Eric Carson

Position title: Quaternary Geologist


Phone: (608) 890-1998

Department of Extension Faculty, UW-Madison
Affiliated Faculty
Department of Geoscience, UW-Madison
Affiliated Faculty
Department of Geography, UW-Madison
Eric Carson outside with green fields and an overcast sky behind him

Research interests

My primary research converges on the processes and sedimentary archives of streams near former glacial margins.  I am interested in questions ranging from millennial-scale variations in streamflow and flooding due to changes in past climates to historic records of landscape change and sediment mobility related to human-driven changes in vegetation cover and land use.  Within this framework, the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin is a prime example of this geomorphic setting and a major geographic focus for my research.

The primary projects I am currently pursuing in Wisconsin are STATEMAP-funded surficial geologic mapping in Grant County (to be expanded to a larger portion of the Driftless Area); an investigation of the sediments and stratigraphy in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley as a means of better understanding water supply, water flow, and flooding; and the completion of series of Survey publications on the glacial history of Door County.  Farther afield, my interest in stream systems near former glacial margins is the driving force behind research projects I am conducting in the Uinta Mountains of northeast Utah and the Finger Lakes region of western New York.

Current projects

See all my projects on an interactive map

Selected publications

Publications available to download

  • Attig, J.W., Hanson, P.R., Rawling, III, J.E., Young, A.R., and Carson, E.C., in review, Optical age indicate the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated from central Wisconsin’s Baraboo Hills beginning about 20,000 years ago: Quaternary Science Reviews.
  • Carson, E.C., 2009, Surficial-geologic map of the Kavik River area, west-central Mount Michelson Quadrangle, northeastern Brooks Range, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Report of Investigations 2009-3, scale 1:63,360, 1 sheet.
  • Carson, E.C., 2005, Fluvial geomorphology and hydrology of the sub-alpine streams in the Uinta Mountains, in Dehler, C.M., Pederson, J.L., Sprinkel D.A., and Kowallis, B.J., eds., Uinta Mountain Geology: Utah Geological Association Guidebook 33, p. 171-187.
  • Carson, E.C., 2006, Valley morphometry controls on flood conveyance and overbank alluvial sedimentation, West Fork Black’s Fork, Uinta Mountains, Utah, in Munroe, J.S., Laabs, B.J.C., and Carson, E.C., eds., Quaternary landscape change and modern processes in western North America: Geomorphology, v. 75, no. 3-4, p. 368-383.
  • Carson, E.C., 2007, Temporal and seasonal trends in streamflow in the Uinta Mountains, northeastern Utah, and relation to climatic fluctuations: Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, v. 39, no. 4, p. 521-528.
  • Carson, E.C., and Munroe, J.S., 2005, Tree-ring based reconstruction of streamflow for Ashley Creek, northeastern Utah: Implications for paleohydrology of the southern Uinta Mountains: The Holocene, v. 15, no. 4, p. 602-611.
  • Carson, E.C., Knox, J.C., and Mickelson, D.M., 2007, Response of bankfull flood magnitudes to Holocene climatic variations, Uinta Mountains, northeastern Utah: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 119, no. 9/10, p. 1066-1078.
  • Carson, E.C., Fournelle, J.H., Miller, T.P., and Mickelson, D.M., 2002, Holocene tephrochronology of the Cold Bay area, southwest Alaska Peninsula: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 21, no. 20-21, p. 2213-2228.
  • Laabs, B.J.C. and Carson, E.C., 2005, The glacial geology of the southern Uinta Mountains, in Dehler, C.M., Pederson, J.L., Sprinkel, D.A., and Kowallis, B.J. eds., Uinta Mountain Geology: Utah Geological Association Guidebook 33, p. 235-253.
  • Munroe, J.S., Laabs, B.J.C., and Carson, E.C., 2006, Preface to “Quaternary landscape change and modern processes in non-arid western North America”: Geomorphology, v. 75, no. 3-4, p. 281-282.
  • Munroe, J.S., Laabs, B.J.C., Pederson, J.L., and Carson, E.C., 2005, From cirques to canyon cutting: New Quaternary research in the Uinta Mountains: Geological Society of America Field Guide 6, p. 58-73.
  • Wartes, M.A., Reifenstuhl, R.R., Wallace, W.K., Peapples, P.R., Gillis, R., Strauch, A., and Carson, E.C., in review, Geologic map of the Kavik River area, Northeastern Brooks Range, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, scale 1:63,360, 1 sheet, 14 p. text.

Professional affiliations