Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington

Endowed Professor for the College of the Environment in Earth Systems










We study the interactions of tectonics, landscapes and climate, and how the evolution of Earth's surface and shallow crust both reflect and record these interactions through time and today. The research tools we use and develop draw from the fields of regional tectonics, structural geology, geomorphology, sedimentology and geochemistry, and include field, laboratory and numerical modeling approaches.


9/2019: Welcome new graduate student Emma Heitmann to ESS.

8/2019: Michael Turzewski successfully completed his Ph.D.!

8/2019: Welcome visiting Fulbright scholar Paolo Ballato from Roma Tre University to IsoLab.

7/2019: Welcome visiting Ph.D. student from China University of Geosciences Beijing, Tianjie Jin, to Seattle.

6/2019: Julia Kelson graduated with her Ph.D. and moved on to a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan!

3/2019: Check out recent student publications from our group.

3/2019: Kate's promotion to Full Professor has been approved by the University of Washington

11/2018: Kate is currently serving on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine CORES (Catalyzing Opportunities for Research in the Earth Sciences) Committee. The CORES committee is seeking your input! Please take a moment to give your thoughts on research priorities for the coming decade: Community Input Form.

8/2018: Check out this great video from NSF on The Art and Science of Reviewing Proposals that oulines all manner of bias and how to avoid it - relevant to everything from student recruitment and hiring to attending conference talks  https://tipsforreviewers.nsf.gov

8/2016: Landon Burgener graduated with his Ph.D. and moved on to a postdoc at North Carolina State University!

6/2018: Kate returned from a lecture tour in China, hosted by colleagues at the China University of Geosciences Beijing and Nanjing University.

6/2018: Keith Hodson successfully defended his PhD!

6/2018: Landon Burgener's paper on cryogenic carbonates was published in GCA [pdf].

5/2018: Alex Lechler's paper on Palouse Loess paleoclimate recontruction was accepted to Quaternary Research.

1/2018: The Tectonics community vision document prepared for NSF, Challenges and Opportunities for Research in Tectonics (Huntington & Klepeis, with 65 community contributors, 2018) is now available in high and low resolution PDF, and in Chinese translation. doi: https://doi.org/10.6069/H52R3PQ5

1/2018: Kate led discussion of the tectonics community vision document and opportunities to implement aspects of the vision at the Structural Geology & Tectonics Forum held at ASU in Tempe, AZ.

10/2017: The Future of Tectonics Initiative at GSA co-sponsored 13 technical sessions, with nearly 270 abstracts! Kate proposed it, and Joint Program Technical Coordinator Juliet Crider and dozens of community members stepped up to make it successful.

10/10/2017: Kate and Keith Klepeis presented the tectonics community vision document at NSF

9/2017: Our work on the San Andreas Fault highlighted in an Earthscope article "Tracking fluids in a weak fault zone" here.

9/2017: Tectonics community vision document prepared for NSF has been made available for comment through October 1 (Huntington and Klepeis, with 65 community contributors). Access the document and feedback form here.

9/2017: Welcome grad student Susannah Morey to ESS!

1/2017: Future of Tectonics Initiative at GSA 2017 announced.

10/2016: Congratulations to PhD student Julia Kelson and the IsoLab team - Kelson et al. "Toward a universal carbonate clumped isotope calibration: diverse synthesis and preparatory methods suggest a single temperature relationship" is now accepted in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

10/2016: Welcome visiting grad student Zijie Ning from the China University of Geosciences, Beijing.

9/2016: Kate and grad student Mike Turzewski gave talks at GSA - Mike on outburst flood models & field observations, and Kate on clumped isotopes faults & fluids. Kate also co-organized a Town Hall on the Future Directions in Tectonics community effort Kate and colleagues have been working on.

9/2016: Congrats to the Andy Schauer and the IsoLab team - Schauer et al. "Choice of 17O correction affects clumped isotope (D47) values of CO2 measured with mass spectrometry" is now in press in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry.

9/2016: Welcome new grad student Megan Mueller, who plans to work with Kate and new Assistant Professor in ESS Alexis Licht, and visiting graduate student Kazem Zamanian from U of Gottingen Germany.

