Kuehl Home Page

Steven A. Kuehl


Email: [[kuehl]]
Phone: (804) 684-7118
Interests: Continental margins, river deltas, radioisotope geochronology, Anthropocene, paleoseismicity, paleoclimate
Office: Andrews Hall 232
Section: Coastal & Ocean Processes

  • B.A., Lafayette College, 1979
  • M.S., North Carolina State University, 1982
  • Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 1985
  • 2016 Reeves Faculty Fellowship Award, College of William & Mary
  • 2010 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence, College of William & Mary
  • 2009 Dean's Prize for Advancement of Women in Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • 1997 VIMS/SMS Outstanding Teacher Award, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • Energy Minerals Division Certificate of Excellence for poster presentation, American Association of Petroleum Geology Annual Meeting, Calgary, 1992.
  • Certificate of Recognition from NASA/ASEE for research contributions made through the 1991 Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.
  • Certificate of Recognition from NASA/ASEE for research contributions made through the 1990 Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.
Research Interests

Primary research in my Sediment Geochronology and Seabed Processes group centers on sediment dispersal and the accumulation of fine-grained sediments in continental margin environments. We study the environmental record preserved in marine sedimentary sequences to provide insight into continental margin evolution, human and natural changes, paleoclimate, and paleoseismicity. The formation of marine sedimentary strata rarely results from the simple settling of sedimentary material to the seafloor, but rather from the complex interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in the marine environment. These processes, such as resuspension and biological mixing, impart characteristic signatures to the sediment and control the burial and preservation of important sedimentary components such as organic carbon and anthropogenic materials. We are investigating the characteristics of recent sedimentary strata on spatial scales ranging from less than a mm to 100's of meters and on temporal scales from seconds to 1,000's of years in a variety of continental margin environments. Our studies are conducted in environmental settings around the world from the Chesapeake Bay, to tectonically active margins such as the North Island of New Zealand and Prince William Sound, Alaska, to sensitive river deltas such as the Amazon in Brazil, Ganges Brahmaputra in Bangladesh, and Ayeyarwady in Myanmar. 

Current Projects
  • "Fate of Irrwaddy and Salween River Sediment: Relative Importance of Oceanographic and Tectonic Controls." Funded by NSF.
  • "Sediment and Dispersal from the Copper River, Alaska, Following Record Snowfall: Implications for Future Climate Change?" Funded by NSF
  • "Hurricane Sandy Coastal Recovery and Resiliency: Resource Identification, Delineation, and Management Practices." Funded by BOEM.
Recent Publications
  • Kuehl, S.A., Miller, E.J., Marshall, N.R., Dellapenna, T.M., 2017.  Recent paleoseismicity record in Prince William Sound, Alaska USA.  Geo-Marine Letters, DOI 10.1007/s00367-017-0505-7.
  • Kuehl, S.A., Alexander, C.R., Blair, N.E., Harris, C.K., Marsaglia, K.M., Ogston, A.S., Orpin, A.R., Roering, J.J., Bever, A.J., Bilderback, E.L., Carter, L., Cerovski-Darriau, C., Childress, L.B., Corbett, D.R., Hale, R.P., Leithold, E.L., Litchfield, N., Moriarty, J.M., Page, M.J., Pierce, L.E.R., Upton, P. and Walsh, J.P., 2016. Source to Sink Perspective of the Waipaoa River Margin.  Earth-Science Reviews. 153, 301-334.
  • Walsh, J.P., Wiberg, P.L., Aalto, R., Nittrouer, C.A. and Kuehl, S.A., 2016.  Source-to-sink research: economy of the Earth’s surface and its strata. Earth-Science Reviews. 153, 1-6.
  • Pondell, C.R., Beck, A.J., Kuehl, S.A. and Canuel, E.A. 2016.  Application of Plutonium Isotopes to the Sediment Geochronology of Coarse-Grained Sediments from Englebright Lake, California (USA). Aquatic Geochemistry.  22, 97-115.
