Gifford H. Miller

Gifford H. Miller


  • Associate Director, INSTAAR
  • Director, Center for the Geochemical Analysis of the Global Environment (GAGE)



  • PhD: University of Colorado Boulder, 1975

Contact Information

(Office) 303 492-6962
(Office) 303 492-8437
Benson Earth Sciences
(Lab) 303 492-5075


Quaternary stratigraphy, geochronology, and paleoclimatology.

Research Interests

Present research: Quaternary stratigraphy and dating methods; amino acid geochronology and cosmogenic exposure dating; and glacial history of the Arctic, focusing on glacial chronology and ice-sheet dynamics using direct field evidence and quantitative estimates of the timing and magnitude of warm times in the Arctic. I also have research interests in monsoons on Quaternary time scales and the causes of megafauna extinctions.


My primary scholarly interests focus on gaining an improved understanding of how the physical earth system operates. Toward this end, I am specifically interested in using the Quaternary as a means to reconstruct the coupled ocean/atmospheric/ice climate system. By reconstructing past environmental changes it is possible to get a better understanding of the rates and magnitude of natural climate variability and the various feedback mechanisms in the global climate system. I am also interested in the role of humans in the modification of landscapes and ecosystem on Quaternary timescales.


  • Distinguished Career Award, American Quaternary Association, 2018
  • Elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2009
  • Elected Foreign Member, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, 2008
  • Easterbrook Distinguished Scientist Award, Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division, Geological Society of America, 2005
  • Elected Fellow, Geological Society of America, 1986




Young, N., Briner, J. P., Schaefer, J. M., Gifford H. Miller, Lesnek, A. J., Sarah Crump, Thomas, E. K., Simon Pendleton, Cuzzone, J., Lamp, J., Zimmerman, S., Caffee, M. 2020: Reply to Carlson (2020) comment on “Deglaciation of the Greenland and Laurentide ice sheets interrupted by glacier advance during abrupt coolings”. Quaternary Science Reviews, 240: 106329. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106329

Barrows, T. T., Magee, J., Gifford H. Miller, Fifield, L. K. 2019: The age of Wolfe Creek meteorite crater (Kandimalal), Western Australia. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 54(11): 2686-2697. DOI: 10.1111/maps.13378

Moon, T. A., Irina Overeem, Druckenmiller, M., Holland, M., Huntington, H., Kling, G., Lovecraft, A. L., Gifford H. Miller, Scambos, T., Schädel, C., Schuur, E. A. G., Trochim, E., Wiese, F., Williams, D., Wong, G. 2019: The expanding footprint of rapid Arctic change. Earth's Future, 7(3): 212-218. DOI: 10.1029/2018EF001088

All publications by Gifford H. Miller >


Teaching Statement

Graduate Student Thesis Opportunities for 2013

I am seeking a PhD and MSc student to work on a new collaborative research campaign between my group and collaborators Jason Briner (University at Buffalo) and Nat Lifton (PRIME, Purdue), entitled "Arctic Sensitivity to Climate Perturbations and a Millennial Perspective on Current Warming Derived from Shrinking Ice Caps."

The PhD will focus on entombed ancient landscapes, including in situ vegetation and ancient weathered rocks, emerging beneath thin ice caps that are currently receding at a dramatic pace.  For the PhD position, experience in the processing of rocks for cosmogenic exposure dating would be a great advantage; familiarity with Matlab helpful; MSc completed preferred.

MSc will focus on refining the history of Neoglaciation from the moraine records and sediment cores from nearby lakes.  Helicopter-supported fieldwork in Arctic Canada in 2013 and 2014.

Contact me for details.


Current Courses

  • GEOL 5420: Quaternary Dating Methods
  • CVEN 5838-001: Rockfalls and Avalanches

Past Courses

  • GEOL 1060-003: Global Change: An Earth Science Perspective
  • GEOL 5700: Holocene Nonlinearities
  • GEOL 3040-003: Geological Record of Global Change
  • GEOL 5420-003: Quaternary Geochronology/Quaternary Stratigraphy
  • GEOL 5700-001: Volcanism in the Arctic System