Department of Geosciences

Skidmore College

815 N. Broadway

Saratoga Springs, NY  12866

(518) 580-5194 (voice)

(518) 580-5199 (fax)

 

3 Springwood Drive

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

(518) 583-7746

knichols@skidmore.edu

http://www.skidmore.edu/~knichols



Research and Teaching Interests

Rates of Surface Change, Geomorphology, Applications of Cosmogenic Isotopes, Hydrology, Geoscience Education, Environmental Geology

 

Education

2002    Ph.D.  Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

Dissertation:  “Quantifying desert surface processes using 10Be and 26Al”

Dr. Paul R. Bierman, advisor

2000    M.S. Geology, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

Thesis:  A multi-scale approach to understanding desert piedmonts using cosmogenic isotopes and centimeter-scale surveying”

Dr. Paul R. Bierman, advisor

1996    B.S. Geological Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Major in Geology

Senior thesis:  “Determining roughness coefficients at different flow stages of a woody debris river and a non-woody debris river, Trap Bay, Southeast Alaska

Dr. David R. Montgomery, advisor

 

Positions

2002-present    Assistant Professor

                         Skidmore College

1998-2002       Graduate Research Assistantship

University of Vermont

1997-2001       Graduate Teaching Fellowship

University of Vermont

 

Awards and Honors

2002                Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award

                        University of Vermont

2001                                J. Hoover Mackin Award

Geological Society of America

2001                                Jonathan O. Davis Scholarship

Desert Research Institute

1996                                Crooks Scholarship in Geomorphology

University of Washington

 

 

 

Externally Funded Grants

Co-Author and Co-Investigator, U.S. Army Research Office - DEPSCoR, 2003-2005, Quantifying Erosion and Sedimentation in Extreme Environments: Refining and Applying the Cosmogenic Method for Army-relevant Landscape Analysis, $500,000 – Since this grant is through the DEPSCoR program, and New York is not an eligible state, I am listed as a contractor on this grant rather than as a PI.  The grant is through the University of Vermont.

Co-Author and Co-Investigator, U.S. Army Research Office – STIR Program, 2002, Quantifying Sediment Generation in Humid Tropical Regions Using Cosmogenic Nuclides – A Proof of Method, $26,363

Co-Author and Co-Investigator, NSF Hydrologic Sciences, 2002, Cosmogenic Constraints on Sediment Generation and Transport, Namibian Rivers, $59,539

 

Externally Funded Grants Authored by Students

Derek Eaton ’05, Vermont Geological Survey, Initiation and Growth Processes of the Miller Brook Gully, Stowe, VT, $300

 

Internal Grants

Curricular Grant, 2004, To develop a course titled, The Adirondack Wilderness Experience

Skidmore Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Summer Grant, 2004, Drainage Basin Classification using GIS: The first step to determining the sedimentation of Lake Mead and Lake Powell

Rathmann Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant, 2003, Hydrologic Modeling of the Saratoga Lake Watershed Based on Future Land-use

Rathmann Course Development Grant, 2003, Reconfiguring Environmental Studies 105: Field Studies in Environmental Science

Technology and Teaching Grant, 2000, Implementing technology into Geohydrology

Mini-travel grant, 1999, Travel funds to present at the International Conference on Drainage Basin Morphology and Dynamics in Israel

 

Service

Technical Program co-chair, Northeastern Geological Society of America meeting, 2005

Local Organizing Committee, 11th International Symposium on Water Rock Interaction, 2004

Topical session co-chair, Northeastern Geological Society of America meeting, 2001

Field trip co-leader, New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference, 1999

Cosmogenic isotope short course co-instructor, Israeli Nuclear Authority, 1999

Manuscript reviews for: Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geology, GSA Special Paper, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Earth Science Reviews, Geology,

Book Chapter reviews for: The Rio Chagres:  A Multidisciplinary Profile of a Tropical Watershed, GSA Special Paper on Karst Geomorphology

NSF Proposal Reviews for: Geology and Paleontology, Hydrologic Systems, Geomorphology and Land Use Dynamics

