Karl E. Karlstrom

Distinguished Professor

Photo: Karl E. Karlstrom
Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 1981
Northrop Hall Rm. 205

Related Website/s

Research Area/s:

Tectonics/Structural Geology

Personal File/s:

Curriculum vita

Research and Academic Interests:

Structural Geology and Tectonics. Research interests in field and analytical studies of ductile rock deformation; growth and assembly of Proterozoic continental lithosphere in North America; and studies of the dynamic interaction of deformation, pluton ascent, emplacement and metamorphism. Studies of Cenozoic uplift history of the Western U.S., including dynamic topography, mantle-to-surface interactions, and tectonic geomorphology. Grand Canyon geology and outreach.

Recent Publications:


Karlstrom, K.E., Mohr, M.T., Schmitz, M.D., Sundberg F.A., Rowland, S.M., Blakey, R., Foster, J.R., Crossey, L.J., Dehler, C.M., and Hagadorn, J.W., 2020, Redefining the Tonto Group of Grand Canyon and recalibrating the Cambrian time scale: Geology, v. 48, p. XXX–XXX, https://doi.org/10.1130/G46755.1.
Sundberg, F.A., Karlstrom, K.E., Geyer, G., Foster, J.R., Hagadorn, J.W., Mohr, M.t., Schmitz, M.D., Dehler, C.M., and Crossey, L.J., 2020, Asynchronous trilobite extinctions at the early to middle Cambrian transition: Geology, v. 48, p, https://doi.org/10.1130/G46913.1.
Thacker, J.O., Karlstrom, K.E., Crossey, L.J., Crow, R., Beard, L.S., Dorsey, R.J., 2017, Hypothesis for post-Bouse distributed deformation of the Lower Colorado River corridor: ECSZ Does It, Revisiting the Eastern California shear zone, Robert E. Reynolds, editor, p. 158- 164. (Link to online PDF)


Aslan, A., Karlstrom, K.E., Kirby, E., Heizler, M.T., Granger, D.E., Feathers, J.F., Hanson, P.R., Mahan, S.A., 2019, Resolving time-space histories of Late Cenozoic bedrock incision along the Upper Colorado River, USA: Geomorphology, v. 347,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.106855.

Crow, R.S., Howard, K.A., Beard, L.S., Pearthree, P.A., House, P.K., Karlstrom, K.E., Peters, L., McIntosh, W., Cassidy, C., Felger, T.J., and Block, D., 2019, Insights into post-Miocene uplift of the western margin of the Colorado Plateau from the stratigraphic record of the lower Colorado River: Geosphere, v. 15, no. 6, p. 1826–1845, https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02020.1.

Eyster*, A.E., Weiss, B.P., Karlstrom, K.E., Kremers, J.K., Macdonald, F.A., 2019, Paleomagnetism of the Chuar Group and evaluation of the 780-720 Ma apparent polar wander path of Laurentia with implications for the makeup and breakup of Rodinia: Geological Society of America Bulletin.

Karlstrom, K.E., and Crossey, L., 2019, The Grand Canyon Trail of Time Companion: Geology essentials for your canyon adventure: Albuquerque, NM, Trail of Time Press, 142 p. (Link to online PDF)

Karlstrom, K.E., and Crossey, L.J., 2019, Classic Rock Tours 3. Grand Canyon Geology, One hundred and Fifty Years after John Wesley Powell: A geology guide for visiting the south Rim of Grand Canyon National Park: Geoscience Canada, v. 46, https://doi.org/10.12789/geocanj.2019.46.153, p. 163–193.

Karlstrom, K., Crossey, L., Huntoon, P., Billingsley, G., Timmons, M., Crow, R., 2019, One Hundred and Sixty Years of Grand Canyon Geological Mapping: Journal of Arizona History, v. 60, n. 4, p. 655-674.

Karlstrom, K.E., Crossey, L.J., Humphreys, E., Shuster, D., Whipple, K., and Crow, R. 2019, Age and Carving of Grand Canyon: Toward a Resolution of 150 Years of Debate: GSA Today, v. 30, n. 2, https://doi.org/10.1130/GSAT-TFF-GC.1.

