Department of Environmental Sciences

Faculty: Timothy G. Fisher, Ph.D.

Timothy G. Fisher

Professor of Geology
Ph.D., University of Calgary 1993
M.S., Queen's University
B.S., University of Alberta

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Quaternary History of the Great Lakes
  • Geomorphology
  • Midwest Glacial and Quaternary Geology

419.530.4572 |

ResearchCurrent Students
View Dr. Fisher's PublicationsPast Students
CoursesCurriculum Vitae (PDF)


Timothy G. Fisher researchResearch is primarily focused on:

Reconstructing the history, timing, and magnitude of discharge from the outlets of Lake Agassiz. This data can be considered baseline information for a variety of scientific disciplines. Importantly, oceanographers and climate modelers require this data to understand past climate changes (e.g. Younger Dryas) that may have been triggered by outlet switching.

Documenting and reconstructing paleo lake levels in the Great Lakes. Water levels in the Great Lakes, specifically the upper Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron) have changed as much as 100 m in the past 11,000 years, with much of that change driven by glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA) processes of the Earth’s crust rebounding from the weight of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the last ice age. Superimposed upon the GIA are changes in climate (precipitation, evapotranspiration) that result in water level variations of < 1m to ~ 2m over time periods of ~11 yrs to ~160 yrs. Unfortunately the investigations pf paleo lake level only have available records of high stands in water level to work with (e.g., beach ridges), thus what we know about fluctuation in lake levels is really fluctuations in high lake levels. How low the lakes dropped between high lake levels remains poorly understood. Submerged stumps and other geomorphic data can be used to develop a more thorough history of low stands in the Great Lakes.

Resolving triggering mechanism to sand dunes along the Great Lakes Coastlines. Many studies now have documented that most of the sand dunes along the Great Lakes coastlines formed after the Nipissing peak in lake level 4500 years ago. Informal consensus is that dunes were reactivated when lake levels and wave energy were high, brought about by increased storminess (cyclogenesis). Because age models to reconstruct dune history and lake levels have errors similar to quasi-periodic cycles of high stands, different approaches to establishing dune histories with new paleoenvironmental indicators are needed. 


View Dr. Fisher's Google Scholar page.



    Description and study of the earth's surface features from the point of view of their origin including landforms created by volcanism, tectonics, and erosional/depositional processes. Field trip required. [Fall] Prerequisite: EEES 1010 or 2100.
  • EEES 4100 / 5100 GLACIAL GEOLOGY [3 hours]
    To understand glaciers and glacial landscapes. Topics include mass balance, ice flow, hydrology, erosion, deposition, landforms, glacial lakes and development of the Ohio glacial landscape. Field trip is mandatory. [4100: Spring; 5100: Spring, odd years] Prerequisite: EEES 3100 or consent of instructor.
  • EEES 4200 / 5200 QUATERNARY GEOLOGY [3 hours]
    To provide understanding of such cyclical events as climate change, sea level fluctuations, vegetation change and ice sheet paleogeography during the Quaternary Period and to explore future changes for planet Earth. [4200: Spring; 5200: Spring, even years] Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
    To integrate glacial sedimentology and stratigraphy, with near-surface, geophysical methodologies. Field work to collect a variety of field data to analyze in the lab is mandatory. Data to be presented as posters. [Fall, every year; Fisher & Krantz] Prerequisite: consent of instructor.


Current Students

Thomas Zych MS 2020-
Terrace chronologies of the Maumee River valley in the western Lake Erie basin


Past Students

Alexander Sodeman MS 2020
Parallel Tunnel Channels: On the Stratigraphy and Formation of a New Variety of Tunnel Channel from the Huron-Erie Lobe.
Fulbright Scholar Awardee
PhD student at Simon Fraser University

Maureen Casaus MS 2023

Geomorphic and chronologic assessment of glacial Lake Agassiz strandlines, Polk County, NW Minnesota

Working as a geologist for AECOM consultants in San Francisco, CA.

Thomas Valachovics MS 2019
The Chronology of Glacial Landforms Near Mongo, Indiana - Evidence for the Early Retreat of the Saginaw Lobe
Working as a Geologist for the Ohio Geological Survey.

Jonathan Luczak MS 2018
History and Chronology of the Imlay Channel, MI
Working as a Geologist at the South Dakota Geological Survey. 

Mitchell Dziekan MS 2017
Origins of Basal Sediment within Kettle Lakes in Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana
Working as a Geologist, BARR Engineering Co., Ann Arbor, MI.

Jennifer Horton MS 2015
Deglacial history of the Huron Erie Lobe in Indiana and Ohio
Working as Geologist, Minnesota Geological Survey.

Kira Baca MS 2013
Environmental impacts on the development and dune activity of Oxbow Lake along the southwest coast of Lake Michigan at Saugatuck, MI, USA
Working as a high school science teacher. 
Joe Blockland MS 2013
The Surficial Geology of Fulton County, Ohio: Insight into the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene Glaciated Landscape of the Huron-Erie Lake Plain, Fulton County Ohio, USA
Working as an adjunct instructor at Prairie State College, IL.
Brad Anderson MS 2011
Rhythmic sedimentation in ancestral Lake Erie: estimating duration above the Lake Warren level, NW Ohio
Working as a consulting geologist.
Barb Hanes MS 2010
Paleo-storminess in the southern Lake Michigan basin, as recorded by eolian sand downwind of dunes
Working as geologic specialist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Mario Castaneda MS 2009
Chronology of Sand Point at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Teaching geology in Honduras; working as a geologist for the Honduran government.

Brittany Austin MS 2007
Late Wisconsin history and molluscan paleoecology of Stony and Silver Lakes, Oceana County, MI, USA
Working as a consulting geologist.

Melinda (Campbell) Higley MS 2009
Surficial geology mapping of the dune-dominated Whitehouse 7.5’ Quadrangle
Ph.D. at UIUC, Assistant Professor Calvin College, MI.

Henry Loope MS 2006
Deglacial chronology and glacial stratigraphy of the western Thunder Bay Lowland, Northwest Ontario, Canada
Employed as research glacial geologist, Indiana Geological Survey.

Amber Boudreau MS 2005
Constraining the Nipissing transgression in Lake Michigan
Working as a consulting geologist for the Wisconsin Geology and Natural History Museum.

Kelly Weyer MS 2005
Can eolian sand in lakes downwind of perched dunes be used as a proxy for paleo Lake Michigan levels?
Working as a consulting geologist.



Last Updated: 9/25/23