Shanan Peters

Shanan PetersGreat Unconformity
Dean L. Morgridge Professor

Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology
(608) 262-5987
Email: peters -at- geology dot wisc dot edu
Office: 495 Weeks Hall

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I look at the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines. – C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species

My current research emphasis involves quantifying the rock record in order to better understand which lines of earth history have been preserved, why they have been preserved, and to what effect. Specifically, I use macrostratigraphy to test hypotheses that span a range of earth systems, including the evolution of marine and terrestrial life, the carbon cycle and global climate, and cycling rates of geologic materials via tectonic uplift and subsidence.  Students interested in new approaches to quantifying the rock record at any spatial and temporal scale should drop me a line.

Macrostratigraphy is cool, but I really live for and enjoy sed-paleo in the field. Some of my exploits include:

1) Eocene marine sequence stratigraphy, climate change and vertebrate taphonomy in Egypt [pdf]
2) Maastrichtian terrestrial stratigraphy, paleogeomorphology, and vertebrate taphonomy in India [pdf]
3) Cambrian marine stratigraphy and paleontology in western Montana [coming soon…]

Students interested in field-oriented paleo-strat problems or anyone who is skilled in programming and quantitative analysis of geological data should drop by. There’s a lot to do.


Synthesis of fundamental stratigraphic and paleobiological data is critical to addressing many important questions, ranging from the global trajectory of biodiversity to long-term carbon cycling. I am involved in several relevant database initiatives


I regularly teach:

  • GEO110: Evolution and extinction
  • GEO376: Undergraduate spring break field trip
  • GEO430/431: Sedimentology and stratigraphy lecture/lab
  • GEO875: Topical graduate seminars in sedimentary geology/paleobiology and analytical methods