Our Work and Goals

MNiMORPH is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU). This colloaboration bridges Earth Science-focused programs and laboratories at the flagship campuses in the state and land grant university systems in Minnesota. As such, MNiMORPH is a regional collaboration focused on understanding landscape evolution, long- and short-term river-system change, deglacial and peri/paraglacial systems, and coupled human-environment interactions (e.g. land use practices, natural hazards, climate change, geoarcheology) in the upper Midwest and beyond.

We approach geomorphology and, broadly, the science of Earth’s surface as the essential link between climate, human activities, geodynamic processes, Earth history, and the environment in which we live. Our group approaches scientific inquiry:

  1. to encourage and foster equity, diversity, and inclusion in Earth Science,
  2. with a broad eye towards interdisciplinary knowledge and in the spirit of open-minded inquiry in Earth System Science,
  3. through precise physical and mathematical approaches to build and operationalize theory,
  4. and by connecting and refining theory through furthering the disciplinary tradition of field investigation via utilization of state-of-the-science field and laboratory-based methodologies.

University of Minnesota

The surface-processes group at the University of Minnesota blends field investigations, numerical modeling, geospatial analyses, laboratory experiments, and instrumentation design and fabrication to address changes in past and present glaciers and ice sheets, river systems, sea level, and landscapes. Our major research directions are into:

  • River-network response to climate and land-use change
  • Interactions between glaciers and ice sheets, terrestrial hydrology, and global sea level
  • Development of open-source geoscientific instrumentation

Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU)

Similary, the MNSU members of MNiMORPH blend field investigations, laboratory methods and analysis, geospatial data collection, modeling, and analysis, shallow geophysics (GPR), and soils/sediment analysis to investigate past and present processes operating in glacial, fluvial, aeolian, hillslope, periglacial, and human-environmental systems (e.g. Native America geoarcheology, environmental hazards/issues, natural disasters). Much of this work is done in collaboration with MNSU’s EARTH Systems Laboratory. (https://sbs.mnsu.edu/organizations/earth-systems-research-laboratory/). Our primary research foci are:

  • drainage basin evolution and reorganization; transverse drainage development; establishment of water resources
  • fluvial system response to extrinsic perturbation (climate, tectonics, land-use, base level)
  • outburst flood spillway evolution and associated natural and environmental hazards
  • geoarcheology and human-environment interactions in the Holocene in the upper Mississippi River basin
  • post-glacial paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic change (periglacial and aeolian systems)
  • piedmont geomorphology (alluvial fans and pediments)
  • natural hazards (primary landslides)
  • environmental issues (erosional and land-use impacts on water quality, soil degradation) and natural resources

Everybody matters - Welcome to the MNiMORPH Team!

Some of us are strong. Some of us are smart. Some of us make others laugh. Some have known Earth science since childhood, while others have recently discovered it. Some of us come up with problems, and some imagine solutions. Whether you haul a pack, write computer code, date samples, analyze remotely-sensed data, couple differential equations, inspire students, and/or build our community, you are welcome among us.