DRI / DIRECTORY / KEN ADAMS
Ken Adams Profile Photo
Dr. Ken Adams
Research Professor, Geology

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

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

Keywords

geology, biological environments, paleo-water

 

Publications
2020
Miller, J. J., Etyemezian, V. R., Adams, K. D., Berli, M., Kruger, B. R., Stillman, S., Cablk, M. E., Heintz, K. M., Nikolich, G., Moser, D. P. (2020). Lakebed Health and Feasibility of Use Study, including Inundation Frequency Analysis of Rogers and Rosamond Dry Lakes, Edwards Air Force Base, California, Paginated by section, DRI Publication #41279
2019
Sion, B., Adams, K. D., McDonald, E. V. (2019). Soil-Landform Relationships at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and Camp Ripley, Minnesota, 23 pp., Report prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
2016
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, 10.1007/s10933-016-9897-z
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.
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), 10.1130/abs/2016AM-281049
Oviatt, C. G., Shroder, J. F. (Eds.) Adams, K. D., Bills, B. G. (2016). Isostatic Rebound and Palinspastic Restoration of the Bonneville and Provo Shorelines in the Bonneville Basin, UT, In Lake Bonneville: A Scientific Update, Developments in Earth Surface Processes, Vol. 20, 145-164, Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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
2015
Rosen, M. R., Cohen, A., Kirby, M., Gierlowski-Kordesch, E., Starratt, S., Valero Garcés, B. L., Varekamp, J. (Eds.) 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, In Sixth International Limnogeology Congress-Abstract Volume, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2015-1092, 16-17, U.S. Geological Survey: Reston, VA, June 15, 2015-June 19, 2015, 10.3133/ofr20151092
Rosen, M. R., Cohen, A., Kirby, M., Gierlowski-Kordesch, E., Starratt, S., Valero Garcés, B. L., Varekamp, J. (Eds.) 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, In Sixth International Limnogeology Congress-Abstract Volume, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2015-1092, 160-161, U.S. Geological Survey: Reston, VA, June 15, 2015-June 19, 2015, 10.3133/ofr20151092
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: DRI, Accepted.
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, 10.1002/2015WR017850
2014
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
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, 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
Lageson, D. R., Peters, S. G., Lahren, M. M. (Eds.) Rhode, D. E., Adams, K. D., Elston, R. G. (2000). Geoarchaeology and Holocene landscape history of the Carson Desert, western NevadaGeoarchaeology and Holocene landscape history of the Carson Desert, western Nevada, In Great Basin and Sierra Nevada, 45-74, Geological Society of America Field Guide 2: Boulder, CO
Lageson, D. R., Peters, S. G., Lahren, M. M. (Eds.) Rhode, D. E., Adams, K. D., Elston, R. G. (2000). Geoarchaeology and Holocene Landscape History of the Carson Desert, Western Nevada, In Great Basin and Sierra Nevada, 45-74, Geological Society of America: Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America Field Guide 2
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
Conference Proceedings
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.
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 Congress-Field Trip Guidebook: Reno, NV, 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
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
2014
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
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.