 

Service to Skidmore College

Environmental Studies Steering Committee, 2002 -  present

GIS Steering Committee - 2004 – present

Attended PKAL leadership workshop – 2006

College Search Committee, Geographic Information Systems Technician, 2005

Faculty Search Committee, Ecologist, Environmental Studies Program, 2004

College Search Committee, Instructional Technologist, Center for Information Technology Services, 2004

Mini-college lecture, Reunion weekend, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

Mini-college lecture, Parents weekend, 2002, 2003

Lecture, Liberal Studies for Mature Adults, 2003, 2005

 

Professional development

Attended “On the Cutting Edge” workshop on Teaching Hydrogeology in the 21st Century, $2000 grant through the National Science Foundation

Attended “On the Cutting Edge” workshop on Early Career Faculty in the Geosciences, $2000 grant through the National Science Foundation

 

Undergraduate Theses Advised

Erin Black, GE ’06 – Turbidity of the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed

Megan Chadwick, GE ’06 – Buffers on the Battenkill: Maping Riparian Zones Using GIS

Michael Cleveland, GE ’06 – Long-term erosion rates of the Grand Canyon using 10Be

Davin Lyons, GE ’06 – Holocene climate change of Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes region, based on sediment cores

Derek Eaton, GE ’05 – Initiation and Growth Processes of the Miller Brook Gully, Stowe, VT

Daniel Feuer, GE ’05 – GIS Analysis of Tributary Basin Characteristics in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Luca Peppe, GE ’05 – Bedrock Depth Study of the Kayaderosseras Valley and a Reinterpretation of the Deglacial History

Veronica Russell, GE ’05 – Using 10Be to Discover the History of the Goldstone Piedmont at Fort Irwin, Mojave Desert, California

Robin Wiles-Skeels, ES ’04 – Evaluating the Effect of Land Use on Peak Discharge and Runoff in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Katrina Smith, GE ’04 – Paired Watershed Study of the East Branch Kayaderosseras and Sturdevant Creek near South Corinth, New York

William R. Foniri, GE ’04 – Using In Situ-Produced Cosmogenic 10Be to Determine Surface History of the Kofa Mountain Piedmont, Yuma, AZ

David O’Connor GE ’03 – Testing the Energy Budget Snowmelt Equation at Potash Mountain, New York

 

Invited Presentations

University of New Mexico, 2006, Long-term rates and dates of desert piedmont processes: Advancing over a century of research using cosmogenic nuclides

New Mexico Tech, 2006, Long-term rates and dates of desert piedmont processes: Advancing over a century of research using cosmogenic nuclides

Utah State University, 2006, Long-term rates and dates of desert piedmont processes: Advancing over a century of research using cosmogenic nuclides

Teaching Hydrogeology in the 21st Century, 2005, Water and Mud: Linking hydrogeology and landscape change

Colorado State University, 2003, Rock to "dirt":  Millennial-scale rates of sediment delivery to the Panama Canal reservoir (based on cosmogenic 10Be)

Hudson-Mohawk Professional Geologists’ Association, 2003, Sediment generation and water supply: A case study of the Panama Canal

 

Professional Organizations

Geological Society of America

American Geophysical Union

Hudson-Mohawk Professional Geologists Association

National Association of Geoscience Teachers

 

Courses Taught

2002 to present at Skidmore College

Field Techniques – Field-based course for senior level students that utilizes field research to solve original research questions.  Teams of students design, implement, and conduct research for the entire semester.  Each team is responsible for a professional presentation of the results of their presentation.

Geomorphology – Field-based course for 3rd and 4th year students that focuses on understanding processes active at Earth’s surface by collecting and analyzing field data.  A major component of the course is a team research project that includes primary data collection followed by written and oral presentations. 

Hydrogeologic Systems – Lecture and exercise-based course for 3rd and 4th year students that emphasizes practical hydrologic techniques.  Content includes half a semester of surface hydrology and half a semester of physical groundwater hydrology.  Students complete two professional style reports analyzing field data that they collect.

