Michelle J. Markley

Associate Professor of Geology

Office: 326 Clapp Laboratory
Email: Michelle J. Markley
Phone: 413-538-2814
Fax: 413-538-2239


  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Ph.D. in Geology, 1998
  • University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, Fulbright Scholar, 1996
  • Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, B.A. in Geology, 1990


In an average year, I teach the same three courses: Structural Geology (Geol 333) in the Fall; and Physical Geology (Geol 100) and History of Earth (now Geol 334, formerly Geol 202) in the Spring.

Physical Geology (Geol 100) is a large introductory course focused on the fundamentals of geologic processes.  Novelties associated with this course are that students answer geologic questions using annotated sketches (called “concept sketches”) and that preference for enrollment goes to first- and second-year students.  Structural Geology (Geol 333) is an upper-level course that generally serves Geology majors and minors (although other students are welcome).  The focus in Structural Geology is on field techniques and on reading and writing for geological research -- distinguishing between observation and interpretation.  History of Earth (Geol 334) emphasizes a nuanced and detailed appreciation of geologic time.  Through writing assignments in this class, students explore the nature of hypothesis testing in the earth sciences by writing short proposals.

Whenever possible, I also enjoy teaching Plate Tectonics (Geol 210) and Seminars (Geol 341/342).  Plate Tectonics (Geol 210) is an intermediate-level class, but students with no background in geology are very welcome -- the only prerequisite is fearlessness in the face of a little math.  This class considers earthquakes and the nature of the sea floor in order to explore active plate tectonic boundaries.  Each student also completes a semester-long research project on a geologically active region of her choosing.  In Seminars (Geol 341/342), I have focused on Appalachian Geology, but I am always toying with new ideas.  Volcanoes?  The Geology of Africa?  I’ll keep you posted.


  • Markley, M. J. 2010.  The [Geo]Scientific Method; Hypothesis testing and proposal writing for students, Journal of Geoscience Education (58/4), 197-201.
  • Wiebe, R. A., M. Jellinek, M. J. Markley, D. P. Hawkins, D. Snyder, 2007.  Steep sclieren and associated enclaves in the Vinalhaven granite, Maine: possible indicators for granite rheology. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology (153/2) 121-138.
  • Giorgis, S, B. Tikoff, P. Kelso, and M. Markley, 2006. The role of material anisotropy in the neotectonic extension of the Western Idaho Shear Zone, McCall, Idaho. Geological Society of America Bulletin (118/3-4) 259-273.
  • Giorgis, S., M. Markley, and B. Tikoff, 2004. Comparison of vertical axis rotation of rigid crustal blocks and mantle flow in oblique convergence and divergence. In Vertical Coupling and Decoupling in the Lithosphere (edited by J. Grocot, K. J. W. McCaffrey, G. Taylor, and B. Tikoff). Geological Society, London, Special Publications (227) 83-100.
  • Brady, J. B., M. J. Markley, J. C. Schumacher, J. T. Cheney, and G. A. Bianciardi, 2004: Aragonite pseudomorphs in high pressure marbles of Syros, Greece. Journal of Structural Geology (26/1) 3-9.
  • Markley, M. J. and B. Tikoff, 2003: Geometry of the folded Otago Peneplain surface beneath Ida Valley, Central Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics (46/3) 449-456.
  • Callahan, C. N. and M. Markley, 2003: Tectonic significance of igneous foliation and lineation in the Mount Waldo pluton, Waldo County, Maine. Journal of Structural Geology (25/4) 541-555.
  • Markley, M. J. and B. Tikoff, 2002: Matchsticks on parade: Vertical axis rotation in oblique divergence. Journal of Geophysical Research--Solid Earth (107/B12, 2349, doi: 10.1029/2002JB001826).
  • Markley, M. J., M. Cosca, and C. Teyssier, 2002: Relation between grain size and 40Ar/39Ar age for white mica. Journal of Structural Geology (24/11) 1937-1955.
  • Tikoff, B., P. Kelso, C. Manduca, M. J. Markley, and J. Gillaspy, 2001: Lithospheric and crustal reactivation of an ancient plate boundary: the assembly and disassembly of the Salmon River Suture Zone, Idaho, USA. In The Nature and Tectonic Significance of Fault Zone Weakening (edited by R. E. Holdsworth, R. A. Strachan, J. F. Magloughlin, and R. J. Knipe), Geological Society, London, Special Publications (186) 213-231.
  • Markley, M., C. Teyssier, and R. Caby, 1999: Re-examining Argand's view of the Siviez-Mischabel Nappe. Journal of Structural Geology (21) 1119-1124.
  • Markley, M., and R. Norris, 1999: Structure and neotectonics of the Blackstone Hill Antiform, Central Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics (42) 205-218.
  • Markley, M., C. Teyssier, M. Cosca, R. Caby, M. Sartori, and J. C. Hunziker, 1998: Alpine deformation in the Siviez-Mischabel Nappe, western Pennine Alps, Switzerland: 40Ar/39Ar results from synkinematic white micas. Tectonics (17) 407-425.
  • Markley, M., and S. Wojtal, 1996: Mesoscopic structure, strain, and volume loss in folded cover strata, Valley and Ridge Province, MD. American Journal of Science (296) 23-57.
  • Teyssier, C., B. Tikoff, and M. Markley, 1995: Oblique plate motion and continental tectonics. Geology (23) 447-450.