Steve focuses his research on young landscapes sculpted by volcanic eruptions and the associated geologic hazards. To do so, he combines field work and laboratory experiments to investigate the processes controlling and the products resulting from recent volcanic eruptions. Recently, he mapped the bathymetry of the floor of Garibaldi Lake using sonar and is continuing to elucidate the timing of volcanic and glacial events that created this stunningly beautiful and geologically unique feature with the use drone-based aerial photography and good old boots on the ground field mapping. When the snow is flying, he uses experimental volcanology to investigate near-surface volcanic processes and he continues to investigate his passion for Hawaiian volcanology. Currently, he is investigating the interaction between eruptive products of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Steve also supports a wide range of undergraduate research in the geologic playground around Squamish and beyond. These projects include attenuation of land-based noise into water, glacial landscape geomorphology, fluvial erosion of indicator minerals for kimberlite pipe discovery and lake and steam flow level monitoring.
Born and raised in the farm country of Illinois, without a rock outcropping for miles, Steve embarked wide-eyed on his academic and professional journey in geology when he arrived in Boulder, Colorado for his undergraduate studies. After many awe-inspiring field trips in Colorado’s Front Range, Steve found a passion for volcanoes and continued on to a Master’s degree at the University of Hawaii, studying the active Kilauea Volcano on the big island of Hawaii. Then Steve’s journey turned north to the University of British Columbia for a PhD in experimental volcanology on the welding of pyroclastic deposits. Following that experience, Steve became a science advisor for U.S. Congressman (now Senator) Tom Udall of New Mexico through a AAAS Congressional Science Fellowship.
Steve has taught on the block plan for more than 10 years, starting as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Colorado College and then returning to Canada to join Quest University in 2010. He has a passion for field and experiential education and has taught a myriad of field courses in Hawaii, Mexico, British Columbia, all over the US Southwest, and Yellowstone National Park.
Steve will likely be one of the few locals seen running, biking, skiing or kayaking towards Mt. Garibaldi during its next eruption.