  • Goodbred, S.L., P.M Youngs. M.S. Ullah, R.D. Pate, S.R. Khan, S.A. Kuehl, S.K. Singh, W. Rahaman, 2014.  Piecing together the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River delta: Use of sediment provenance to reconstruct the history and interaction of multiple fluvial systems during Holocene delta evolution.  The Geological Society of America Bulletin. 126, 1495-1510.
  • Walsh, J.P., D.R. Corbett, A.S. Ogston, C.A. Nittrouer, S.A. Kuehl, M.A. Allison and S.L. Goodbred, 2013. Shelf and slope sedimentation associated with large deltaic systems, In: “Biogeochemical Dynamics at Major River-Coastal Interfaces” (T.S. Bianchi, et al., eds.).  Cambridge University Press, pp 86-117.
  • Leithold, E.L., N.E. Blair, L.B. Childress, B.R. Brulet, M. Marden, A.R. Orpin, S.A. Kuehl and C.R. Alexander, 2013.  Signals of watershed change preserved in organic carbon buried on the continental margin seaward of the Waipaoa River, New Zealand. Marine Geology, 346, 355-365.
  • Rodriguez-Calderon, C. and S.A. Kuehl, 2013.  Spatial and temporal patterns in erosion and deposition in the York River, Chesapeake Bay, VA.  Estuarine Coastal & Shelf Science, 117: 148-158.
  • Kuehl, S.A., M.E. Ketterer and J.L. Miselis, 2012.  Extension of 239+240Pu sediment geochronology to coarse-grained marine sediments.  Continental Shelf Research, 36, 83-88.
  • Kuehl, S.A. and C.A. Nittrouer, 2011.  Exploring the transfer of Earth surface materials from source to sink, Eos, 92 188.
  • Carter, L., A.R. Orpin and S.A. Kuehl, 2010.  From mountain source to ocean sink – the passage of sediment across an active margin, Waipaoa Sedimentary System, New Zealand, Marine Geology, 270:1-10
  • Kniskern, T.A., S.A. Kuehl, C.K. Harris and L. Carter, 2010.  Sediment accumulation patterns and fine-scale strata formation on the Waiapu River shelf, New Zealand, Marine Geology, 270:188-2010
  • Gerber, T.P., L.F. Pratson, S.A. Kuehl, J.P. Walsh, C. Alexander and A. Palmer, 2010.  The influence of sea level and tectonics on Late Pleistocene through Holocene sediment storage along the high-sediment supply Waipaoa continental shelf, Marine Geology, 270:139-159.
  • Miller, A.J. and S.A. Kuehl, 2009.  Shelf sedimentation on a tectonically-active margin: a modern sediment budget for Poverty continental shelf, New Zealand, Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.018.
  • Rose, L.E and S.A. Kuehl, 2009. Recent sedimentation patterns and facies distribution on the Poverty Shelf, New Zealand, Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.020.
  • Kniskern, T.A., S.A. Kuehl, C.K. Harris and L. Carter, 2009.  Sediment accumulation patterns and fine-scale strata formation on the Waiapu River shelf, New Zealand, Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2008.12.003
  • Canuel, E.A., E.J. Lerberg, R.M. Dickhut, S.A. Kuehl, T.S Bianchi and S.G. Wakeham, 2009. Changes in a highly-disturbed ecosystem: The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (California, USA). Marine Pollution Bulletin, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.03.025
  • Addington, L.D., S.A Kuehl and J.E McNinch, 2007.  Contrasting modes of shelf sediment dispersal off a high-yield river: Waiapu River, New Zealand, Marine Geology, 243:18-30.
  • Conrad, C.F., D. Fugate, J. Daus, C.J. Chisholm-Brause and S.A Kuehl, 2007.  Assessment of the historical trace metal contamination of sediments in the Elizabeth River, Virginia, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 54:385-395.
  • Orpin, A.R., C. Alexander, L. Carter, S.A. Kuehl and J.P. Walsh, 2006.  Temporal and spatial complexity in post-glacial sedimentation on the tectonically active, Poverty Bay continental margin of New Zealand, Continental Shelf Research, 26:2205-2224.
