J. Douglas Walker

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Geology
Acting Chair
Co-Director, Isotope Geochemistry Laboratories
Union Pacific Resources Distinguished Professor
Primary office:
Slawson Hall, room 170J
University of Kansas
1420 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045


Dr. Walker's research interests are in integration of Tectonics, Geochronology, and GIS to better understand the geologic development of contractile and extensional systems.


Ph.D., Geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.S., Geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

B.S., Geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Teaching Interests

  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology
  • Error Analysis
  • Tectonics
  • Regional Geology


My research interests are in integration of Tectonics, Geochronology, and GIS to better understand the geologic development of contractile and extensional systems. The main problems I am pursuing are 1) The development of contractile belts in a backarc setting. This research focuses on the interaction of plutons with faulting along the backarc margin of arcs. 2) Response of the lithosphere to extensional deformation. This work is multifaceted in that it approaches lithospheric deformation from a field point of view as well as using isotope geochemistry to better understand the coupling of crustal deformation with responses of mantle melting in the subcrustal lithosphere and mantle. 3) GIS techniques in geology. My research in this area spans the gamut from developing software/hardware combinations for geologic mapping on laptops in the field to regional database development to solve tectonic problems.

Research Interests

  • Structural Geology
  • GIS
  • Geochronology
  • Isotope Geochemistry
  • Geoinformatics

Current Grants:

2018: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “MoonDB Phase 2: Restoration of Lunar Geochronological and Lunar Meteorite Data.” KU portion $62,011.

2017: National Science Foundation. “EarthCube Data Infrastructure: Collaborative Proposal: A unified experimental-natural digital data system for analysis of rock microstructures.” KU portion $ 285,982.

2016: National Science Foundation Subaward under “Integrated Earth Data Alliance: Continued Support for a Data Center that Allows Public Access and Discovery of Solid Earth Science Data from NSF-Funded Research.” K. Lehnert and S. Carbotte co-PIs at LDEO. KU portion ~$1,100,000.

2016: National Science Foundation. “EarthCube Data Infrastructure: Collaborative Proposal: Development of an Integrated Data System for the Geological Field Sciences.” PI with Co-PIs P. Alexander and D. Kamola. Lead Institution. KU portion $740,338.

2015: National Science Foundation. Subaward under “Integrated Earth Data Alliance: Continued Support for a Data Center that Allows Public Access and Discovery of Solid Earth Science Data from NSF-Funded Research.” K. Lehnert and S. Carbotte co-PIs at LDEO. KU portion $198,802.

2014: National Science Foundation. “Collaborative Research: Geoinformatics: Development of Structural Geology and Tectonics Data System with Field and Lab Interface.” Lead Institution. KU portion $456,638

2012: National Science Foundation. “EarthCube Domain End-User Workshop for Structural Geology and Tectonics.” $50,000.

2012: ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company. "Detrital Zircon Geochronology Database Development."  $35,000.

2011: Department of Energy/University of Texas, Austin. “Novel Coupled Thermochronometric and Geochemical Investigation of Blind Geothermal Resources in Fault- Controlled Dilational Corners, Dixie Valley, Nevada”.  KU portion  $68,899.

2011: National Science Foundation. “Collaborative Research: Chronology and Paleoecology of late Quaternary Proboscidean Extinctions in the Great Lakes Region (USA).” $75,500.

2010: Department of Energy.  “Detachment Faulting and Geothermal Resources – An Innovative Integrated Geological and Geophysical Investigation in Fish Lake Valley, Nevada.” $~2,400,000.  Co-PI with D. Stockli.

2010: National Science Foundation.  Subaward under cooperative agreement for “Geoinformatics Facility Support: Integrated Data Collections for the Earth & Ocean Sciences: The Marine Geoscience Data System and the Geoinformatics for Geochemistry Program” made to K. Lehnert and S. Carbott at LDEO.  KU portion ~$1,250,000 for 2010 to 2015.



Refereed Papers and Reports († indicates current or former advisee, * for invited):

Walker, J.D., Tikoff, B., Newman, J., Clark, R., Ash, J.M., Good, J., Bunse†, E.G., Möller, A., Kahn, M., Williams, R., Michels, Z., Andrew†, J.E., and Rufledt, C., submitted, StraboSpot data system for Structural Geology: Geosphere.

