Directory Page Title

Steven A. Kuehl

Professor of Marine Science

Email: [[kuehl]]
Phone: (804) 684-7118
Interests: Radioisotope geochemistry; sediment dispersal - resuspension and biological mixing.
Office: Andrews Hall 229
Department: Physical Sciences

  • B.A., Lafayette College ,1979
  • M.S., North Carolina State University, 1982
  • Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 1985
Research Interests

Primary research in my Sediment Geochronology and Seabed Processes group centers on sediment dispersal and the accumulation of fine-grained sediments in continental margin environments.  The formation of marine sedimentary strata rarely results from the simple settling of sedimentary material to the sea floor, but rather from the complex interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in the marine environment. These processes, such as resuspension and biological mixing, impart characteristic signatures to the sediment and control the burial and preservation of important sedimentary components such as organic carbon and anthropogenic materials. We are investigating the characteristics of recent sedimentary strata on spatial scales ranging from less than a mm to 100's of meters and on temporal scales from seconds to 1,000's of years in a variety of continental margin environments.  In addition to projects currently being carried out in Chesapeake Bay, I am also focused on sediment dispersal from tectonically active continental margins. Areas such as the North Island, New Zealand, which discharge huge volumes of sediment to narrow continental shelves where, presumably, active bypassing to the deep sea occurs.

