

Kolesar, Courtney, MS
Advisor: Capo
“Strontium Isotopes Test Long-Term Zonal Isolation of Injected and Marcellus Formation Water after Hydraulic Fracturing”

Misner, Tamara, PhD
Advisor: Bain
“Geochemical and Lithologic Response of an Upland Watershed over the Past 800 Years to Landscape Changes in Southern Burgundy , France”

Mur, Alan, PhD
Advisor: Harbert
“Experimental Rock Physics and Applied Geophysical Models for Long-Term Monitoring of Carbon Dioxide Injected Reservoirs”

Pompeani, David, Ph.D.
Advisor: Abbott
“Human impacts on the environment over the Holocene in Michigan and Illinois using lake sediment geochemistry”


Delaney, Daniel , MS
Advisor: Harbert
“Ultrasonic Seismic Wave Attenuation, Petrophysical Models and Work Flows for Better Subsurface Imaging, Energy Exploration, and Tracking of Sequestrated Carbon Dioxide”

Divers, Marion Teresa, PhD
Advisor: Elliott
“Sources and Dynamics of Reactive Nitrogen to an Urban Watershed”

Gardiner, James, PhD
Advisor: Capo
“Isotopic Investigation of Subsurface Rock and Fluid Interactions: Case Studies of CO2 Sequestration and Gas-Bearing Shale Formations”

Glosser, Deborah, MS
Advisor: Abbott
“Environmental Health and Safety Dynamics of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania”

Hungerford, Jefferson D. G., PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
“The Mechanics of Subglacial Basaltic Lava Flow Emplacement: Inferring Paleo-Ice Conditions”

Price, Mark A., MS
Advisor: Ramsey
“Thermophysical Characteristics of Mantled Terrestrial Volcanic Surfaces: Infrared Analogs to Arsia Mons”


Clark, Kaitlin, MS
Advisor: Abbott
“A 1000-Year Oxygen Isotope Record of South American Hydroclimate from Lake Junin in the Central Andes of Peru”

Felix, Joseph, PhD
Advisor: Elliott
“Examining the Sources and Transport of Reactive Nitrogen Emissions Using Stable Isotopes Techniques”

Graettinger, Alison, PhD
Advisor: Skilling/Ramsey
“Building Ice-Age Askja: Processes, Products, and Paleoclimate”

McGuire, Mary K., MS
Advisor: Anderson
“Distribution of Cogenetic Iron and Clay Deposits in the Central Appalachian Region”

Mohammad, Redha, PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
“Using Thermal Infrared (TIR) Data to Characterize Dust Storms and their Sources in the Middle East”    

Purcell, Christopher, PhD
Advisor: Harbert
“Velocity Measurements in Reservoir Rock Samples from a Limestone Unit Using Various Pore Fluids, and Integration with Well Logs and Seismic Data”