Barth, A.P., Wooden, J.L., Riggs, N.R., Walker, J.D., Tani, K., Pennison-Dorland, S.C., Jacobson, C.E., Laughlin, J.D., and Hiramatsu, R., 2018, Marine volcaniclastic record of early arc evolution in the eastern Ritter Range pendant, central Sierra Nevada, California: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 19, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GC007456.

Walker, J.D., Geissman, J.W., Bowring, S.A., and Babcock, L.E., compilers, 2018, Geologic Time Scale v. 5.0: Geological Society of America, https://doi.org/10.1130/2018.CTS005R3C.

Macpherson, G.L, Walton, A.W., and Walker, J.D., 2018, A Cursory Look at the Geology of Northeastern Kansas: Lithology, Stratigraphy, Topography, and Influence on Culture: Earth Educators Rendezvous, 4th Annual Meeting Field Guide, 58 pp.

Bidgoli†, T., Tyrrell, J.P., Moeller, A., Walker, J.D., and Stockli, D., 2018, Conodont thermochronology of exhumed footwalls of low-angle normal faults: A pilot study in the Mormon Mountains, Tule Springs Hills, and Beaver Dam Mountains, southeastern Nevada and southwestern Utah: Chemical Geology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.06.026.

Rezvanbehbahani, S., Stearns, L.A., Kadivar, A, Walker, J.D., and van der Veen, C.J., 2017, Predicting the geothermal heat flux in Greenland: A machine learning approach: Geophysical Research Letters, DOI:10.1002/2017GL075661.

Andrew†, J.E., and Walker, J.D., 2017, Path of dextral fault slip in the Eastern California shear zone across the central Mojave Desert: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 129, p. 855–868, doi: 10.1130/B31527.1.

Widga, C., Lengyel, S., Saunders, J., Hodgins, G., Walker, J.D., and Wanamaker, A, 2017, Late Pleistocene Proboscidean Population Dynamics in the North American Midcontinent: Boreas, v. 46, p. 772–782, DOI: 10.1111/bor.12235.

Dutton, A., Rubin, K., McLean, N., Bowring, J., Bard, E., Edwards, R.L., Henderson, G.M., Reid, M.R., Richards, D.A., Sims, K.W.W., Walker, J.D., and Yokoyama, Y., 2017, Data Reporting Standards for Publication of U-series Data for Geochronology and Timescale Assessment in the Earth Sciences: Quaternary Geochronology, v. 39, p. 142-149, DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2017.03.001.

Widga, C., Walker, J.D., and Boehm, A., 2017, Variability in Bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr in the North American Midcontinent. Open Quaternary, 3: 4, pp. 1–7, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/oq.32.

Alm†, S., Walker, J.D., and Blake, K., 2016, Structural complexity of the Pirouette Mountain and Elevenmile Canyon Geothermal Systems: Transactions, Geothermal Resources Council, v. 40, p. 433-438.

Shilpakar, P., Oldow, J.S., Walker, J.D., and Whipple, K.X., 2016, Assessment of the uncertainty budget and image resolution of terrestrial laser scans of geomorphic surfaces: Geosphere, v. 12, p. 281–304, doi:10.1130/GES01113.1.

Ross, J., Ludvigson, G., Möller, A., Gonzalez, L., and Walker, J.D., 2016, Stable isotope paleohydrology and chemostratigraphy of the Albian Wayan Formation from the wedge-top depozone, North American Western Interior Basin: Science China Earth Sciences, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-016-0087-5.

Brueseke, M.E., Hobbs, J.M., Bulen, C.L., Mertzman, S.A., Puckett, R.E., Walker, J.D., and Feldman, J., 2016, Cambrian intermediate-mafic magmatism along the Laurentian margin: Evidence for flood basalt volcanism from well cuttings in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen (U.S.A.): Lithos.

Bidgoli†, T.S., Stockli, D.F., and Walker, J.D., 2015, Low-temperature thermochronologic constraints on the kinematic histories of the Castle Cliffs, Tule Springs, and Mormon Peak detachments, southeastern Nevada and southwestern Utah: Geosphere, v. 11, p. 850-867.

Bidgoli†, T., Amir, E., Walker, J.D., Stockli, D.F., Andrew†, J.E., and Caskey, J.S., 2015, Low-temperature thermochronology of the Black and Panamint mountains, Death Valley, CA: Implications for geodynamic controls on Cenozoic intraplate strain: Lithosphere, doi: 10.1130/L406.1.

