Dr. Menking uses pollen, charcoal, and other materials contained within lake sediments to reconstruct the history of climatic change over the last million years. Understanding the natural variability in Earth’s climate is essential to being able to tease apart the impact humans are having on temperature and precipitation. In addition, knowledge of natural climatic variability may help us prepare for the recurrence of events such as droughts.
Menking conducts research on past climate change, on landscape evolution due to climatic and tectonic processes, and on the impacts of urbanization on streams including road salt and nutrient contamination.. She holds a doctorate in Earth Sciences from University of California, Santa Cruz. After obtaining her Ph.D., Kirsten worked as a visiting assistant professor at Franklin and Marshall College and joined the faculty at Vassar in the fall of 1997
Meets in the Wardell Room