Steven Bacon

Associate Research Professor, Geology
Steven Bacon


Dr. Bacon is a geologist with 25 years of experience specializing in field investigations associated with the application of basic and applied research in Quaternary geology, geomorphology, and engineering geology related to terrain and geotechnical-site characterizations, landscape evolution, paleoclimate and archaeological studies, geologic hazard assessments, and hydrogeologic investigations. Recent basic research has focused on the characterization of alluvial, fluvial, and lacustrine depositional environments using geomorphic mapping, sequence stratigraphy, soils, and 14C and OSL analyses, plus coupled watershed-lake hydrologic modeling to infer late Pleistocene and Holocene hydroclimate variability in the southwestern United States. Applied research has included geomorphic-based predictive terrain modeling of mobility and dust emission hazards for military operations in desert regions, as well as geologic and tectonic studies to support flood and seismic hazards, plus groundwater resource assessments. Past field areas that involved studying landscape evolution in alpine to desert environments related to geologic hazards or paleoclimate research include the western U.S., Alaska, Israel, Egypt, New Zealand, and Mongolia.

Research Areas

  • Quaternary Geology
  • Geomorphology and Surficial Processes
  • Landform Analysis and Characterization
  • Sequence Stratigraphy
  • Soils Geomorphology
  • Hillslope Processes and Landsliding
  • Paleohydrologic Modeling
  • Paleoseismology
  • Tectonic Geomorphology
  • Geologic Hazard Assessments (dust emission, landsliding, flooding, seismic)

Research Projects

  • Integrated Forecasting of Desert Terrain Conditions for Military Operations
  • Catalog of Analogs and Desert Terrain Characterization at U.S. Army’s Desert/Hot Weather test site, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona
  • Neotectonic investigations in southern Owens Valley, eastern California
  • Late Pleistocene and Holocene stratigraphy and geomorphology of pluvial Owens Lake, Owens Valley, eastern California
  • Geomorphic development of alluvial fans at the base of the Inyo Mountains in Owens Lake basin, eastern California
  • Neotectonic investigations in China Lake Basin, eastern California
  • Late Pleistocene and Holocene stratigraphy and geomorphology of pluvial China Lake, Indian Wells Valley, eastern California
  • Paleohydrologic modeling of the Owens watershed-lake system, south-eastern Sierra Nevada
  • Paleohydrologic modeling of the Snake River watershed, Idaho
  • Geologic hazard assessment of carcinogenic mineral fibers in northern Nevada


B.S. Geology, Humbolt State University, 1996

M.S. Environmental Systems-Geology, Humbolt State University, 2003

Ph.D. Hydrology, University of Nevada, Reno, 2020