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Stephen Marshak

Profile picture for Stephen Marshak

Contact Information

3044 Natural History Building


Prof. Marshak was on the faculty in the Department of Geology for 35 years, and became emeritus in 2018.  He served as Department Head of Geology for 8 years, and then as Director of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment for 10 years.  In addition to research in structural geology and tectonics, he maintains a strong interest in geoscience education. He authors or co-authorrs college textbooks in introductory geology, Earth Science, and structural geology, most of which are published by W.W. Norton & Company. He also has developed a MOOC (massive open online course) offered through Coursera.



Research Interests

Prof. Marshak's research involves structural geology, tectonics, and field geology. He has been involved in research projects in the Midcontinent, the Appalachians, and southeastern Brazil, and studies a variety of issues including: the development of tectonic structures and unconformities in cratons; the development of tectonic foliations in rocks; the formation of fold-thrust belts; and crustal evolution during the Precambrian.


  • Ph.D. Columbia University (1983)
  • M.S. University of Arizona (1979)
  • A.B. Cornell University (1976)

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 100: Planet Earth
  • GEOL 411: Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • GEOL 415/GEOL 515: Field Geology
  • GEOL 512: Geotectonics
  • ESE 199: Future of Earth's Resources
  • GEOL 511: Advanced Structural Geology

Additional Campus Affiliations

Director Emeritus, School of Earth, Society, and Environment
Professor Emeritus, Geology
Professor Emeritus, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies

Honors & Awards

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Award 

University of Illinois Campus Undergraduate Teaching Award

Luckman award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching

Amoco Award for Innovation in Teaching

Neil Miner Award of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers

Stillwell Medal of the Australian Geological Society

Recent Publications

Anders, A. M., Lai, J., & Marshak, S. (2022). Development of Foreland Intracratonic Plateaus (Ozark Plateau and Appalachian Plateaus): A Consequence of Topographic Inversion Due To Erosion of Adjacent Fold-Thrust Belts. Tectonics, 41(4), Article e2021TC006957.

Lundstrom, C. C., Lin, X., Brueckel, K., Campe, C., Nan, X., Ortega, K., Akrie, P., Yu, M., & Marshak, S. (2022). New mechanism for forming thick granitic continental crust at Phanerozoic convergent margins. In G. R. Foulger, L. C. Hamilton, D. M. Jurdy, C. A. Stein, K. A. Howard, & S. Stein (Eds.), Special Paper of the Geological Society of America (pp. 233-249). (Special Paper of the Geological Society of America; Vol. 553). Geological Society of America.

Marshak, S., Rauber, R. M., & Johnson, N. (2022). Natural Disasters. W. W. Norton & Company.

Xiao, H., DeLucia, M., Song, X., Li, J., & Marshak, S. (2022). Crustal Thickness Variations in the Central Midcontinent, USA, and Their Tectonic Implications: New Constraints Obtained Using the H-κ-c Method. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(17), Article e2022GL099257.

Marshak, S., & Rauber, R. M. (2020). Earth Science: The Earth, the Atmosphere, and Space. (2 ed.) W. W. Norton & Company.

View all publications on Illinois Experts