  • Kuehl, S.A., C. Alexander, L. Carter, L. Gerald, T. Gerber, C. Harris, J. McNinch, A. Orpin, L. Pratson, J. Syvitski and J.P.Walsh, 2006.  Understanding sediment transfer from land to ocean, Eos Feature Article, 87, No. 29, 281/286.
Current Postdocs and Students
  • Dr. Joshua Williams
    • 12/15 - present. "Geochemical Characterization of Prince William Sound and Copper River Sediments: A Proxy Development to Assess Climate-Driven Variations in a High-Resolution Sedimentary Record." NSF-OCE Postdoctoral Scholar.
  • Elizabeth Clyne (M.S.)
    • 8/14 - present. "High resolution Late Holocene sediment records on northern Prince William Sound, Alaska." VIMS Assistantship, 8/14 - present.
Past Students
  • Nicole Marshall (M.S.) "Signature of Recent Sediment Accumulating in Prince William Sound, Alaska: A Record of Storms, Earthquakes, and Seasonal Inputs." 8/13 - 8/15; VIMS Assistantship; Canadian Government Fellowship, Teaching Assistantship.
  • Eric Miller (M.S.) "High-Resolution Sediment Records of Seismicity and Seasonal Sedimentation From Prince William Sound, Alaska, Using XRF Core Scanning." College of William and Mary, 130 pp; 8/12 - 8/14; VIMS Fellowship; Teaching Assistantship.
  • Chia-Yu Wu (M.S.) (Co-Advised with Milliman) "Holocene Sedimentation on the Lanyang Plain and Adjacent Continental Shelf, Northeastern Taiwan," College of William and Mary, 60 pp. 11/12 - 6/13.
  • Rachel Reeves (W&M Senior Thesis) "Discussion of Sediment Density Measurements by X-Radiography and Gamma Ray Attenuation. 6/09 - 6/10.
  • Lila Rose (Ph.D.) "Poverty Shelf, New Zealand from the Holocene to Present: Straigraphic Development and Event Layer Presentation in Response to Sediment Supply, Tectonics and Climate," College of William and Mary, 274 pp; 6/08 - 6/12; NSF Research Assistantship; GK-12 Fellowship.
  • Morgan Gelinas (W&M Senior Thesis). "Benthic Regeneration as a Source of Nutrients in the York River." 1/08 - 6/09.
  • Cielomar Rodriguez (M.S.) "Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Erosional and Depositional Processes: Physical and Biological Controls in the York River, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia," College of William and Mary, 118 pp.; Hall Bonner Fellowship; NSF Research Assistantship
  • Annie Miller (M.S.)"Holocene and recent sediment budget for the Waipaoa shelf, a MARGINS focus area" 7/05 - present; VIMS Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship
  • Lila Gerald (M.S.) "Preservation of storm events in the shelf stratigraphic record off the Waipaoa River, NZ" 8/04 - present; VIMS Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship
  • Patrick Dickhudt (Ph.D.) (co-advised with C. Friedrichs) "TBA" 8/05 - present; VIMS Assistantship
  • Tara Kniskern (Ph.D.) (co-advised with C. Harris) "Modeling and observations of strata formation off a high-yield river system" 8/01- present; Teaching Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship
  • Lisa Addington (M.S.) "Distinguishing sediment transport modes to the outer-shelf off the Waiapu River, New Zealand " 8/03 - 12/05; VIMS Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship; Teaching Assistantship
  • Elizabeth Tennant (W&M Honors Thesis) "Late Quaternary climate and provenance signals of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta Plain, Bangladesh" (12/03-5/05; Graduated with High Honors)
  • Heidi Romine (M.S.) (co-Advised with C. Friedrichs) "Use of Be-7 and Th-234 to trace turbidity maxima migration in the York River" 8/00-06/04; NSF Research Assistantship; Teaching Assistantship
  • Josiah Schiavone (W&M Geology Senior Thesis) Sedimentation from the Waipaoa River, North Island, New Zealand"
  • Tara Kniskern (M.S.) 8/98-8/01; VIMS Research Assistantship, ONR Research Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship
    "Spatial and temporal variability of physical and biological mixing in the York River subestuary", College of William and Mary, 113 pp.
