Jeff Munroe

Professor of Geology

 Monday, 11-12; Wednesday 1:30-3 and by appointment
 McCardell Bicentennial Hall 414

Jeff Munroe was raised in Massachusetts and received an undergraduate degree in geology from Bowdoin College.  For his M.S. research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he studied the development of permafrost-affected soils on the north slope of Alaska.  In 1996 he began a research collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service in northern Utah that continues to this day.  Part of this work formed the basis of his Ph.D. dissertation, also at the UW-Madison, studying the glacial and post-glacial history of the Uinta Mountains.  Since coming to Middlebury in 2001 he has continued his work in Utah and has developed additional research studying environmental change in northeastern Nevada, glacier retreat in Glacier National Park, and the evolution of lake environments and mountain soils in northern Vermont.  He teaches courses on geomorphology, Quaternary geology, environmental geology, paleolimnology, and Arctic & Alpine Environments.  When not in the lab or doing fieldwork, he enjoys hiking and nordic skiing.

Please visit Jeff's website for more information.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE1306 - Mountains of the Northeast      

Mountains of the Northeast
The mountains of the northeastern U.S. are an integral part of the cultural and natural history of this region. In this seminar we will consider topics germane to northeastern mountains including the geologic origin of the northern Appalachians, characteristics of mountain environments, changing perceptions of northeastern mountains over time, mountains as resources for modern society, and challenges facing these environments today and in the future. Readings and discussion will be combined with field excursions to enhance our understanding of mountains from a variety of perspectives. 3 hrs sem./disc. CW SCI

Fall 2013

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GEOL0112 - Environmental Geology      

Environmental Geology
Geological processes form the physical framework on which ecosystems operate. We require an understanding of the geological environment in order to minimize disruption of natural systems by human development and to avoid hazards such as floods and landslides. This course is an overview of basic tectonic, volcanic, and landscape-forming processes and systems, including earthquakes, rivers, soils, and groundwater. Environmental effects of energy, mineral, and water resource use, and waste disposal are also examined. Weekly field labs after spring break. Registration priority for first and second-year students. 3 hrs. lect./disc., 3 hrs. lab/field trips SCI

Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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GEOL0170 - The Dynamic Earth      

The Dynamic Earth
Sea-floor spreading and continental drift, earthquakes and volcanoes, origin and evolution of mountain systems, and concepts of plate tectonics are viewed in light of the geology of ocean basins and continents. Modern processes such as river, coastal, wind, and glaciers will be studied and their effect on shaping the geologic landscape. Laboratory: field problems in Vermont geology; interpretation of geologic maps, regional tectonic synthesis. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab/field trips SCI

Fall 2014

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GEOL0250 / GEOG0250 - Arctic and Alpine Environments      

Arctic and Alpine Environments
In this course we will focus on the physical processes and environmental issues unique to arctic and alpine environments. Topics will include cold-climate weathering and landforms, ecosystem adaptations to cold environments, and snow and snowpack hydrology. The goal is to provide a strong scientific grounding through which contemporary issues involving arctic and alpine regions can be understood. Laboratory exercises will include field trips to the surrounding mountains, as well as analysis of datasets from other alpine and high latitude environments. (Any 0100-level GEOL or GEOG course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Fall 2012, Spring 2016

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GEOL0251 / GEOG0251 - Geomorphology      

In this course we will investigate processes that shape the Earth's surface, including weathering, mass movements, and the effects of water, wind, and ice. Students will examine how such processes govern the evolution of landforms in differing climatic, tectonic, and lithologic settings. Field and laboratory study will focus on the role of active surficial processes, as well as glaciation and other past events, in development of the landscape of west-central Vermont. We will also discuss implications for human activities and maintenance of natural systems. (GEOL 0112 or GEOL 0161 or GEOL 0170 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Fall 2012, Fall 2016

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GEOL0257 - Soils, Geology & Environment      

Soils, Geology, and the Environment
Soils constitute the fundamental link between atmosphere, water, biota, and rock. Knowledge of the physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in soils is essential when assessing natural cycles as well as anthropogenic alterations to those natural cycles. In this course, we will analyze a wide range of issues, including soil formation, soil mineralogy, soil fertility and nutrient cycling, sediment pollution, soil contamination, water pollution, sediment erosion and deposition, and implications for land-use planning. Labs will be project-oriented and will consist of a combination of fieldwork and instrumental analysis. (ENVS 0112, any GEOL course, or waiver) SCI

Fall 2014

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GEOL0352 / GEOG0352 - Quaternary Geology      

Glacial and Quaternary Geology
In this course we will examine the causes and effects of glaciation along with the characteristics that make the Quaternary Period unique in geologic time. Topics will include glaciology, glacial erosion and deposition, glacier reconstruction, and techniques for interpreting and dating the Quaternary stratigraphic and paleoclimatic record from diverse terrestrial, lacustrine, and marine archives. Consideration also will be given to how severe climatic fluctuations impacted nonglacial environments. An overnight weekend field trip at the end of the semester will introduce students firsthand to alpine glacial landforms. (Any 0100-level geology or geography course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Spring 2014, Spring 2016

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GEOL0400 - Senior Thesis Research Seminar      

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
This seminar will focus on methods and strategies for completing advanced geological research and provides a springboard for senior thesis research. Topics will include field and laboratory techniques, primary literature review, and scientific writing. Students taking this course are expected to be simultaneously working on the early stages of their senior thesis research. During the semester students will present a thesis proposal and the seminar will culminate with each student completing a draft of the first chapter of their senior thesis. GEOL 0400 is required of all geology majors. 3 hrs. disc. or lab

Fall 2015

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GEOL0500 - Readings And Research      

Readings and Research
Individual or group independent study, laboratory or field research projects, readings and discussion of timely topics in earth and environmental science. (Approval only)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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GEOL0700 - Senior Thesis Research      

Upon completion of GEOL 0400, all senior geology majors will continue their independent senior thesis research by taking one unit of GEOL 0700. This research will culminate in a written thesis which must be orally defended. (Approval only)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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GEOL1033 - Paleolimnology      

In a glaciated region like the Northeast, lacustrine sediments can be analyzed to interpret evolution of a lake and the surrounding catchment since deglaciation. Students in this class will core a local lake through the ice and work in small groups analyzing the core in the laboratory. The results will be pooled, allowing each student to interpret the postglacial sedimentary, geomorphic, and ecologic history of the lake basin. Students will work independently and collectively, and will gain experience working with actual data on a project where the outcome is not known beforehand. Winter outdoor experience strongly recommended. SCI WTR

Winter 2014

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Recent Publications

  1. Schide, K.H.*, and Munroe, J.S., 2015: Alpine soil parent materials and pedogenesis in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire, U.S.A. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 47: 481-494.
  2. Munroe, J.S., Attwood, E.C.*, O’Keefe, S.S.*, and Quackenbush, P.J.M.*, 2015: Eolian deposition in the alpine zone of the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA. Catena, 124: 119-129.
  3. Bockheim, J.G., and Munroe, J.S., 2014: Organic carbon pools and genesis of alpine soils with permafrost: a review. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 46: 987-1006.
  4. Munroe, J.S., 2014: Properties of modern dust accumulating in the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA, and implications for the regional dust system of the Rocky Mountains. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39: 1979-1988.

*student co-author

Program in Environmental Studies

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest
531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753