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Gregory S. Springer

Gregory S. Springer, photo
Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator
Clippinger 335, Athens Campus

Leadership Fellow, Mid-American Conference Academic Leadership Development Program (2023-24)

Senator, Faculty Senate, Ohio University (2023-24)

Faculty Fellow Equitable and Effective Assessment, College of Arts and Sciences (2023)

Learning Goal Leader, College of Arts and Sciences (2023-24)

Department Chair (2016-2020)

Recent News


Ph.D., 2002, Colorado State University, Earth Resources

M.S., 1994, West Virginia University, Geology

B.S., 1991, West Virginia University, Geology

Research Interests

Fluvial and Karst Geomorphology

  • Paleoclimate
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Paleoflood hydrology
  • Geomorphic response to climate change
  • Bedrock rivers and erosion

His Photos and Cartoons on Flickr

Caves offer a wealth of research opportunities because they often contain well-preserved records of climate, geomorphology, hydrology, and land use. Currently, I have numerous cave-related projects. My collaborators and I are reconstructing the last 300,000 years of climate in southeastern West Virginia. The climate record is being used interpret the response of geomorphic and hydrologic systems to climate change. The early results of this cutting-edge research will soon appear in journals, and I am looking for students to continue or expand upon our projects. A unique offshoot of our paleoclimate research involves use of Appalachian landscapes by Native Americans. We have found strong evidence for major changes to landscapes and ecologies beginning about 2200 years before present when (apparently) Native Americans began large-scale land clearing and burning. There are many excellent research opportunities associated with this topic.

Headwater streams are also one of my current research interests because they are important aquatic habitats that are impacted by acid rain, acid mine drainage, and land use changes. Headwater streams are also areas of scientific interest because they possess a complex suite of channel types and morphologies, which are poorly understood. Parallel studies of mountainous headwater streams on the western margin of the Appalachian Mountains are nearing completion and have led to three master's theses.

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 1010: Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 1350: Natural Disasters (in-person and online)
  • GEOL 2830: Geology for Engineers
  • GEOL 3/5050: Statistical Methods in Geology
  • GEOL 4/5300: Introduction to Geomorphology
  • GEOL 4/5320: Soil Genesis and Classification
  • GEOL 4/5390: Stream Geomorphology
  • GEOL 3/5600: Structural Geology

Professional Appointments

2023-Present, Professor

2009-2023, Associate Professor

2002-2009, Assistant Professor

Recent Publications

(+ denotes student author)

  • Balfour, W., Ashbrook, B., Springer, G., G. R. Dasher (2023), The Caves and Karst of North-Central Greenbrier County, West Virginia, West Virginia Speleological Survey Bulletin 28, West Virginia Speleological Survey, Barracksville, West Virginia, 198 p.
  • Albright+, L., and Springer, G., 2022, Empirical roughness coefficients for moderate floods in an open conduit cave: Fullers stream canyon, Culverson Creek Cave System, West Virginia: International Journal of Speleology, v. 51, p. 123–132, doi:
  • Paolo F. and Springer, G.S., 2020. Genesis and evolution of the square soda straws of Dry Cave, West Virginia, USA. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 82, no. 3, p. 169-182. DOI:10.4311/2019ES0134
  • Balfour, W. M., G. S. Springer, M. Passerby, and G. R. Dasher (2020), The Caves and Karst of Western Greenbrier County, West Virginia Speleological Survey, Barracksville, West Virginia.
  • Springer, G., and Hall, A., 2020, Uncertainties associated with the use of erosional cave scallop lengths to calculate stream discharges: International Journal of Speleology, v. 49, p. 27–34, doi:
  • Cheng, H., Springer, G.S., Sinha, A., Hardt, B.F., Yi, L., and seven others, 2019, Eastern North American climate in phase with fall insolation throughout the last three glacial-interglacial cycles: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 522, p. 125–134, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.06.029.
  • Kelley, J., Rowe, H., Springer, G., and Gao, Y., 2019, Multi-year cave dripwater frequency and hydrochemical monitoring of three caves in Eastern North America: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 81, p. 188–202, doi:10.4311/2017ES0110.
  • Springer, G.S., 2019. Clastic sediments in caves. In: Encyclopedia of Caves (Culver, D. and White, W., Editors), Elsevier.
  • G.S. Springer, 2018. Caves, Karst, and Science in the Buckeye Creek Cave Watershed. In: White, W.B. (ed) Caves and Karst of the Greenbrier Valley in West Virginia, Springer International Publishing AG, pp. 153-162.
  • Bourne, M.D., Feinberg, J.M. Strauss, B.E., Hardt, B., Cheng, H., Rowe, H.D., Springer, G.S., Edwards, R.L., 2015, Long-term changes in precipitation recorded by magnetic minerals in speleothems, Geology, v. 43, p. 595-598, doi:10.1130/G36695.1
  • Springer, G., Poston, H., Hardt, B., and Rowe, H.D., 2015, Groundwater lowering and stream incision rates in the Central Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, USA: International Journal of Speleology, v. 44, no. 1.
  • Springer, G.S., Rowe, H.D., Hardt, B., Cheng, H., and Edwards, R.L., 2014, East central North America climates during marine isotope stages 3-5: Geophysical Research Letters, 2014GL059884, doi: 10.1002/2014GL059884.
  • Springer, G.S., Mihimdukulasooriya, L.N., White, D.M., and Rowe, H.D., 2012. Micro-charcoal abundances in stream sediments from Buckeye Creek Cave, West Virginia, USA. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 74(1):58-64.
  • Springer, G.S., 2011. Geology and speleogenesis in Tucker County, West Virginia. In: The caves and karst of Tucker County, West Virginia (McCarty, D. and Masney, B., Editors). West Virginia Speleological Survey Bulletin #18, p. 7-11.
  • Springer, G.S., 2011. The geology of Cass Cave. In: The survey of Cass Cave (Zimmerman, Robert, editor), West Virginia Speleological Survey Monograph #4, ISBN 978-1-4507-6066-9, p. 33-38.
  • Springer, G.S., White, D.M., Rowe, H.D., Hardt, B., Mihimdukulasooriya, L.N., Hai Cheng, and Edwards, R.L., 2010. Multiproxy evidence from caves of Native Americans altering the overlying landscape during the Late Holocene of east-central North America. The Holocene, 20(2): 275-283. doi: 10.1177/0959683610350395.
  • Hardt, B., Rowe, H.D., Springer, G.S., Edwards, R.L. and Hai Cheng, 2010. The seasonality of east central North American precipitation based on three coeval Holocene speleothems from southern West Virginia, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 295: 342-348. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.04.002