Environmental Geology – Field-based course for beginning Environmental Science majors that centers on understanding geological processes in an environmental context.  In order to showcase their understanding of geologic processes, the students are required to apply their geologic knowledge to an environmental issue in their hometown. 

Regional Geology of the Mojave Desert – Seminar course for 3rd and 4th year students based on primary literature.  Content emphasizes the relationship between the different geological disciplines in the Mojave Desert.  Students facilitate the last half of the course according to their interest.  A 10-day to two-week post-semester field trip to the Mojave Desert allows students to see, in the field, the research that they were reading during the semester.

Human Interaction with the Landscape – Non-major, introductory course that introduces students to how humans use and view the landscape.  The course uses case studies to explore human-land interactions from a variety of perspectives, including the scientific, economic, historical, and political.

Field Studies in Environmental Science – Team-taught entry-level course for Environmental Studies majors that focuses on analyzing ecological, chemical, and geological/hydrological data for the local drinking water supply.  Students use their data to determine the trophic state of the reservoir, the supply of water, and the natural buffering capacity within the watershed.

 

2001 at The University of Vermont

Environmental Problem Analysis  - Examination of interdisciplinary dimensions of natural resource and environmental problems.  Emphasis on social and ecological aspects of environmental issues and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Race and Culture in Natural Resources – Introduced first-year students to selected issues of race and culture as they relate to natural resources and the environment.

 

 

Technical Equipment

Total stations - Pentax and Sokkia

Global Positioning Systems - Trimble 4400 RTK, Trimble PRO-XR, Garmin hand-held, TOPCON DGPS

Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) spectrophotometer - Perkin-Elmer Optima 3000

Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California)

 

Publications

Refereed publications

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Eppes, M.C., Caffee, M.W., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (in review). Long-term erosion and deposition of a Mojave Desert piedmont: Implications of sediment supply and climate change. Quaternary Research.

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., *Foniri, W.R., Gillespie, A.R., Caffee, M., and Finkel, R. (2006). Dates and rates of arid region geomorphic processes from analysis of cosmogenic nuclides. GSA Today: v. 16, n. 8, p. 4-11.

Matmon, A., and Nichols, K.K. (2006). Isotopic insights into smoothening of abandoned fan surfaces, southern California. Quaternary Research: v. 66, p. 109-118.

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Eppes, M.C., Caffee, M.W., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (2005). Late Quaternary history of the Chemehuevi Mountain piedmont, Mojave Desert, deciphered using 10Be and 26Al. American Journal of Science: v. 305, p. 345-368.

**Persico, L.P., Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (2005). Tracking Painted Pebbles: Rates of Sediment Movement on Four Mojave Desert Piedmont Surfaces. Water Resources Research: v. 41, n. 7, W07003, doi: 10.1029/2005WR003990

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (2005). Long-term sediment generation rates for the upper Rio Chagres Basin: Implications for Panama Canal watershed management, in: The Rio Chagres: A Multidisciplinary Profile of a Tropical Watershed. R.S. Harmon (ed.), Springer. p. 297-313. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Caffee, M.W., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (2005). Cosmogenically enabled sediment budgeting. Geology: v. 33 n. 2, 133-136. [pdf]

Bierman, P.R., and Nichols, K.K. (2004). Rock to sediment, Slope to sea with 10-Be, Rates of landscape change. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences: v 32, 215-255. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R. **Persico, L., **Bosley, A., **Melillo, P.R., and **Kurfis, J. (2003). Quantifying urban land use and runoff changes through service-learning hydrology projects. Journal of Geoscience Education: v. 51, n.4, 365-372. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Hooke, R.LeB., Clapp, E.M., and Caffee, M.W. (2002). Quantifying sediment transport on desert piedmonts using 10Be and 26Al. Geomorphology: v. 45, 105-125. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (2001). Fifty-four years of ephemeral channel response to two years of intense military activity during World War II, at Camp Iron Mountain, Mojave Desert, California. In Ehlen, J., and Harmon, R.S., eds., The Environmental Legacy of Military Operations: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology, v. XIV. p. 123-136. [pdf]

