Michelle J. Markley

Professor of Geology; Chair of Geology and Geography
Structural geology and tectonics

Michelle Markley likes to study mountains, specifically how they were formed. "I study how rocks get 'mushed,' " she says. "I look at rock deformation, at their folds and faults and how they get their texture or fabric." Her classes make full use of the region around Mount Holyoke, going out to see rock formations at the Quabbin Reservoir, on Skinner Mountain, and in Whately and Cummington. "This is a good area for field work at all levels," says Markley. 

Currently, Markley's primary research focus is the Grenville mountain belt. As a structural geologist interested in the nature and timing of fabric development in both metamorphic and igneous rocks, Markley has packed her trusty rock hammer for field work in the Canadian Grenville, the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains, and overseas in the Southern Alps of New Zealand and the Western Alps of Switzerland. 

Markley teaches Geology of Groundwater and Fossil Fuels, History of Earth, Structural Geology and Orogenesis, Plate Tectonics, and Uranium and has published numerous scholarly articles.

Recent Campus News

The 1619 Project was published in 2019 with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States and timed for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia.

The 1619 Project is the Common Read for 2020

Mount Holyoke College’s Common Read for 2020 will be prose essays from The New York Times Magazine’s ongoing initiative The 1619 Project. 

Recent Publications

Markley, M., 2020. Humanities perspectives on the Anthropocene. Nature Geoscience, 13(6). DOI: 10.1038/s41561-020-0588-z