Keppel, M.N., Karlstrom, K., Crossey, L., Love, A.J. and Priestley, S., 2019. Evidence for intra-plate seismicity from spring-carbonate mound springs in the Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre region, South Australia: implications for groundwater discharge from the Great Artesian Basin. Hydrogeology Journal, pp.1-15.

Walk, C.J., Karlstrom, K.E., Crow, R.S., and Heizler, M.T., 2019, Birth and evolution of the Virgin River fluvial system: ~1 km of post–5 Ma uplift of the western Colorado Plateau: Geosphere, v. 15, no. X, p. 1–24, https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02019.1.


Karlstrom, K., Hagadorn, J., Gehrels, G., Matthews, W., Schmitz, M., Madronich, L., Mulder, J., Pecha, M., Giesler, D. and Crossey, L., 2018. Cambrian Sauk transgression in the Grand Canyon region redefined by detrital zircons. Nature Geoscience, v. 11, p. 438-443.

Crow, R.S., Karlstrom, K.E., Crossey, L.J., Polyak, V.J., Asmerom, Y. and McIntosh, W.C., 2018. Carving Grand Canyon’s inner gorge: A test of steady incision versus rapid knickzone migration. Geosphere, v. 14.

Mulder, J.A., Karlstrom, K.E., Halpin, J.A., Spencer, C.J., Berry, R.F., Merdith, A.S., Gehrels, G.E., Pecha, M., McDonald, B., 2018, Rodinian devil in disguise: Correlation of 1.25—1.10 Ga strata between Tasmania and Grand Canyon refines Rodinia: Geology, v. 46, p. 991-994.

Lamb, M.A., Beard, L.S., Dragos, M., Hanson, A.D., Hickson, T.A., Sitton, M., Umhoefer, P.J., Karlstrom, K.E., Dunbar, N., and McIntosh, W., 2018, Provenance and paleogeography of the 25–17 Ma Rainbow Gardens Formation: Evidence for tectonic activity at ca. 19 Ma and internal drainage rather than throughgoing paleorivers on the southwestern Colorado Plateau: Geosphere v. 14.

Holland*, M.E., Karlstrom, K.E., Gehrels, G., Shufeldt, O.P., Begg, G., Griffin, W., and Belousova, E., 2018, The Paleoproterozoic Vishnu basin in southwestern Laurentia: Implications for supercontinent reconstructions, crustal growth, and the origin of the Mojave crustal province: Precambrian Research, v. 308.

 *Priestley, S.C., Karlstrom, K.E., Love, A.J., Crossey, L.J., Polyak, V.J., and Asmerom, Y., 2018. Uranium series dating of Great Artesian Basin travertine deposits: Implications for palaeohydrogeology and palaeoclimatology: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 490, 163-177.

McGibbon, C., Crossey, L.J., Karlstrom, K.E. and Grulke, T., 2018. Carbonic springs as distal manifestations of geothermal systems, highlighting the importance of fault pathways and hydrochemical mixing: Example from the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. Applied Geochemistry, v. 98, p. 48-57.

Pecha, M.E., Gehrels, G.E., Karlstrom, K.E., Dickinson, W.R., Donahue, M.S., Gonzales, D.A., and Blum, M.D., 2018, Provenance of Cretaceous through Eocene strata of the Four Corners region: Insights from detrital zircons in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado: Geosphere, v. 14, no. 2, p. 1–27.

Rooney, A.D., Austermann, J., Smith, E.F., Yang, L., Selby, D., Dehler, C.M., Schmitz, M.D., Karlstrom, K.E., and Macdonald, F.A., 2018, Coupled Re-Os and U-Pb geochronology of the Tonian Chuar Group, Grand Canyon: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 129, p. 1085-1098.

Aslan, A., Boraas-Connors, M., Sprinkel, D., Becker, T.P., Lynds, R., Karlstrom, K.E., and Heizler, M., 2018, Cenozoic collapse of the eastern Uinta Mountains and drainage evolution of the Uinta Mountains region: Geosphere, v. 13, no. 6, p. 1–26.