Central Washington University offers a Masters program in Geological Sciences that aims to prepare students for professional employment in geoscience careers in the Pacific Northwest and beyond or for continuing graduate studies at the doctoral level. We specialize in active and regional tectonics, structural geology, and geodynamics; climate change, paleoflood studies, and environmental geochemistry; geochronology, petrology, and volcanology; and seismic risk and GPS geodesy.

This program normally leads to employment in consulting firms; in local, state, or federal government resource-based or planning agencies; in teaching at community colleges or at a secondary level; and to serve as a foundation for graduate studies beyond the M.S. level. It is also good high-level technical background for those interested in following related careers, such as environmental law, natural resource management, or teaching at the secondary level. The Department encourages an integrative, multi-disciplinary approach.

This collection features theses from Master of Science Students in the Department of Geological Sciences Graduate Program at Central Washington University.

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Theses from 2021

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Long-term Geomorphic Effects of the Glines Canyon Dam Removal on the Elwha River, Washington, USA, Alyssa D. DeMott

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Geologic Mapping along the Benton Spring Fault, Nevada: Dextrally-offset Tuff-filled Paleovalleys in the Central Walker Lane, Peter Dubyoski

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Organic-Input Impacts on Soil Carbon Flux, Storage, and Budget in Conservation Agricultural Soils, Central Washington, USA, Jessica Hartman

Theses from 2020

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Late Holocene Paleoflood Hydrology of the Snake River in the Lower Hells Canyon, Idaho, Kent C. Allen

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Mapping and Modeling the Seattle Fault Tsunami Inundation in Puget Sound, David Bruce

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Documenting the Earthquake History of the Thousand Springs Fault in Summer Lake Basin, Oregon, USA, Elizabeth Curtiss

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Modeling of Potential Historical Tsunamis from Large Earthquakes in the Izu-Bonin Mariana Subduction Zone, Rachelle Reisinger

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A Geochemical Assessment of Potential Groundwater Storage Locations within the Yakima River Basin, Silas Sleeper

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The Role of Cumulate Plagioclase Entrainment in the Steens Basalt, SE Oregon: Insights from the Magma Chamber Simulator, Valerie Strasser

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Applying Garnet and Zircon REE Linkages to Determine Timing of P-T Conditions and Tectonic Implications for UHP Eclogites and HP Granulites, Dulan UHP Terrane, China, Wesley Weisberg

Theses from 2019

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Defining historical earthquake rupture parameters and proposed slip distributions through tsunami modeling in south-central Chile, Alexander Dolcimascolo

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Seasonal soil carbon fluxes in transitioning agricultural soils in Central Washington State: Relations to land-use, environmental factors and soil carbon-nitrogen characteristics, Brandon Kautzman

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Mapping and Reconstructing the Paleotsunami Record in Queule, South-Central Chile, Pedro I. Matos Llavona

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Characterizing the deformation history of the southern Mina Deflection: field and structural studies in the Huntoon Mountains, California-Nevada, Joseph Bodie McCosby

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Quantifying magma recharge at Parinacota volcano, northern Chile (52 ka - recent): Insight from the Magma Chamber Simulator, Jennifer McLeod

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Identifying Key Factors Affecting Translational Landslides in Part of the Yakima Fold and Thrust Belt, Washington State, Joseph Schilter

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Effects of Initial Thermal Structure on the Evolution of Continental Rifting, Alexandra Wernle

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Holocene Periods of Aggradation and Incision, Hanson Creek, Washington, Levi Earl Windingstad

Theses from 2018

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Assessing the Use of Tsunami Simulations as a Tool to Predict Source Magnitudes and Locations of Paleoearthquakes in Chile, Rebeca Isabel Becerra

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Spatial and Temporal Characterization of the Petrified Springs Fault, Central Walker Lane, Nevada: Documenting Middle Miocene Dextral Slip, Andrew Hoxey

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Tsunami Excitation Estimation from Real-time GNSS, Catherine Jeffries

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Stream water and soil water chemistry after the Table Mountain wildfire, Washington, USA, Vincent J. Roccanova

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Slip Estimation from Real-Time GPS in Cascadia, Jesse Senko

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Advances in the Hyperspectral Imaging Microscope Spectrometer Method, and Application for Measuring the Spectral Reflectance of Light Absorbing Aerosols from the South Cascades, Colorado Rockies, and Iceland, Melanie Swick

