Robert Thorson


My byline for Orion Magazine is: “Midwestern native, turned northwestern geologist, turned northeastern academic.” My main scholarly interest is the interactions between humans and their landscapes at the intersection of  historical archaeology, Anthropocene geology, environmental history, and American literature.   Specifically, I’m working to help create a science for stone walls, and to highlight the importance of the physical sciences for the writings of Henry David Thoreau. My public engagement involves, freelance journalism, book reviewing, committee service, frequent public talks, forensic consulting, books, podcasts, and videos, most notably for the Stone Wall Initiative and the Stone Pavilion Project.  My original research interests in glacial tectonics and paleo-limnology continue.


  • Ph.D. Geology. University of Washington, Seattle.
  • M.S. Geology.  University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
  • B.S.  Earth Science Teaching.  Bemidji State College, Minnesota


  • Honors Core: ERTH 1000E  – The Human Epoch: Living in the Anthropocene
  • Honors Core: ERTH 1055 – Earth Science and the American Landscape
  • ERTH 4210 / 5210 – Glacial Processes & Materials
  • ERTH 2050W – Communicating Earth and Environmental Science

Sample Publications




Robert Thorson
Contact Information
Office LocationBeach Hall 237
LinkPersonal Website