Phillips Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies, emeritus

Robert Carson

Check out Bob's recent project on the History of the Whitman College Geology Department

A.B., Cornell University, 1963

(senior thesis on Tolley's Cave, Rockbridge County, Virginia)

M.S., Tulane University, 1967
(thesis on stratigraphy of Ordovician limestones, Virginia)

Ph.D., University of Washington, 1970
(dissertation on Quaternary geology of Olympic Peninsula, Washington)


Bob Carson was born and raised in Lexington, Virginia. Mountaineering, whitewater boating, and spelunking in Virginia and during summers in New England sparked his interest in geology. His professional geologic career began with Texaco, exploring for petroleum in Louisiana and phosphate in Florida. He also worked as a geologist for the Washington Department of Ecology and the Washington Geological Survey.

Bob's teaching career began at North Carolina State University and then at the University of Oregon. He joined the faculty at Whitman College in 1975. He considers himself an environmental geologist and a Quaternary geologist. His advanced courses (geomorphology, glacial geology, climate change, and water resources) deal with late Cenozoic geologic history, surficial processes, landform evolution, and environmental problems. He has a half-time appointment in Whitman's environmental studies program, and is particularly interested in resources, pollution, forests, and the oceans. His passions include mountaineering, volcanoes, and whitewater.

Bob has taught on the Semester-At-Sea program twice, and has directed foreign study programs in London, England, and in Asturias, Spain. Most of his research is on Quaternary geology in Washington, northeastern Oregon, northwestern Wyoming, and Mongolia.