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Quantifying Crustal Assimilation in Historical to Recent (1329-2005) Lavas at Mt. Etna, Italy: Insights from Thermodynamic Modeling, Marie Takach

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Giant Plagioclase in the Steens Basalt, SE Oregon: Cumulate Entrainment Revealed by Textural and In Situ Chemical Analysis, Conner H. Toth

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Quantifying Sedimentation Patterns of Small Watersheds in the Central Oregon Coast Range Using Landslide-Dammed Lakes, Logan Wetherell

Theses from 2017

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Catastrophic Landscape Modification from Massive Landslide Tsunamis: An Example from Taan Fiord, Alaska, Colin Bloom

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Tidal and Structural Controls on Seismic Events Near the Grounding Line at Beardmore Glacier, Antarctica, Jade Cooley

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Surface Offset and Slip Rates for the Winter Rim Fault System in the Summer Lake Basin, Oregon, Jennifer Hall

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Estimating the thickness of an ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) terrane: insights from phase equilibria modelling and Zr-in-rutile thermometry, Dulan area, North Qaidam terrane, China, David Hernández Uribe

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Isotope Investigation of Nitrate in Soils and Agricultural Drain Waters of the Lower Yakima Valley, Washington, Dallin Jensen

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Using Strontium Isotopes in Conjunction with Major, and Trace Elements to Identify Water/Rock Interaction in the Upper Kittitas County, Washington, James Patterson and Carey Gazis

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150 Years of Light Absorbing Impurity Deposition on South Cascade Glacier, Washington State USA, Dan Pittenger

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Post-wildfire black carbon deposition on the snowpack in the Cascade Range, Washington State: Temporal and spatial variability with implications for accelerated melt, Ted Uecker

Theses from 2016

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Documenting Mantle and Crustal Contributions to Flood Basalt Magmatism via Computational Modeling of the Steens Basalt, Southeast Oregon, Sylvana J. Bendaña

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Evolution of a Flood Basalt Crustal Magmatic System: In Situ Mineral Data and Computational Modeling of the Steens Basalt, Megan Graubard

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Spatiotemporal Slip Rate Variations Along Surprise Valley Fault in Relation to Pleistocene Pluvial Lakes, Brian N. Marion

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Fluid Release During Eclogite Formation, North Qaidam Terrane, Western China, Jake M. Meyer

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Hazard Identification and Coastal Stratigraphy in Crescent Harbor, Northeast Whidbey Island, Washington, Brian Ostrom

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Investigating Taphonomic Changes of Deposits and Modeling of the 2010 Earthquake and Tsunami in South-Central Chile, Alexandra Carranco Ruiz

Theses from 2015

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Geologic Mapping in the Black Mountain Area, Northern Eastern California Shear Zone: Testing a Kinematic and Geometric Fault Slip Transfer Model, Kevin M. DeLano

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Quantifying Channel Responses to the Removal of the Glines Canyon Dam in the Middle Reach of the Elwha River, Washington, Bryon J. Free

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Using MODFLOW to Predict Impacts of Groundwater Pumpage to Instream Flow: Upper Kittitas County, Washington, Zoe O. Futornick

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Field Observations and Modeling of the 1957 Earthquake and Tsunami on the Islands of the Four Mountains, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Frances R. Griswold

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Timing and Source of Alkali Enrichment at Mt. Etna, Sicily: Constraints from Clinopyroxene Geobarometry and In Situ SR Isotope Data, Kaitlyn Nelson

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Rapid Middle to Late Miocene Slip Along the Zanskar Normal Fault, Greater Himalayan Range, NW, India: Constraints from Low-Temperature Thermochronometry, Brett L. Shurtleff

Theses from 2013

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Paleoseismologic Evidence for Holocene Activity on the Pinto Mountain Fault, Twentynine Palms, California, Ana Maria Cadena

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Feasibility of Seismic Monitoring to Identify Avalanche Activity: Snoqualmie Pass, WA, Kathryn Johnston

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Geomorphology of Deposits from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Tamil Nadu, Southeastern India, Patrick Alan Johnston

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LiDAR Assessment of Sediment Transport Related to the Removal of the Marmot Dam, Sandy River, Oregon, Carl Daniel Matzek

