ALUM: no longer at INSTAAR

Darren Larsen

Darren Larsen CV

PhD 2013, Geological Sciences

Departments / Academic Programs


  • PhD: University of Colorado, 2013
  • MS: University of Colorado, 2011
  • BA: Colby College, 2005

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups

Contact Information


Global change and earth surface processes.

Research Interests

Arctic and alpine environments, glacier geology, Quaternary paleoclimatology, geomorphology.


Academic pursuits are a common theme in my immediate family. Both of my parents were secondary school teachers (now retired), and my two sisters and I were raised in rural southern New York State and could never seem to escape the principles of learning, both in school and at home. At an early age, I developed a curiosity for the natural world, and what began as explorations into the forests and hills of my hometown, eventually turned into a Bachelor’s degree in Geology and a passion for Geosciences research. My current scholarly interests involve developing a more complete understanding of Earth’s climate system by analyzing multiple climate proxy indicators, contained in geologic records with high temporal resolution, to evaluate the timing and magnitude of Arctic and alpine glacier and environmental responses to past climate variability.

I am currently enrolled in a dual PhD program at the University of Colorado and University of Iceland. My thesis research has been focused on Holocene paleoclimate and ice cap reconstructions in Iceland, working primarily with proglacial lake sediments to provide a framework for assessing current and future impacts of modern climate change occurring in the Arctic. Iceland is famous for its natural environments and for its deeply rooted cultural sense of place. This connection between Icelanders and their surroundings is partly derived from the active glacier and geomorphic processes that have sculpted and shaped the Icelandic landscape. As a scientist and outdoor enthusiast, I believe in the inherent connection between people and their natural surroundings and feel that the broader impacts of my research are beneficial to the global society. Perhaps it is also related to my Norse ancestry that cultures like Iceland, which have developed in the harsh environments of high northern latitudes, interest me.

During the course of my PhD thesis, I have also completed a Masters degree in Hydrology, Water Resource Engineering, and Environmental Fluid Mechanics at the University of Colorado, as well as a graduate certificate in Hydrologic Sciences. Recently, I have begun a side project in the Teton Mountain Range using lake sediments to reconstruct Holocene environmental conditions along an elevation transect and to further constrain the deglacial history of the Range. I also intend to explore glacial and interglacial erosion rates and past glacio-fluvial dynamics and sedimentation. 


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