Chapman, Elizabeth, PhD
Advisor: Capo
"Fossil Fuel Related Water-Rock Interaction in the Appalachian Basin, Pennsylvania and New York: A Geochemical and Strontium Isotope Investigation"
Hillman, Aubrey, MS
Advisor: Abbott
"A 2500 Year Lake Sediment Record of Drought and Human Activity from Southwestern China"
Hughes, Christopher, PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
"Improved Mapping Accuracy of Planetary Surfaces Using Super-Resolution of Thermal Infrared Data"
Kagy, Holly, MS
Advisor: Skilling
"Interaction of Basaltic Dikes and Wet Lapilli Tuff at Glaciovolcanic Centers: A Case Study of Sveifluháls, Iceland as a Terrestrial Analog for Dike-Cryosphere Interaction on Mars"
Lee, Rachel, PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
"Thermal Emission Spectroscopy of Silicate Glasses and Melts: Applications to Remote Sensing of Glassy Volcanic Environments"
Mercurio, Emily Constantine, PhD
Advisor: Skilling
"Processes, Products and Depositional Environments of Ice-Confined Basaltic Fissure Eruptions: A Case Study of the Sveifluháls Volcanic Complex, SW Iceland"
Reath, Kevin, MS
Advisor: Ramsey
"Hyperspectral Thermal Infrared Analysis of the Salton Sea Geothermal Field"
Simoneau, Elizabeth, MS
Advisor: Skilling
"Eruption and Emplacement Mechanisms and Paleoenvironment of Phreatomagmatic Tephra at Koko Crater Tuff Cone, O’ahu, Hawaii"
Steinman, Byron, PhD
Advisor: Abbott
"Quantitative Drought Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest from Lake Sediment Records and Predictive Models"
Williams, Lindsay, MS
Advisor: Anderson
"Brittle Tertiary Detachments in the Specter Range, Southern Nevada, and their Implications for Groundwater Flow Southward from the Nevada Test Site"
Brubaker, Tonya Michelle, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"Strontium Isotope Systematics of Coal Utilization Byproducts and Their Interaction With Environmental Waters"
Middlecamp, Katherine Marie, MS
Advisor: Elliott
"Isotopic Investigation of Anthropogenic Sources of Atmospheric Nitrogen and Carbon Along Spatial Gradients"
Morealli, Sarah Angelina, MS
Advisor: Anderson
"Extension-Related Breccias: Implications for Groundwater Flow From Pahute Mesa to Near Beatty, Nevada"
Rose, Shellie, PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
"Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing of Active Basaltic Volcanoes: A Thermal and Spectral Deconvolution Approach"
Wolfe, Amy Lynn, PhD
Advisor: Stewart
"Oxidative Dissolution of Pyrite: A Combined Experimental and Iron Isotope Investigation"
Bird, Broxton Williams, PhD
Advisor: Abott
"Millennial- To Annual-Scale Holocene Climate Change in the Alaskan Arctic and Tropical Andes Inferred from Physical Sedimentology and Geochemical Indicators Preserved in Finely Laminated Alpine Lake Sediment Archives"
Scheidt, Stephen Paul, PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
"Aeolian System Dynamics Derived from Thermal Infrared Data"
Stansell, Nathan, PhD
Advisor: Abbott
"Rapid Climate Change in the Tropical Americas During the Late-Glacial Interval and the Holocene"
Carter, Adam Joseph, PhD
Advisor: Ramsey
"Quantitative Thermal Infrared Analyses of Volcanic Processes and Products: Application to Bezymianny Volcano, Russia"
Cassidy, Brianne Michelle , MS
Advisor: Abbott
"A 94-Year Lake Sediment Record of Industrial Pollutants in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area"
Kaminskiy, Vladislav F., PhD
Advisor: Harbert
"Geophysical Surveys Aimed To Save Human Lives By Facilitating Safety Assessment"
LaMoreaux, Kristen, MS
Advisor: Skilling
"Recognizing Ice-Contact Trachyte-Phonolite Lavas at The Mount Edziza Volcanic Complex, British Columbia, Canada"
Laó-Dávila, Daniel Alberto, PhD
Advisor: Anderson
"Serpentinite Emplacement and Deformation in Western Puerto Rico and Their Implications for The Caribbean North America Plate Boundary Tectonic History"
Mohammad, Redha, MS
Advisor: Harbert
"Geographical Information System Based Analysis of Paleofluvial Systems in the Kuwait Region"
Lipinski, Brian, PhD
Advisor: Harbert
"Integrating Geophysics and Geochemistry To Evaluate Coalbed Natural Gas Produced Water Disposal, Powder River Basin, Wyoming"
Piaschyk, Damian, MS
Advisor: Anderson
"Detachment Faults Between the Specter Range and Southern Spring Mountains: A Transpressional Fault Zone Along the Las Vegas Valley Shear Zone, Southeastern Nevada"
Robinson, Kevin, MS
Advisor: Rosenmeier
"A Holistic Paleolimnological Study of North-Central Mongolian Lakes"
Spivak-Birndorf, Lev, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"Sequential Leaching Of Coal Utilization By-products: Geochemistry and Strontium Isotope Systematics"
Stafford, Sherry, PhD
Advisor: Capo
"Precambrian Paleosols as Indicators of Paleoenvironments on the Early Earth"
Cooke, Colin, MS
Advisor: Abbott
"Lake Sediment Archives of Atmospheric Pollution from the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes"
Hamel, Barbara, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"Application of Strontium Isotope Ratios as Tracers of Coal Mine Drainage Provenance and Abatement Efficiency in the Omega Mine, Morgantown, West Virginia"
Stansell, Nathan, MS
Advisor: Abbott
"Last Glacial Maximum Equilibrium-Line Altitude Reconstruction, Paleo-Temperature Estimates and Deglacial Chronology of the Mérida Andes, Venezuela"
Walden, Katherine, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"Neodymium and Strontium Isotope Investigation of the Precambrian Kalkkloof Paleosol, South Africa"
Zorn, Erich, MS
Advisor: Anderson