  • David Heroy (M.S.) 8/97-5/00; VIMS Research and Teaching Assistantships, NSF Research Assistantship "Sand- and Clay-Size Mineralogy of the Ganges Brahmaputra Rivers: Records of River Switching and Late-Quaternary Climate Change", College of William and Mary, 65 pp.
  • Steven Goodbred (Ph.D.) 8/94-5/99; VIMS Fellowship, NSF Research Assistantship "Sediment Dispersal and Sequence Development Along a Tectonically Active Margin: Late Quaternary Evolution of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta", College of William and Mary, 165 pp.
  • Timothy Dellapenna (Ph.D.) 9/94-8/99; ONR Research Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship "Fine-Scale Strata Formation in Biologically and Physically Dominated Estuarine Systems within the Lower Chesapeake and York River Subestuary", College of William and Mary, 273 pp.
  • Beth Levy (M.A.) 08/93-7/95; NSF Research Assistantship "High-Resolution Seismic Stratigraphy of the Ganges-Brahmaputra River System: Subaqueous Deltaic Progradation on the Bengal Shelf", College of William and Mary, 104 pp.
  • David Dukat (M.S.) 8/91-6/93; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/91-6/93 "Investigation of Non-Steady-State 210Pb Flux and the Use of 228Ra/226Ra as a Geochronological Tool on the Amazon Continental Shelf", University of South Carolina, 121 pp.
  • Marylin P. Segall (Ph.D.) 1/87-6/91; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 1/87-6/91 "Modern, Fine Grained Continental Margin Sedimentation As Revealed By Clay Size Mineralogy and Sedimentary Fabric", University of South Carolina, 227 pp.
  • Ty Fuglseth (M.S.) 8/88-6/91; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/88-6/91 "Organic Carbon Preservation in Deep Sea Environments: A Comparison Between the Sulu and South China Seas", University of South Carolina,115 pp.
  • Thomas Pacioni (M.S.) 8/89-6/91; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/89-6/91 "Temporal and Spatial Variability of Surface Mixed Layer Thickness on the Amazon Continental Shelf", University of South Carolina, 106 pp.
  • Ellen Underkoffler (M.S.) 8/88-6/90; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/88-6/90 "Non Steady State Sedimentation on the Amazon Continental Shelf", University of South Carolina, 80 pp.
  • Tina Hariu (M.S.) 8/86-12/88; Teaching Assistantship, 8/86-12/88 "The Nature of Continental Shelf Sedimentation Seaward of the Ganges River System", University of South Carolina, 60 pp.
  • Marc Sanford (M.S.) 8/86-6/88; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/88-6/90 "Modern Sedimentary Processes in the Wilmington Canyon Area, U.S. East Coast", University of South Carolina, 126 pp.
Courses Taught/Teaching
  • MSCI 355 - Coastal Environments of China (Study Abroad)
  • MSCI 620 (A,B,C) - Coastal Environments (Field Course rotating among: Beaches and Barrier Islands; Mississippi Delta; Paleozoic Rocks of West Virginia and Kentucky)
  • MSCI 623 - Isotope Geochronlogy
  • MSCI 522 - Principles of Geological Oceanography
  • GEOL 306 - Marine Geology
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: Sediment Dating
  • MSCI 501C - Fundamentals of Marine Science
  • MSCI 501L - Geological Oceanography Lab
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: New Zealand Rivers
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: 210Pb Geochronology
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: Be-7 in the Marine Environment
  • MSCI 545 - Marine Sedimentation
  • MSCI 698 - Continental Margin Sedimentation
  • MSCI 622 - Quaternary Evolution of Coastal Environments
  • MSCI 698 - Advanced Topics in Radioisotope Geochronology
Professional Memberships
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Society for Sedimentary Geology
Collaborative Interdisciplinary Efforts