Andrew†, J.E., Walker, J.D., and Monastero, F.C., 2015, Evolution of the central Garlock Fault zone, California: A major sinistral fault embedded in a dextral plate margin: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 127, p. 227–249, doi:10.1130/B31027.1.

Rittase†, W.M., Kirby, E., McDonald, E., Walker, J.D., Gosse, J., and Spencer, J., in press, Temporal variations in Holocene slip rate along the central 1 Garlock fault, Pilot Knob Valley, California: Lithosphere.

Gorynski†,K.E., Walker, J.D., and Stockli, D.F., 2014, Apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometry as an innovative geothermal exploration tool:  A case study from the southern Wassuk Range, Nevada: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.

Robertson, K., Simon, A., Pettke, T., Smith, E., Selyangin, O., Kiryukhin, A., Mulcahy, S.R., and Walker, J.D., 2013, Melt inclusion evidence for magma evolution at Mutnovsky volcano, Kamchatka:  Geofluids, doi: 10.1111/gfl.12060.

Gorynski†,K.E., Stockli, D.F., and Walker, J.D., 2013, Thermochronometrically constrained anatomy and evolution of a Miocene extensional accommodation zone and tilt domain boundary: the southern Wassuk Range, Nevada: Tectonics, v. 32, p. 516-539, doi: 10.1002/tect.20044.

Riggs, N.R., Reynolds, S.J., Lindner, P.J., Howell, E.R., Barth, A.P., Parker, W.G., and Walker, J.D., 2013, The Early Mesozoic Cordilleran arc and Late Triassic paleotopography: The detrital record in Upper Triassic sedimentary successions on and off the Colorado Plateau: Geosphere, v. 9, p. 602-613, doi:10.1130/GES00860.1.

*Walker, J.D., Geissman, J.W., Bowring, S.A., and Babcock, L.E., 2013, The Geological Society of America Geologic Time Scale: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 125, p. 259-272.

 Riggs, N., Barth, A, Gonzalez-Leon, C., Jacobson, C., Wooden, J., Howell, E., Walker, J.D., 2012, Provenance of Upper Triassic strata in southwestern North America as suggested by isotopic analysis and chemistry of zircon crystals: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 487, p. 13–36, doi:10.1130/2012.2487(02). 

Walker, J.D.,Geissman, J.W., Bowring, S.A., and Babcock, L.E., 2012, Geologic Time Scale v. 4.0: Geological Society of America, doi: 10.1130/2012.CTS004R3C

Barth, A.P., Feilen, A.D.G., Yager, S.L., Douglas, S.R., Wooden, J.L., Riggs, N.R., and Walker, J.D., 2012, Petrogenetic connections between ash-flow tuffs and a granodioritic to granitic intrusive suite in the Sierra Nevada arc, California: Geosphere; doi: 10.1130/GES00737.1.

Barth, A.P., Walker, J.D., Wooden, J.L., Riggs, N.R., and Schweickert, R.A., 2011, Birth of the Sierra Nevada magmatic arc: Geosphere, v. 7; no. 4; p. 877–897; doi: 10.1130/GES00661.1.

Widga, C., Walker, J.D., and Stockli, L.D., 2010, Bison Diet and Mobility in the Great Plains during the Middle Holocene: 87Sr/86Sr, d13C, and d18O Analyses: Quaternary Research, v. 73, p. 449-463.

Andrew†, J.A., and Walker, J.D.,  2009, Reconstructing Cenozoic deformation in the Panamint Valley region, eastern California, with implications for timing and magnitude of faulting in parts of the Central Basin and Range: Geosphere, v. 5, p. 172-198.

Khan, S.D., Walker, J.D., Hall, S.A.., Burke, K.C., Shah, M.T, and Stockli, L., 2009, Did the Kohistan-Ladakh Island Arc collide first with India?: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 121: 366 - 384.

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Upcoming Colloquium


2/25/21: Dr. Katherine Ryker, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina

3/25/21: Dr. Jonathan Payne, Professor, Geological Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

4/8/21: Dr. Peter Burgess, Professor of Sedimentary Geology and Head of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

4/29/21: Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Professor, Geoecology & Carbonate Sedimentology and Director of the Center for Marine Environmental Science, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany.

Geology Scholarship

The 2021-2022 Academic-Year Undergraduate Scholarship Award Application is now online.
Complete the online form to be considered for the scholarship award.