"Meso- and Micro-scale Analysis of Foliated Rocks of the Southern Coast Belt: A Transect from Whistler to Lillooet, British Columbia"
Bluth, Jessica, MS
Advisor: Skilling
"Syn-eruptive Incision of Koko Crater, Oahu, Hawaii by Condensed Steam and Hot Cohesive Debris Flows: A Re-interpretation of the Type Locality of 'U-Shaped' Channels"
Mest, Scott, PhD
Advisor: Crown/Ramsey
"Evolution of the Martian Highlands Geomorphic and Morphometric Analysis of Drainage Basins and Valley Networks & Multispectral Remote Sensing and Field Analyses of Channel Morphology and Bed Deposits of Intermittent Streams in Sub-arid and Arid Regions"
Nelson, Daniel, MS
Advisor: Abbott
"Holocene Paleoenvironmental History from Stable Isotopes in Lake Sediment, North-Central Washington State"
Osgood-Kutchko, Barbara, MS
Advisor: Abbott
"Late Holocene Climate Inferred From Varved Sediments: Blue Lake, Brooks Range, Alaska"
Beatty, William, PhD
Advisor: Rollins
"The Role of Spinose Ornament in Predator Deterrence and Epibiont Colonization: the Bivalve Arcinella, Pinecrest (Pliocene) of Florida"
Coyle, Paul, MS
Advisor: Anderson
"Structural and Stratigraphic Controls on the Distribution of the Buhrstone Siliceous Iron Ore, Allegheny Plateau, West Central Pennsylvania"
Deemer, Danielle, MS
Advisor: Anderson
"Structural History of Transpressional Deformation at a Constraining Bend at the Northern Terminus of the Las Vegas Valley Shear Zone, Mercury, Nevada: Implications for the Formation of the Yucca Mountain Region"
Grgich, Paula, MS
Advisor: Harbert
"Delineating the Subsurface: Using Surface Geophysics to Define Groundwater Flow Paths in a Carbonate Aquifer"
Homsey, Lara, MS
Advisor: Capo
"Geochemical Characterization of Archaeological Sediments at Dust Cave, Alabama"
Kairies, Candace, PhD
Advisor: Capo
"Characterization of Iron Hydroxide Precipitates Associated with Abandoned Mine Drainage in the Bituminous and Anthracite Regions of Pennsylvania"
Kuhn, Sally, MS
Advisor: Ramsey
"Characterization of Dome Processes at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat: Synthesis of Infrared Remote Sensing Data with a Multi-parameter Database"
Love, Erica, MS
Advisor: Harbert
"Utilization of Airborne Thermal Infrared Imagery and Helicopter Mounted Electromagnetic Conductivity to Delimit Abandoned Mine Drainage and Abandoned Mine Pools in the Kettle Creek Watershed in North Central Pennsylvania"
Misner, Tamara, MS
Advisor: Ramsey
"Multi-frequency, Multi-temporal, Brush Fire Scar Analysis in a Semi-arid Urban Environment"
Piatek, Jennifer, PhD
Advisor: Hapke
"Size-dependent Scattering Properties of Planetary Regolith Analogs"
Wright, Shawn, MS
Advisor: Ramsey
"Thermal Infrared Data Analyses of Meteor Crater, Arizona: Implications for Mars Space-borne Data from the Thermal Emission Imaging System"
Bryant, Elizabeth, MS
Advisor: Capo
"Geochemical Modeling of Coal Mine Drainage From a Bituminous Coal Field in Western Pennsylvania"
Byrnes, Jeffrey, PhD
Advisor: Crown
Thesis title not available
Fouzan, Alfouzan, MS
Advisor: Harbert
Thesis title not available
Hellman, Melanie, MS
Advisor: Ramsey
"Analysis of Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park Using ASTER and AVIRIS Remote Sensing"
Hobbs, Gina, MS
Advisor: Evans
"Characterizing Paleofluids in the Western Valley and Ridge Province of West Virginia: Uncovering the Path of Migrating 'Warm' Fluids"
Kim, Ann, PhD
Advisor: Stewart
"Fluid Extraction of Metals from Coal Fly Ash: Geochemical Simulation of Natural Leaching"
Lydy, Kristen, MS
Advisor: Evans
"Strain Partitioning, Mineralogy, and Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) of the Oriskany Sandstone of Northeastern West Virginia"
Dembosky, John, PhD
Advisor: Anderson
"Paleotectonic Restoration of Miocene Estensional Strain of Crystalline Rock Provinces and Terranes in Southwestern North America"
Minervini, Joseph, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"Radiogenic Isotope Investigation of Sources, Transport, and Deposition of Rare Earth Elements in the Owens Lake Drainage Basin, Eastern California"
Pierce, Timothy, MS
Advisor: Crown
"Morphologic and Topographic Analyses of Martian Debris Aprons"
Reynolds, Amanda, MS
Advisor: Capo
"Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of the Permo-Pennsylvanian Dunkard Basin: Geochemical Evidence for Lacustrine Core and Associated Paleosols"
Schatzel, Steven, PhD
Advisor: Stewart
"An Evaluation of the Origin and Post-Depositional Modification of Coal Mineral Matter Using Rare Earth Elements and Neodymium Isotopes"
Hale, Amy, PhD
Advisor: Hapke
"A Time Dependent Model of Radiative and Conductive Thermal Energy Transport in Planetary Regoliths with Applications to the Moon, Mercury and Io"
Lauffer, Sharon, MS
Advisor: Harbert
"Fault Sets, Systems and Basins, Yucca Mountain Region, Nevada: A Geographic Information Systems-Based Kinematic Analysis"
Pretti, Victoria, MS
Advisor: Stewart
"Geochemistry and Strontium Isotope Composition of Eastern Sierra and Western White-Inyo Mountain Streams: Solute Sources in Sierra Nevada Stream Water"
Sleeman, Garrett, MS
Advisor: Donahue
"Holocene Depositional History of Bac Ninh Provence, Vietnam: Effects of Geomorphic Development on Site Distribution"
Winters, William, MS
Advisor: Capo
"Hydrogeologic and Geochemical Evolution of a Bituminous Coal Basin, Irwin Syncline, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
Zimmerman, Sarah, MS
Advisor: Harbert
"GIS Analysis and Stress Modeling of Tectonic Blocks at Cape Kamchatka, Russia Using Principal Stress Proxies From High Resolution SAR: New Evidence for the Komandorksiy Block"