Advisee's M.S. Theses and Current Occupations

  • Al Salmi, S., 2024, Structural and lithological controls on development of McClung Cave, W.V. Environmental consultant.
  • Bortel, H., 2021. Scallops Through Space and Time: A Study of Scallop Patterns and Consistency. Geologist at TerraCon.
  • Lopez Sanchez, M., 2021 (M.S. in Environmental Studies degree). Modeling Flood Potential Based on Land Use in the Greenbrier River Watershed, West Virginia, USA. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Albright, L., 2020 Open channel modeling of flooding in a cave. Hydrologist in environmental firm.
  • Hall, A., 2019. Verification of and Expansion Upon the Use of Cave Scallops in Recreating Hydrogeologic Conditions in Karst Aquifers. Mining geologist.
  • Baxstrom, K., 2019. Climate and Vegetation Change in Late Pleistocene Central Appalachia: Evidence from Stalagmites and Lake Cores. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
  • Alder (neé Thurkettle), S., 2019. A Paleoflood Assessment of the Greenbrier River in Southeast, West Virginia, USA. Environmental geologist.
  • Koppel, D.W., 2011. Changes in Flooding and Flood Protection Along a Channelized Reach of the Hocking River, Athens, Ohio. Project geologist with environmental firm. [See "It’s just water behind the bridge" in the Athens News.]
  • Fitzgibbon, H.A., 2010. Interpretation of whether incision rates in Appalachian karst reflect long-term downcutting toward a surface versus subsurface base level. Project geologist with environmental firm.
  • Aldred, J.L., 2010. The effects of Late Holocene climate changes on flood frequencies and magnitudes in Central Appalachia. College instructor.
  • Mihindukulasooriya, L.N., 2009. Environmental changes associated with Native American land use practices: A geoarcheological investigation of an Appalachian watershed. Assistant Professor.
  • Plitzuweit, S.P., 2009. Effects of channel network geometries on incision processes and channel hydraulics in bedrock streams. Exxon geologist.
  • White, D.M., 2007. Reconstruction and analysis of Native American land use during the late Holocene using cave-derived geochemical and sedimentological data. Exxon geologist.
  • Cocina, F.G., 2006. Late Holocene stream hydrology in the Eastern Interior of North America. Los Alamos geoscientist.
  • Meyer, C., 2006. Testing the usefulness of geomorphic variables as predictors of stream health: Western Allegheny Plateau. Project geologist with environmental firm.
  • Burks, T., 2005. Basin Hydrology And Substrate Controls On Mountain River Morphology In The Highlands Of The Appalachian Plateau. Washington State hydrologist.
  • Golden (Rhodes), A., 2005. Lithologic Controls on Headwater Stream Morphology in the Eastern Appalachian Plateau, West Virginia. Formly hydrologist with environmental firm, presently working continuous overtime as a full-time mom.

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