Current Projects
  • "A Real-Time and Rapid Response Benthic Observing System for the Study of Physical and Biological Controls on Muddy Seabed Deposition" (Lead PI Friedrichs, with Harris, McNinch, Schaffner and Diaz). Funded by NSF-OCE
  • "Extension of Sediment Geochronology to Coarse-Grained Sediments". Funded by ONR.
  • "Resolution of the Stratigraphic Record for a High Input, Collision-Margin Shelf Basin: The MARGINS Waipaoa Focus Area". Funded by NSF-MGG.
  • "Sediment Dispersal off a High-Yield River: Observations and Modeling of Gravity-Driven Transport and Deposition." (Lead PI Kuehl, with Friedrichs, Harris, McNinch and Wright). Funded by NSF-OCE.
Current Publications
  • Gerber, T.P., L.F. Pratson, S.A. Kuehl, J.P. Walsh, C. Alexander and A. Palmer, 2009.  The influence of sea level and tectonics on Late Pleistocene through Holocene sediment storage along the high-sediment supply Waipaoa continental shelf, Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.002.
  • Miller, A.J. and S.A. Kuehl, 2009.  Shelf sedimentation on a tectonically-active margin: a modern sediment budget for Poverty continental shelf, New Zealand , Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.018.
  • Rose, L.E and S.A. Kuehl, 2009. Recent sedimentation patterns and facies distribution on the Poverty Shelf, New Zealand, Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.020.
  • Kniskern, T.A., S.A. Kuehl, C.K. Harris and L. Carter, 2009.  Sediment accumulation patterns and fine-scale strata formation on the Waiapu River shelf, New Zealand, Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2008.12.003
  • Canuel, E.A., E.J. Lerberg, R.M. Dickhut, S.A. Kuehl, T.S Bianchi and S.G. Wakeham, 2009. Changes in a highly-disturbed ecosystem: The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (California, USA). Marine Pollution Bulletin, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.03.025
  • Kuehl, S.A., Allison, M.A., Goodbred, S.L. and Kudrass, H., 2005. The Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, In: River Deltas - Concepts, Models, and Examples (L. Gosian and J. Bhattacharya, eds.), SEPM Special Publication No. 83, p. 413-434.
  • Kuehl, S.A., Brunskill, G.J., Burns, K., Fugate, D., Kiniskern, T. and Meneghini, L., 2004. Nature of sediment dispersal off the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea: preliminary sediment budget and implications for margin processes, Continental Shelf Research, 24:2417-2429.
  • Kuehl, S.A., Carter, L., Gomez, B. and Trustrum, N., 2003, Holistic Approach Offers Potential to Quantify Mass Fluxes Across Continental Margins, Eos, 84, No. 38, 379/388.
  • Kniskern, T.A., and S.A. Kuehl, 2003. Spatial and temporal variability of seabed disturbance in the York River subestuary, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 58: 37-55.
  • Dellapenna, T.M., Kuehl, S.A., and Schaffner, L.C., 2003. Ephemeral deposition, seabed mixing and fine-scale strata formation in the York River estuary, Chesapeake Bay, 58: 621-643.
  • Goodbred, S.L. and Kuehl, S.A., 2003. The production, transport, and accumulation of sediment: a cross-section of recent developments with an emphasis on climate effects, Sedimentary Geology, 162: 1-3.
  • Allison, M.A., Khan, S.R., Goodbred, S.L., and Kuehl, S.A., 2003. Stratigraphic evolution of the late Holocene Ganges-Brahmaputra lower delta plain. Sedimentary Geology, 155: 317-342.
  • Goodbred, S.L., Kuehl, S.A., Steckler, M.S., and Sarker, M.H., 2003. Controls on facies distribution and stratigraphic preservation in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta sequence. Sedimentary Geology, 155: 301-316.
  • Heroy, D.C., Kuehl, S.A., and Goodbred, S.L., 2003. Mineralogy of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers: implications for river switching and Late Quaternary climate change. Sedimentary Geology, 155: 343-359.
  • Neubauer, S.C., Anderson, I.C., Constantine, J.A., and Kuehl, S.A., 2002. Sediment deposition and accretion in a Mid-Atlantic (U.S.A.) tidal freshwater marsh. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 54:713-727.
  • Orpin, A.R., Carter, L., Kuehl, S.A., Trustrum, N.A., Lewis, K.B., Alexander, C.R., and Gomez, B., 2002. Deposition from very high sediment yield New Zealand rivers is captured in upper margin basins. MARGINS, 9:1-4.
  • Dellapenna, T.M., Kuehl, S.A., and Pitts, L, 2001. Transient, longitudinal, sedimentary furrows in the York River subestuary, Chesapeake Bay: Furrow evolution and effects on seabed mixing and sediment transport. Estuaries, 24:215-227.
  • Smith and Kuehl, S.A., 2001. Physical energy regimes, seabed dynamics and organism-sediment interactions along an estuarine gradient. In: J.Y. Aller, S.A. Woodin and R.C. Aller (eds.), Organism-Sediment Interactions, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. Belle W. Baruch Library in Marine Science, no. 21.
  • Goodbred, S.L. and Kuehl, S.A., 2000. Enormous Ganges-Brahmaputra sediment discharge during strengthened early Holocene monsoon. Geology, 28:1083-1086.
  • Kineke, G.C., Woolfe, Kuehl, S.A., Milliman, J.D., Dellapenna, T.M., and Purdon, R.G., 2000. Sediment export from the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea: Evidence for a divergent dispersal system. Continental Shelf Research, 20:2239-2266.
  • Goodbred, S.L. and Kuehl, S.A., 2000. The significance of large sediment supply, active tectonism and eustasy on margin sequence development: Late Quaternary stratigraphy and evolution of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta. Sedimentary Geology, 133:227-248.
  • Dellapenna, T.M., Kuehl, S.A., and Schaffner, L.C., 1998. Seabed mixing and particle residence times in biologically and physically dominated estuarine systems: A comparison of lower Chesapeake Bay and the York River subestuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 46:777-795.
