Dr. Ken Adams

Dr. Ken D. Adams

Research Professor Geology
6b656e2e6164616d73406472692e656475
775-673-7345
geology, biological environments, paleo-water

Professional Interests

Dr. Adams' research interests lie in the fields of Quaternary geology, geomorphology, and landscape dynamics. More specifically, he is interested in how different geomorphic systems, including fluvial, lacustrine, and alluvial, respond to changes in climate and active tectonic deformation. Recent research has focused on the geologic, geomorphic, and hydrologic histories of Lake Lahontan and other pluvial lake basins in the western United States and South America. The sediments and landforms in these basins archive detailed records of active faulting, isostatic rebound, the response of rivers to base-level change, and rapidly changing hydrologic and environmental conditions. The tools used in this work include geologic mapping, geomorphic and stratigraphic analysis, geochronology, remote sensing and spatial analysis, and paleohydrologic modeling. This research has important implications concerning the rates and magnitudes of hydrologic and landscape responses to climatic perturbations that have occurred in the past and that may occur in the future. The results of this work also provide important contextual details about the changing environmental conditions and distribution of resources that confronted the first Americans and their descendents over the last 14,000 years.

Research Areas

  • Quaternary geology
  • Quaternary geochronology
  • Geomorphology
  • Paleoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Active tectonics
  • River and stream assessment
  • Remote sensing
  • Spatial analysis

Research Projects

Education

DegreeYearInstitutionArea
Ph.D. 1997 University of Nevada, Reno Geological Sciences
M.S. 1990 Montana State University Earth Sciences
B.S. 1987 Humboldt State University Geology

Publications & Presentations

2017

Rodrigues, K. D., Keen-Zebert, A. K., Huot, S., Adams, K. D. (2017). Testing the suitability of the TL signal for dating volcanic glass, Luminescence and Electron Spin Dating Conference (LED 2017): Cape Town, South Africa, September 11, 2017-September 15, 2017, Accepted
Rodrigues, K. D., Keen-Zebert, A. K., Huot, S., Adams, K. D. (2017). Testing the potential of thermoluminescence dating of volcanic glass with known-age samples, Geological Society of America: Seattle, October 22, 2017, Accepted

2016

Adams, K. D. (2016). Lake-level, lake-surface area, and lake volume changes at Pyramid Lake, NV over the last 16 cal ka, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 48, (7), doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-281049
Adams, K. D., Bills, B. G. (2016). Isostatic Rebound and Palinspastic Restoration of the Bonneville and Provo Shorelines in the Bonneville Basin, UT, Eds. Oviatt, C. G., Shroder, J. F., In Lake Bonneville: A Scientific Update, Developments in Earth Surface Processes, Vol. 20, 145-164, Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Barth, C., Boyle, D. P., Hatchett, B. J., Bassett, S., Garner, C. B., Adams, K. D. (2016). Late Pleistocene Climate Inferences from a Water Balance Model of Jakes Valley, Nevada (USA), Journal of Paleolimnology, 568, (2), 109-122, doi: 10.1007/s10933-016-9897-z
Noble, P. J., Ball, G. I., Zimmerman, S. H., Maloney, J., Smoth, S. B., Kent, G., Adams, K. D., Karlin, R., Driscoll, N. (2016). Holocene Paleoclimate History of Fallen Leaf Lake, CA, from Geochemistry and Sedimentology of Unusually Well-Dated Sediment Cores, Quaternary Science Reviews, 131, (Part A), 193-210
Rhode, D. E., Adams, K. D. (2016). Paleoenvironmental Context for Lincoln County, Nevada, Submitted to Bureau of Land Management, Caliente, NV, for Lincoln County Archaeological Initiative, Accepted