6/2016: Kate and co-authors won Best Paper Award from SEPM, the Society for Sedimentary Geology. (Huntington, Budd, Wernicke and Eiler, JSR, 2011)

5/2016: Kate helps lead Future Directions in Tectonics workshop in Madison, Wisconsin.

5/2016: Postdoc Ethan Hyland accepts tenure-track Assistant Professorship at North Carolina State University.

4/2016: Huntington group, IsoLab and friends hosted 76 diverse high school students and their teachers for a day of hands-on lab activities integrated with the curriculum, and a panel on demistifying higher education and the idea of majoring in STEM.

12/2015: Graduate student Julia Kelson won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award AGU 2015.

9/2015: Kate goes on sabbatical....

4/2015: Kate, Geoff and big brother Dylan welcome the arrival of baby brother Jamie!

4/2015: She's on a roll! Julia also was awarded a GSA Student Research grant.

3/2015: Graduate student Julia Kelson won a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

9/2014: Former postdoc Alex Lechler starts faculty position at Pacific Lutheran University in nearby Tacoma, WA. 9/2014: Welcome new Future of Ice postdoc Ethan Hyland!

8/2014: Clumped isotopes paper on Tibetan plateau by Huntington et al. highlighted as featured article in GSA Bulletin. In news here.

8/2014: Kate and grad students Landon Burgener & Julia Kelson gave talks at the 4th international clumped isotopes workshop at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland.

6/2014: Congrats to the newly minted Dr. Karl Lang, who successfully defended his PhD! Karl has accepted a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Pomona College, and is the recipient of a Humboldt Fellowship for a postdoc in Germany to follow.

5/2014: Congratulations to Ethan Hyland (PhD, University of Michigan) who was awarded a Future of Ice Postdoctoral Fellowship to come to UW!

5/2014: Lang & Huntington paper on antecedence of the Yarlung-Siang-Brahmaputra river was published in EPSL.

4/2014: Kate was promoted to Associate Prof with tenure.

4/2014: IsoLab is hosting another 85 high school students and chaperones for hands-on lab activities.

4/2014: Grad students Julia Kelson & Landon Burgener were awarded GSA research grants!

3/2014: IsoLab hosted field trips for 100 earth-science high school students this month!

1/2014: Grad student Landon Burgener completed fieldwork in the Andes of Chile.

12/2013: Karl Lang won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the AGU fall meeting, for his work on drainage evolution of the eastern Himalaya.

7/2013: Congrats to grad student Karl Lang, whose paper on megaflood erosion was just published in Geology and featured in Science Magazine.

7/2013: Our research team, collaborators, and local high school teachers completed fieldwork in the Palouse Loess of eastern Washington.

6/2013: Grad student Karl Lang won the College Community Service Award, Coombs Teaching Award and Departmental Service Award.

1/2013: Grad student Landon Burgener completed field season in the Andes in Chile. Kate and grad students Karl Lang and Mike Turzewski, together with WWU grad student Graham Messe, completed field season in the Himalaya of NE India.

11/5/2012: Kate received the Geological Society of America’s Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) for 2012, presented at fall GSA. http://www.geosociety.org/awards/index.htm#donath

8/21/2012: Check out this article featuring Kate’s ACS-PRF project in collaboration with students Sarah Bergman, Gerd Winterleitner, and David Birlenbach, and colleague Juliet Crider.

6/8/2012: Congratulations to Sarah Bergman and Nathan Peters, who successfully defended their Masters research projects and submitted their papers to EPSL and AJS!

5/7/2012: Lab member Katelyn Atakturk was named this year’s College of the Environment Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist!

3/21/12: Grad student Karl Lang gave Seattle Town Hall lecture on “How to build a mountain range”

9/26/11: Kate was one of 14 early career scientists nationwide invited to a White House event hosted by Michelle Obama and the National Science Foundation.

Earth's surface to the crust, from deep time to human time

Much of our work relies on clumped isotope thermometry of carbonates and on detrital geo- and thermochronology of modern and ancient river sediments. Together, they shed light on erosion, surface processes, crustal fluid and heat transport, and the elevation and climate history of Earth's surface.

Our favorite natural laboratories include the Himalaya-Tibet, western North America and the Andes.

Tectonics, erosion & climate




NASEM CORES (Catalyzing Research

in the Earth Sciences) Study