Bierman, P.R., Clapp, E.M., Nichols, K.K., Gillespie, A.R., Caffee, M. (2001). Using cosmogenic nuclide measurements in sediments to understand background rates of erosion and sediment transport, in Landscape Erosion and Evolution Modeling, Harmon, R.S. and Doe, W.M. Kluwer. p. 89-115 [pdf]

Clapp, E.M., Bierman, P.R., Nichols, K.K., Pavich, M. and Caffee, M. (2001). Rates of sediment supply to arroyos from upland erosion determined using in situ-produced cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al. Quaternary Research: v. 55, 235-245. [pdf]

Gran, S.E., Bierman, P.R., and Nichols K.K. (1999). Teaching winter geohydrology in Vermont using frozen lakes and snowy mountains. Journal of Geoscience Education: 47, 420-427. [pdf]

Manuscripts in preparation

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Klepeis, K., McGee, M., Peavey, M., and Wright, S.F. (in revision). Long run-out mass movements in glacially conditioned landscapes. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

*Eaton, D., Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (in preparation). Gully initiation processes in glacial sediments: An example of a failed remediation. Northeastern Geology and Environmental Science.

Abstracts

*Black, E., and Nichols, K.K. (2006).  “Turbid” waters of the Kayaderosseras: Human caused or glacially influenced? Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38(2), p. 12. [pdf of poster]

*Chadwick, M., and Nichols, K.K. (2006).  Buffers on the Battenkill: Mapping riparian zones using GIS. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38(2), p. 25. [pdf of poster]

*Herbst, D., *Lyons, D.I., *Toczylowski, C., *Bronson, C., *Schink, N., and Nichols, K.K. (2006). Hadlock Pond Dam Failure: Reconstruction of peak discharge and comparision to regional flood frequency. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38(2), p. 79-80. [pdf of poster]

*Cleveland, M., *Black, E., *D’Esopo, C., *Donovan, D., Napoli, N., and Nichols, K.K. (2006). “In depth” knowledge (based on 378 well logs) of Kayaderosseras Creek surficial sediments. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38(2), p. 12. [pdf of poster]

*Lyons, D.I., Curtin, T.M., Halfman, J.D., Gaines, R., and Nichols, K.K. (2006) Getting to the bottom of it: Holocene climate change in Keuka Lake based on sediment cores.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38(2), p. 29. [pdf of poster]

*Eaton, D.F. (2005).Failed remediation - History of a gully's expansion by piping. Green Mountain Geologist, v. 32(2), 3-4.

*Eaton, D.F., and Nichols, K.K. (2005). Born-again gully: The reestablishment of the Miller Brook Gully, Northern Vermont. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 37(1), p. 78.  [pdf of poster]

Nichols, K.K, and Bierman, P.R. (2004). Using cosmogenic nuclides to decipher desert piedmont surface histories and process rates. Desert Surficial Processes and Landscape Dynamics on Military Lands: Scientific Advances, New Challenges, & Technology Transfer Workshop, 24. [pdf]

Bierman, P.R., and Nichols, K.K. (2004). Oh where, oh where did the sediment go: Two decades of tracking sediment from source to sink with 10Be. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 36(5), 387. [pdf]

*Wiles-Skeels, R. H., and Nichols, K.K. (2004). Evaluating the effect of land use on peak discharge and runoff in the Saratoga Lake watershed. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 36(2), p. 127.  [pdf of poster]

*Smith, K., and Nichols, K.K. (2004). Do paired watershed studies work? Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 36(2), p. 127. [pdf of poster]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P. R., Klepeis, K., Wright, S. F. (2004). Landslide data fix before non-geologists “fix” the landslide. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 36(2), p. 142. [pdf]