2015

Adams, K. D., Negrini, R. (2015). Using Tree-Ring Records to Simulate Annual Lake-Level Fluctuations at Tulare Lake, California, Over the Last 2,000 Years, Eds. Rosen, M. R., Cohen, A., Kirby, M., Gierlowski-Kordesch, E., Starratt, S., Valero Garcés, B. L., Varekamp, J., In Sixth International Limnogeology Congress-Abstract Volume, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2015-1092, 16-17, doi: 10.3133/ofr20151092 U.S. Geological Survey: Reston, VA, June 15, 2015-June 19, 2015
Adams, K. D., Negrini, R. M., Cook, E. R., Rajagopal, S. (2015). Annually Resolved Late Holocene Paleohydrology of the Southern Sierra Nevada and Tulare Lake, California, Water Resources Research, 51, 1-17, doi: 10.1002/2015WR017850
Adams, K. D., Negrini, R. M., Rajagopal, S., Cook, E. R. (2015). Timing, Duration, and Effects of Droughts in the Southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley, CA Over the Last 2000 Years, AGU 2015 Fall Meeting: San Francisco, CA, December 14, 2015-December 18, 2015, Abstract GC41E-1131
Keen-Zebert, A. K., Baker, S. E., Adams, K. D., Bacon, S. N. (2015). Luminescence dating of sediment from beach deposits of the Pleistocene highstand of Owens Lake, Accepted
Noble, P. J., Zimmerman, S. H., Ball, G. I., Adams, K. D., Maloney, J., Smith, S. B. (2015). Late Holocene (3.65 ka) Transition from Neopluvial Period to Increased Aridity in the Lake Tahoe-Pyramid Lake Watershed, California, Eds. Rosen, M. R., Cohen, A., Kirby, M., Gierlowski-Kordesch, E., Starratt, S., Valero Garcés, B. L., Varekamp, J., In Sixth International Limnogeology Congress-Abstract Volume, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2015-1092, 160-161, doi: 10.3133/ofr20151092 U.S. Geological Survey: Reston, VA, June 15, 2015-June 19, 2015
Noble, P. J., Zimmerman, S. H., Ball, G. I., Adams, K. D., Maloney, J., Smith, S. B. (2015). Late Holocene (3.65 ka) Multi-Proxy Shift in Fallen Leaf Lake, CA Marks the Transition from a Millennial-Scale Neopluvial Interval to Increased Aridity, 38, Pacific Climate Workshop: Pacific Grove, CA, March 8, 2015-March 11, 2015
Zimmerman, S., Adams, K. D., Rosen, M. (2015). Trip 3-Modern, Holocene, and Pleistocene lake locales in the western Great Basin, Nevada and California, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2015-1108, 89-100, Sixth International Limnogeology CongressField Trip Guidebook: Reno, NV, June 15, 2015-June 19, 2015

2014

Adams, K. D., Bacon, S. N., Lancaster, N., Rhodes, E., Negrini, R. (2014). How wet can it get? Defining future climate extremes based on late Holocene lake-level records [abstract], Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 46, (6), Geological Society of America Annual Meeting: Vancouver, British Columbia, October 19, 2014-October 22, 2014, Paper No. 310-5.
Adams, K. D., Sada, D. W. (2014). Surface water hydrology and geomorphic characterization of a playa lake system: Implications for monitoring the effects of climate change, Journal of Hydrology, 510, 92-101
Bacon, S. N., Adams, K. D., Bullard, T. F., Keen-Zebert, A. K., Decker, D. L. (2014). Sill Failure and Catastrophic Outburst Floods from Owens Lake, CA: Implications for Latest Pleistocene and Holocene Paleohydrology of the Owens River Drainage Basin, Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 46, (6), Geological Society of America Annual Meeting: Vancouver British Columbia, October 19, 2014-October 22, 2014, Paper No. 310-7
Reheis, M., Adams, K. D., Oviatt, C., Bacon, S. N. (2014). Pluvial lakes in the Great Basin of the western United States: A view from the outcrop, Quaternary Science Reviews, 97, 33-57

2012

Adams, K. D. (2012). Response of the Truckee River to lowering base level at Pyramid Lake, Nevada, based on historical air photos and LiDAR data, Geosphere, 8, 607-627, Geosphere

