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Publications in VIVO

Abbott, Lon

Teaching Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • One of Dr. Abbott's principal goals is to contribute to the public's understanding of and appreciation for geologic processes, the deep geologic history of the planet, and the significance of geology in our everyday lives. He works to achieve this goal via the publication of books and articles in the popular press and through public presentations. Dr. Abbott's research is focused on deciphering the geologic history of the Colorado Rocky Mountains/Colorado Plateau region and Australia's Great Dividing Range. One current project attempts to constrain when the Grand Canyon was carved and how quickly the canyon was widened. A second constrains the erosion history of the Colorado Rockies using low-temperature thermochronology. His Australia research aims to understand when and how eastern Australia's Great Escarpment formed.


  • geologic evolution of SW United States, geomorphology of Grand Canyon, Lithospheric composition of Colorado Plateau-Basin and Range Transition Zone, Stratigraphy of Grand Canyon, stratigraphy of Colorado, Tectonic development of Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau, Australia, Great Dividing Range, Great Escarpment


selected publications


courses taught

  • FYSM 1000 - First Year Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2020
    Provide first year students with an immersive experience in an interdisciplinary topic that addresses current issues including social, technical and global topics. Taught by faculty from across campus, the course provides students with an opportunity to interact in small classes, have project based learning experiences and gain valuable communication skills. Seminar style classes focused on discussion and projects.
  • GEOL 1030 - Introduction to Geology Laboratory 1
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    Features field trips to local points of geologic interest. Studies rocks and topographic and geologic maps. Meets the MAPS requirement for natural science lab, if taken with GEOL 1010 or GEOL 1012. Recommended requisite: Concurrent registration in any 1000-level geology course is beneficial but not required.
  • GEOL 1040 - Geology of Colorado
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Reviews the geologic evolution and history of Colorado. It first develops the basic concepts needed to interpret the geology and then systematically shows how the state evolved through geologic time. Designed for those who enjoy understanding the beauty and splendor of the state.
  • GEOL 2700 - Introduction to Field Geology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Summer 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Summer 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023
    Introduces basic field techniques necessary to collect geologic data and samples, and necessary to map geologic units.
  • GEOL 3090 - Developing Scientific Writing Skills
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2021
    Focuses on the development of scientific writing skills. Enhances student ability to write professionally, revise text and review the work of others. Writing assignments integrate the subject matter of different topics in earth science. Department enforced prerequisites: a lower division writing course and two of the following: GEOL 2001 or GEOL 2005 or GEOL 2700 or GEOL 3010 or GEOL 3030 or GEOL 3120 or GEOL 3320 or GEOL 3430 or GEOL 3820.
  • GEOL 4001 - Geology Majors Research Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023
    Reading and discussion seminar to enhance students' critical evaluation of research design, assumptions, and presentation of results in the geosciences. Readings will focus on the events involved in the geologic evolution of the American West and its timing. Papers read will employ a variety of geologic and geophysical techniques. Geared towards students completing independent research and interested in pursuing a research-focused career. Development of career/graduate school plan and application materials is covered. Recommended prerequisite or corequisite: GEOL 2700.
  • GEOL 4700 - Special Geological Topics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020
    Studies in selected geological subjects of special current interest (for undergraduates). May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours within a term.
  • GEOL 4725 - Field Based Special Topics in Geoscience
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2018 / Summer 2019 / Summer 2023
    Explores selected geological subjects of special interest in a field setting. May be repeated up to 8 total credit hours. Same as GEOL 5725.
  • GEOL 4990 - Honors Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Supervised project involving original research in any area of the geological sciences. The thesis is submitted to the Honors Program of the College of Arts and Sciences and is orally defended. Must be accepted by the departmental honors committee. Department enforced prerequisite: minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30.
  • GEOL 6940 - Master's Degree Candidate
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023
  • GEOL 6950 - Master's Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2022
    May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.
  • GEOL 6960 - Plan II Master's Research
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023


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