*Wiles-Skeels, R.H., and Nichols, K.K. (2003). City in the country: Quantifying the effects of land use change on the hydrology of a water supply watershed, Saratoga Springs, New York. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 35(6), 43. [pdf of poster]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Persico, L.P., Larsen, J., Caffee, M., and Finkel, R. (2003). U.S. Army impacts on Mojave Desert sediment, past and present. International Conference on Military Geology and Geography, 47. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Eppes, M.C., Caffee, M., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (2003). The life of piedmont sediment: Sediment tracing using cosmogenic nuclides. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 35(6), 333. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Eppes, M.C. Caffee, M., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (2003). The speed and history of piedmont sediment. International Quaternary Association XVI Congress, Programs with Abstracts, 140.[pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Finkel, R., and Larsen, J. (2003). Long-Term Erosion and Sedimentation Rates of the Rió Chagres Basin Based on Cosmogenic 10Be. International Scientific Symposium The Rio Chagres: A Multidisciplinary Profile of a Tropical Watershed Abstract Volume [pdf]

Bierman, P.R., Nichols, K.K., Clapp, E.M., Matmon, A., Caffee, M., and Finkel, R. (2002). Tracking landscape-scale sediment generation and transport using in situ produced 10-Be and 26-Al. Goldschmidt 2002, The 2002 geochemistry conference- from stars to life, A77.[pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., and Finkel, R. (2002). Sedimentation of the Panama Canal reservoir: Cosmogenic nuclide estimates of background sediment yield. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 34(6), 533. [pdf]

**Persico, L., Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (2002). The tortoise, the tank, and the sage: What really moves Mojave Desert pebbles. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 34(6), 275. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Eppes, M., Hooke, R., Persico, L., and Caffee M. (2001). Regular cosmogenic nuclide dosing of sediment down a desert piedmont suggests long-term systematic piedmont behavior. EOS. Trans., AGU, Fall Meet. Suppl., 82(47), Abstract H42D-0392. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Klepeis, K., and Wright S.F. (2001). Landslide initiation after drought. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 33(6), A-440. [pdf]

**Persico, L., Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (2001). Tracking painted pebbles in the Mojave- Offroad vehicles and their impact on sediment transport. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 33(6), A-439. [pdf]

**Kurfis, J.M., Bierman, P.R., Nichols, K.K., **Persico, L., and **Melillo, P. (2001). Green university succumbs to blacktop: Quantifying the increase in impermeable surface and their runoff through time. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 33(6), A-179. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (2001). Birth and growth processes of the Miller Brook gully, northern Vermont. Geological Society of America Northeast section, v. 33(1), 3. [pdf]

Bierman, P.R., Nichols, K.K., Clapp, E.M., and Caffee, M.W. (2000). Comparing geologic rates of change to those occasioned by General George S. Patton, Annual Meetings Program, American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America, 74. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., and Caffee, M.W. (2000). The Blackhawk keeps its secrets: Landslide dating using in-situ 10-Be. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 32(7), A-400. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., and Caffee, M.W. (1999). Revisiting the pediment problem: A case study of the Iron and Granite Mountains, Mojave Desert, California. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 31(7), A-222. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., and Caffee, M.W. (1999). Long-term sediment dynamics of the Iron and Granite Mountain piedmonts, Mojave Desert, California, U.S.A. International Conference on Drainage Basin Dynamics and Morphology, Abstracts, 47. [pdf]

Nichols, K.K., and Bierman, P.R. (1998). Geomorphic response to military training in the Mojave Desert. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 30(7), A-143. [pdf]

Wright, S.F., Shaw, D.S., and Nichols, K.K. (1998). Seismic hazards map of the Burlington Vermont quadrangle, western Vermont. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 30(1), 84. [pdf]

*Skidmore College undergraduate student

**University of Vermont undergraduate student

Field Guides

Bierman, P.R., Wright, S.F., and Nichols K.K. (1999). Slope stability and late Pleistocene/Holocene history, northwestern Vermont; in Wright, S.F. ed., New England Intercollegiate Geologic Conference Guidebook Number 91, p. 17-50. [pdf]

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