2011

Cartwright, A., Quade, J., Stine, S., Adams, K. D., Broecker, W., Cheng, H. (2011). Chronstratigraphy and lake-level changes of Laguna Cari-Laufquen, Rio Negro, Argentina, Quaternary Research, 76, 430-440
Goebel, T., Hockett, B., Adams, K. D., Rhode, D. E., Graf, K. (2011). Climate, environment, and humans in North America's Great Basin during the Younger Dryas, 12,900-11,600 calendar years ago, Quaternary International, 242, 479-501

2010

Adams, K. D. (2010). Lake levels and sedimentary environments during deposition of the Trego Hot Springs and Wono tephras in the Lake Lahontan basin, Nevada, USA, Quaternary Research, 73, 118-129

2009

Broecker, W., McGee, D., Adams, K. D., Cheng, H., Edwards, L., Oviatt, C., Quade, J. (2009). A Great Basin-wide dry episode during the first half of the Mystery Interval?, Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, (25-26), 2557-2563

2008

Adams, K. D., Goebel, T., Graf, K., Smith, G., Camp, A. J., Briggs, R., Rhode, D. E. (2008). Late Pleistocene and early Holocene lake-level fluctuations in the Lahontan basin, Nevada: Implications for the distribution of archaeological sites, Geoarchaeology, 23, (5), 608-643

2007

Adams, K. D. (2007). Late Holocene sedimentary environments and lake-level fluctuations at Walker Lake, Nevada, USA, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 119, (1/2), 126-139
Bills, B., Adams, K. D., Wesnousky, S. (2007). Viscosity structure of the crust and upper mantle in western Nevada from isostatic rebound patterns of Lake Lahontan shorelines, Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, (B6, B06405), 10.1029/2005JB003941, doi: 10.1029/2005JB003941

2005

Young, M. H., Adams, K. D., Mizell, S. A., Chen, L., Bullard, T. F., Grant, S. (2005). Technical Report: Assessment and Improvement of Hydraulic Characterization of Alluvial Fans to Support Estimates of Recharge and Initial Abstraction, DRI Report No. 41218

2004

Adams, K. D. (2004). Estimating palaeowind strength from beach deposits-Reply, Sedimentology, 51, 671-673

2003

Adams, K. D. (2003). Age and paleoclimatic significance of late Holocene lakes in the Carson Sink, NV, USA, Quaternary Research, 60, 294-306
Adams, K. D. (2003). Estimating paleowind strength from beach deposits, Sedimentology, 50, (3), 565-577

2002

Adams, K. D., Minor, T. B. (2002). Historic shoreline change at Lake Tahoe from 1938 to 1998 and its impact on sediment and nutrient loading, Journal of Coastal Research, 18, (4), 637-651

2000

Rhode, D. E., Adams, K. D., Elston, R. G. (2000). Geoarchaeology and Holocene Landscape History of the Carson Desert, Western Nevada, Eds. Lageson, D. R., Peters, S. G., Lahren, M. M., In Great Basin and Sierra Nevada, 45-74, Geological Society of America: Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America Field Guide 2
Rhode, D. E., Adams, K. D., Elston, R. G. (2000). Geoarchaeology and Holocene landscape history of the Carson Desert, western Nevada, Eds. Lageson, D. R., Peters, S. G., Lahren, M. M., In Great Basin and Sierra Nevada, 45-74, Geological Society of America Field Guide 2: Boulder, CO

1999

Adams, K. D., Wesnousky, S. (1999). The Lake Lahontan highstand: Age, surficial characteristics, soil development, and regional shoreline correlation, Geomorphology, 30, (4), 357-392
Adams, K. D., Wesnousky, S., Bills, B. (1999). Isostatic rebound, active faulting, and potential geomorphic effects in the Lake Lahontan basin, Nevada and California, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 111, (12), 1739-1756

1998

Adams, K. D., Wesnousky, S. (1998). Shoreline processes and the age of the Lake Lahontan highstand in the Jessup embayment, Nevada, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 110, (10), 1318-1332

Authors

Abstract