Geology Department

Emeritus and Research Professors

  • Jacqueline A. Smith
  • George H. Shaw – Professor Emeritus
    George H. Shaw - Professor Emeritus

    Professor Emeritus

    Office: F.W. Olin 012
    Phone: (518) 388-6310
    Website: G. Shaw


    B.S. 1967, University of Rochester; M.S. 1969, Ph.D. 1971, Geology, University of Washington

    Area of Specialization:

    Early Atmosphere, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geomorphic Modeling, Saving Planet Earth

    Field Areas:

    California, Northern Minnesota, Australia, Quebec, New York

    Research Interests:

    My research interests cover the entire range of Earth’s geologic history. I have proposed a model for Earth’s early surface environment and atmosphere that contrasts sharply with the currently accepted view, but which resolves several unanswered questions concerning the Earth’s (and Mars’) early climate, the origin of life, and the transition to an oxygen-rich atmosphere. I have studied the trace element geochemistry of minute phenocrysts in altered volcanic ash layers as a means of distinguishing layers from one another and correlating them over large distances. My work on the groundwater hydrogeology (and especially karst hydrology) of the Town of Wright in New York provided the town with information for use in planning. I am currently working on three additional projects: characterization of newly discovered mantle xenoliths from a locality in eastern Australia, a numerical model simulating the development of drainage networks (including stream capture), and a potentially practical method for the capture of carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere.


    Geology 100: Physical Geology
    Geology 103: Great Moments in the History of Life
    Geology 108: Earth Resources
    Geology 209: Field Geology
    Geology 303: Introduction to Geophysics
    ENS 460: Senior Seminar Environmental Studies


    Earth’s Atmosphere – Hadean to early Proterozoic, Invited Review, Chemie der Erde, 68 (2008) 235-264.
    Climate transition on Mars: a simple solution, Eos Trans. AGU,89(53), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract U23E-0091.
    The Delay in Oxidation of Earth’s Atmosphere Following the Emergence of O2-producing Photosynthesis: an Explanation, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(22), Jt. Assem. Suppl., Abstract U21D-03
    Primordial Degassing of Terrestrial Planets: the Case for Reduced Carbon Compounds on the Early Surfaces, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(22), Jt. Assem. Suppl., Abstract U21D-01.
    The Faint Young Sun Paradox: a Resolution, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(22), Jt. Assem. Suppl., Abstract P23A-07.
    Carbon Isotopes, Carbon Cycling and the Early Evolution of Carbon Reservoirs, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(22), Jt. Assem. Suppl., Abstract V72B-05.
    Climate Transition on Mars: Solution and Implications, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(22), Jt. Assem. Suppl., Abstract P21A-03.