Facebook pixel tracker

Catherine Beck

Catherine Beck
Catherine Beck

Chair, Associate Professor of Geosciences

Taylor Science Center 1024

Catherine Beck’s research focuses on reconstructing Cenozoic paleoenvironments from the sedimentary and stratigraphic records. In particular, she investigates how sediments from the East African Rift Valley preserve changes in paleoclimate and paleoenvironment through space and time. This work is strongly based in field research and continental scientific drilling, and Beck is particularly interested in coupling the study of lake sediments with paleoecology and stable isotope analyses in an effort to better constrain the conditions in which early hominins evolved. This work is supported by the Hamilton Isotope Lab (HIL), which Beck directs with the support of instrument technician Bruce Wegter.

Recent Courses Taught

  • Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • Evolution and the Environment
  • Climate Change
  • Senior Thesis and corresponding Social and Structural Hierarchies Seminar
  • Field Studies in the Desert SW


Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award, Spring 2017

Select Publications

See Google Scholar page for full list.

More... Less...

Journal Articles (student coauthors italicized)

  • Beck, C.C., Allen, M. M., Feibel, C. S., Beverly, E. J., Stone, J. R., Wegter, B., and Wilson, C. L., 2019, Living in a swampy paradise: Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of an African Humid Period lacustrine margin, West Turkana, Kenya: Journal of African Earth Sciences, v. 154, p. 20-34.
  • Beck, C.C., Feibel C.S., Wright, J.D., Mortlock, R.A. 2019, Onset of the African Humid Period by 13.9 Kyr BP at Kabua Gorge, Turkana Basin, Kenya: The Holocene. v. 29, no. 6, p. 1011-1019.
  • Lupien, R. L., Russell, J. M., Feibel, C., Beck, C., Castañeda, I., Deino, A., and Cohen, A. S., 2018, A leaf wax biomarker record of early Pleistocene rainfall from West Turkana, Kenya: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 186, p. 225-235.
  • van der Lubbe, H. J. L., Krause-Nehring, J., Junginger, A., Garcin, Y., Joordens, J. C. A., Davies, G. R., Beck, C., Feibel, C. S., Johnson, T. C., and Vonhof, H. B., 2017, Gradual or abrupt? Changes in water source of Lake Turkana (Kenya) during the African Humid Period inferred from Sr isotope ratios: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 174, p. 1-12.
  • Cohen, A., et al. (including Beck, C.), 2016, The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project: Inferring the Environmental Context of Human Evolution from Eastern African Rift Lake Deposits. Scientific Drilling, v. 21, p. 1-16.
  • Ridge J.C., Balco G., Bayless, R.L., Beck, C.C., Carter L.B., Dean, J.L., Voytek, E.B., Wei, J.H., 2012, The new North American varve chronology: A precise record of southeastern Laurentide ice sheet deglaciation and climate: 18.2-12.55 kyr BP: American Journal of Science, v. 312, p. 685-722.

Selected Conference Abstracts (student coauthors underlined)

  • Langston, J., Bedaso, Z.K., Beck, C.C., van der Lubbe, J., Henkes, G.A., Dirirsa, M., Wegter, B.C., 2019, Establishing terrestrial paleoclimate interpretive framework for modern biogenic carbonate from Ethiopia and the East African Rift System, AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts.
  • Tewksbury, B. J., Bailey, David G., Beck, C.C., Domack, C. R., Rayne, T. W., 2019, Integrating informed decision-making, a focus on Cascadia, and a seminar on ethics, social justice, power and gender, and promoting access to the geosciences to better prepare geoscience students for the 21st century work force, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 51, No. 5
  • LaBelle, M.Beck, C.C., Zaremba, N., Alexander, E., Wegter, B., Scholz C.A., 2018, Paleolimnological comparison of two subbasins in Tupper Lake, Adirondack Park, New York, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 50, No. 6.
  • Alexander, E.Beck, C.C., Feibel, C.S., Yost, C.L., Wegter, B., Mangold, L., Cohen, A., Campisano, C.J., 2018, Grain size analysis of the West Turkana Kaitio (WTK13) core and implications for paleoenvironments in the Turkana Basin 1.8 to 1.3 Ma, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 50, No. 6.
  • O’Brien, M.M.Beck, C.C., Martin, L., 2018, Ostracod assemblage analysis for paleoenvironmental reconstruction from the Pleistocene to Holocene Turkwel Cliff, West Turkana, Kenya, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 50, No. 6.
  • Beck, C. C., Feibel, C. S., Lupien, R., Yost, C. L., Rucina, S., Russell, J. M., Deino, A., Sier, M., Cohen, A. S., Campisano, C. J., 2017, Paleoenvironmental change as seen from a multiproxy perspective in the West Turkana Kaitio core (WTK13), Kenya, AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts.
  • Beck, C. C.Langworthy, M., Feibel, C. S., Beverly, E. J., and Horgan, J. S., 2017, Lower Miocene paleoenvironment and paleoclimate as recorded by the Locherangan Formation, Turkana Basin, Kenya, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 49, No. 6.
  • Allen, M.M.Beck, C.C.Langworthy, M., Feibel, C.F., Beverly, E.J., 2016, Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Holocene Galana Boi Formation at Kabua Gorge, Turkana Basin, Kenya: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol 48, No. 7.

Appointed to the Faculty: 2015

Educational Background

Ph.D., Rutgers University
M.S., Rutgers University
B.S., Tufts University

Back to Top