Current Students
  • Annie Miller (M.S.)"Holocene and recent sediment budget for the Waipaoa shelf, a MARGINS focus area" 7/05 - present; VIMS Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship
  • Lila Gerald (M.S.) "Preservation of storm events in the shelf stratigraphic record off the Waipaoa River, NZ" 8/04 - present; VIMS Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship
  • Patrick Dickhudt (Ph.D.) (co-advised with C. Friedrichs) "TBA" 8/05 - present; VIMS Assistantship
  • Tara Kniskern (Ph.D.) (co-advised with C. Harris) "Modeling and observations of strata formation off a high-yield river system" 8/01- present; Teaching Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship
Past Students
  • Lisa Addington (M.S.) "Distinguishing sediment transport modes to the outer-shelf off the Waiapu River, New Zealand " 8/03 - 12/05; VIMS Assistantship; NSF Research Assistantship; Teaching Assistantship
  • Elizabeth Tennant (W&M Honors Thesis) "Late Quaternary climage and provenance signals of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta Plain, Bangladesh" (12/03-5/05; Graduated with High Honors)
  • Heidi Romine (M.S.) (co-Advised with C. Friedrichs) "Use of Be-7 and Th-234 to trace turbidity maxima migration in the York River" 8/00-06/04; NSF Research Assistantship; Teaching Assistantship
  • Josiah Schiavone (W&M Geology Senior Thesis) Sedimentation from the Waipaoa River, North Island, New Zealand"
  • Tara Kniskern (M.S.) 8/98-8/01; VIMS Research Assistantship, ONR Research Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship
    "Spatial and temporal variability of physical and biological mixing in the York River subestuary", College of William and Mary, 113 pp.
  • David Heroy (M.S.) 8/97-5/00; VIMS Research and Teaching Assistantships, NSF Research Assistantship "Sand- and Clay-Size Mineralogy of the Ganges Brahmaputra Rivers: Records of River Switching and Late-Quaternary Climate Change", College of William and Mary, 65 pp.
  • Steven Goodbred (Ph.D.) 8/94-5/99; VIMS Fellowship, NSF Research Assistantship "Sediment Dispersal and Sequence Development Along a Tectonically Active Margin: Late Quaternary Evolution of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta", College of William and Mary, 165 pp.
  • Timothy Dellapenna (Ph.D.) 9/94-8/99; ONR Research Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship "Fine-Scale Strata Formation in Biologically and Physically Dominated Estuarine Systems within the Lower Chesapeake and York River Subestuary", College of William and Mary, 273 pp.
  • Beth Levy (M.A.) 08/93-7/95; NSF Research Assistantship "High-Resolution Seismic Stratigraphy of the Ganges-Brahmaputra River System: Subaqueous Deltaic Progradation on the Bengal Shelf", College of William and Mary, 104 pp.
  • David Dukat (M.S.) 8/91-6/93; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/91-6/93 "Investigation of Non-Steady-State 210Pb Flux and the Use of 228Ra/226Ra as a Geochronological Tool on the Amazon Continental Shelf", University of South Carolina, 121 pp.
  • Marylin P. Segall (Ph.D.) 1/87-6/91; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 1/87-6/91 "Modern, Fine Grained Continental Margin Sedimentation As Revealed By Clay Size Mineralogy and Sedimentary Fabric", University of South Carolina, 227 pp.
  • Ty Fuglseth (M.S.) 8/88-6/91; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/88-6/91 "Organic Carbon Preservation in Deep Sea Environments: A Comparison Between the Sulu and South China Seas", University of South Carolina,115 pp.
  • Thomas Pacioni (M.S.) 8/89-6/91; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/89-6/91 "Temporal and Spatial Variability of Surface Mixed Layer Thickness on the Amazon Continental Shelf", University of South Carolina, 106 pp.
  • Ellen Underkoffler (M.S.) 8/88-6/90; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/88-6/90 "Non Steady State Sedimentation on the Amazon Continental Shelf", University of South Carolina, 80 pp.
  • Tina Hariu (M.S.) 8/86-12/88; Teaching Assistantship, 8/86-12/88 "The Nature of Continental Shelf Sedimentation Seaward of the Ganges River System", University of South Carolina, 60 pp.
  • Marc Sanford (M.S.) 8/86-6/88; Teaching Assistantship and NSF Research Assistantship, 8/88-6/90 "Modern Sedimentary Processes in the Wilmington Canyon Area, U.S. East Coast", University of South Carolina, 126 pp.
Courses Taught/Teaching
  • MSCI 623 - Isotope Geochronlogy
  • GEOL 306 - Marine Geology
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: Sediment Dating
  • MSCI 501C - Fundamentals of Marine Science
  • MSCI 501L - Geological Oceanography Lab
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: New Zealand Rivers
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: 210Pb Geochronology
  • MSCI 698 - Topics in Marine Science: Be-7 in the Marine Environment
  • MSCI 545 - Marine Sedimentation
  • MSCI 698 - Continental Margin Sedimentation
  • MSCI 622 - Quaternary Evolution of Coastal Environments
  • MSCI 698 - Advanced Topics in Radioisotope Geochronology
Faculty/Student Awards
  • 1997 VIMS/SMS Outstanding Teacher Award.
  • Energy Minerals Division Certificate of Excellence for poster presentation, American Association of Petroleum Geology Annual Meeting, Calgary, 1992.
  • Certificate of Recognition from NASA/ASEE for research contributions made through the 1991 Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.
  • Certificate of Recognition from NASA/ASEE for research contributions made through the 1990 Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.
Professional Memberships
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Society for Sedimentary Geology
Collaborative Interdisciplinary Efforts