Shanan Peters

Position title: Professor


Phone: 608-262-5987

495 Weeks Hall

Macrostrat Lab
Shanan Peters

Curriculum Vitae


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 at continental and global scales in order to better understand Earth history and the role that the formation and destruction of rocks plays in governing the co-evolution of the Earth-life system. 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.

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

1) Disseminated carbonates and whole-rock geochemistry in the Bakken [html][pdf]
2) Eocene marine sequence stratigraphy, climate change and vertebrate taphonomy in Egypt [pdfpdf]
3) Maastrichtian terrestrial stratigraphy, paleogeomorphology, and vertebrate taphonomy in India [pdf]

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


Synthesis of field-derived stratigraphic and paleobiological data is critical to addressing many fundamental questions, ranging from the global trajectory of biodiversity to long-term sediment and carbon cycling and the oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere. I am involved in several relevant database initiatives:

I also developed and host Jack Sepkoski’s Online Genus Database.

Classes taught

  • GEO110: Evolution and extinction
  • GEO376: Undergraduate spring break field trip
  • GEO457: Huronian Supergroup mapping project (Spring 2022)
  • GEO430/431: Sedimentology and stratigraphy lecture/lab
  • GEO731: Carbonate geology
  • GEO875: Topical graduate seminars in sedimentary geology/paleobiology and analytical methods (Spring 2022)