Katharine Huntington, nee Ruhl             

ASSOCIATE professor

university of washington - department of Earth & Space sciences          


tectonics, landscape

evolution & Climate

I study the interactions of tectonics, landscape evolution and climate, and how the evolution of Earth’s surface and shallow crust both reflect and record these interactions. The research tools my group uses & develops draw from the fields of regional tectonics, structural geology, geomorphology, sedimentology, and geochemistry (both geochronology and isotope geochemistry) and include field-based, laboratory, and numerical modeling approaches.

I am particularly enthusiastic about the application of carbonate clumped isotope thermometry and detrital mineral thermochronology of modern river sediments.  Together, they shed light on erosion, surface processes, the thermal evolution of the crust, and the elevation and climate history of Earth’s surface.

My latest interests include paleo-topography and paleo-climate reconstructions, temporal and spatial scales of erosion and sediment delivery, transients in mountain ranges related to climate change, and regional geology including Himalaya-Tibet, western North America, and the Andes.


EMAIL:   kate1 @ uw.edu

FIND ME:   Office - Johnson Hall 353

Lab - Johnson Hall 318; IsoLab (3rd Floor Johnson)

Phone - 206.543.1750

Fax - 206.543.3836

MAIL:   University of Washington Box 351310

Seattle, WA 98195-1310

If you’re interested in applying to GRAD SCHOOL, unfortunately I am NOT looking for a PHD student for fall 2014.  However, I would be eager to be on your thesis committee if you come to UW to work with one of my colleagues, or collaborate with you and your advisor at a different institution.


9/2014: Welcome new Future of Ice postdoc Ethan Hyland!

9/2014: Kate is now Associate Prof with tenure.

8/2014: Clumped isotopes paper on Tibetan plateau by Huntington et al. highlighted as featured article in GSA Bulletin. In news here: http://www.washington.edu/news/2014/09/22/snail-shells-show-high-rise-plateau-is-much-lower-than-it-used-to-be/

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 (LINK: here).

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.


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 scientists nationwide invited to a White House ceremony hosted by Michelle Obama and the National Science Foundation. Even cooler: NSF makes changes to allow early-career faculty to more easily care for dependents while continuing their work.

LINKS: Washington Post OpEd

Inside Higher Ed article

UW Today article

White House blog