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Black Carbon Measurements of Snow and Ice Using the Single Particle Soot Photometer: Method Development and an AD 1852-1999 Record of Atmospheric Black Carbon from a Mount Logan Ice Core, James Andrew Menking

Theses from 2012

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Holocene Arroyo Cut and Fills Cycles, South-Central Washington, Matthew Ian Durkee

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Documenting Magnatic Processes at Filicudi Island, Aeolian Arc, Italy: Integrating Quantitative Modeling and Plagioclase Textural and in situ Compositional Data, Michelle Harris

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Documenting the Origin of Compositional Diversity of Subduction Zone Magmatism, Alicudi, Aeolian Arc (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy) Using in situ Plagioclase Data, Rachel Hunt

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Documenting Magma Evolution of the Fossa delle Felci (Salina Island, South Tyrrhenian Sea) by Integrating In Situ Plagioclase Data with Quantitative Modeling, Aaron Mayfield

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Applying GIS Metrics to Determine Degree of Glacial Modification in Mountainous Landscapes, Carl Delbert Swanson II

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Petrogenetic Relationship of the Postcaldera Eruptions of Mount Mazama, Crater Lake, Oregon; Evolution of a Sub-volcanic Magma Chamber Following a Large Silicic Eruption, Michelle Leanna Tebbe

Theses from 2011

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Geochemistry, Geothermobarometry and Geochronology of High-Pressure Granulites and Implications for the Exhumation History of Ultrahigh-Pressure Terranes: Dulan, Western China, Benjamin David Joseph Christensen

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Assessment of Black Carbon in Snow and Ice from the Tibetan Plateau and Pacific Northwest, Matthew Glen Jenkins

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Surface Wave Inversion of the Upper Mantle Velocity Structure in the Ross Sea Region, Western Antarctica, James D. Rinke

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Relationships Between Snake River Paleofloods, Occupational Patterns and Archaeological Preservation at Redbird Beach Archaeological Site in Lower Hells Canyon, Idaho, Tabitha Trosper

Theses from 2010

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Lacustrine Sediment Record of Multiple Quaternary Lava Dams on the Owyhee River, Southeastern Oregon, Caitlin Anne Orem

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Fluid Budget of Metasedimentary Rocks from a Tertiary Accretionary Prism and Connections to Seismicity, Olympic Peninsula, Northwest Washington State, Holly Makena MacFadden Rotman

Theses from 2008

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Energy Budget Analysis of Slow-Slip Tremor Events Along the Cascadia Subduction Zone Using Continuous GPS Array Data, James Steven Chapman

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Petrogenetic Processes Characterizing the Mount Bachelor, Oregon Magmatic System: Open- versus Closed-System Processes, Sara Elizabeth Johnson

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Middle Crustal Ductile Deformation Patterns in Southern Tibet: Insights from Vorticity Studies in Mabja Dome, Jackie Langille

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Comparison of Landslides and their Related Outburst Flood Deposits, Owyhee River, Southeastern Oregon, Shannon Marian Othus

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The 2004 and 1861 Tsunami Deposits on Simeulue Island, Western Sumatra, Katherine Frances Whitlow

Theses from 2007

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Seismic Constraints on Slow Slip Events within the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Ana Cristina Aguiar

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Late Holocene Uplift of the Chihshang segment of the Longitudinal Valley Fault at Fuli, Eastern Taiwan, Brian Thomas Gray

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Paleoflood Record Reconstruction at an Archaeological Site on the Owyhee River, Southeastern Oregon, Stephanie Louise Vandal

Theses from 2006

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Fluvial Response to Intra-Canyon Lava Flows, Owyhee River, Southeastern Oregon, Cooper Cooke Brossy

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Deciphering the Signature of Magma Mixing: Examples from the Castle Creek Eruptive Period, Mount St. Helens, Washington, Seth Taylor Mattos

Theses from 2005

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The Role of Geomorphic Features and Hydrologic Processes on Sediment Clusters in Gravel-Bed Rivers, Washington: A Field-Based Approach, Ross Richard Hendrick

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Transient Detection and Modeling of Continuous Geodetic Data, Walter Michael Szeliga

Theses from 2001

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A small look at the big picture: linking geopotential height anomalies to paleofloods on the Snake River, Idaho and Oregon, Gwendolyn Bernitha Rhodes