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Freya Morris

Freya Morris

Visiting Assistant Professor of Geology

Hailing from the rocky coasts and evergreen forests of Maine, I began my higher education at Lafayette College – completing BS degrees in both geology and physics with the class of 2017. From there I pursued my Masters and PhD in geology at Caltech, advised by John Grotzinger, finishing in 2023. I have long been interested in becoming a professor at a small liberal arts college like my own alma mater and am excited to have joined the Whitman College faculty for the 2023-2024 academic year.

My research experience and interests revolve around using field-based sedimentology, stratigraphy, and structural geology to reconstruct paleoenvironments and basin evolution to refine our understanding of climate, sea level, tectonics, and the evolution of life through Earth history. Coupled with my field work I have used various geochemical methods to provide temporal constraints and glacial isostatic adjustment modeling to test viable sea level histories for intervals of deglaciation. My PhD thesis work involved using these techniques to study the basal-Ediacaran cap carbonate and associated deposits of the Marinoan ‘Snowball Earth’ found in the Naukluft Mountains of Namibia. Other research expeditions have included working with Cretaceous paleontologists in Montana, modern analog studies of carbonate marine systems in the Turks and Caicos, and investigations of upper Cambrian carbonates in eastern Pennsylvania.

Teaching at a college like Whitman I am invested in developing effective instruction and mentoring both in and outside the classroom. In particular, I intend to leverage my extensive field experience to create field experiences for students that are appropriately accessible and rigorous with special emphasis on developing their observational skills and appreciation for expansive geologic context.

GEOL 110 - Physical Geology
An introductory course teaching earth materials, the processes responsible for uplift and erosion, landforms, plate tectonics and the earth’s interior.
GEOL 125 - Environmental Geology
An introductory geology course focused on human interaction with the environment and earth resources.
GEOL 411 - Special Topics: Geologic Space-Time, Advanced Concepts of the Stratigraphic Record
An investigation of how the stratigraphic record is built and preserved across space and the variations of how time is represented in stratigraphy.
GEOL 418 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
An exploration of the applications and the conceptual framework for computer GIS, with labs teaching the use of ArcGIS Pro.

Morris, F. K., & Grotzinger, J. P. (2023). Facies and stratigraphy of the basal Ediacaran cap carbonate, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia. Precambrian Research, 394, 107113.

Morris, F. K., Pico, T., Creveling, J. R., and Grotzinger J. P. (in review). Melting the Marinoan Snowball Earth: The Impact of Deglaciation Duration on the Sea-Level History of Continental Margins, EPSL.

Morris, F. K., & Grotzinger, J. P. (in prep). Structural and Lithostratigraphic Framework of the Neoproterozoic Naukluft Nappe Complex, Gondwana Research.

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