John B. Anderson

Former Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography

Room Number: KWGL 208
(713) 348-4884
Google Scholar Link


BSc (1968) University of South Alabama
MSc (1970) University of New Mexico
PhD (1972) Florida State University

Awards & Honors

GCAGS Outstanding Educator Award, 1992
Elected to Fellowship, The Geological Society of America, May 1995
Graduate Teacher of the Year, Rice University, May 1995
AAPG Distinguished Lecture Series-Haas-Pratt Distinguished Lecturer
President-Society of Sedimentary Geology (2003-2004)
Rice University Presidential Mentoring Award-2004
SEPM Shepard Medal-2007
Visiting Distinguished Lecturer-University of Durham, England, spring 2008


sedimentology, marine geology, cryosphere studies


The most compelling evidence for Global Climate Change is rapidly accelerating sea-level rise; the current global rate is close to 3.0 mm/yr compared to 0.5 mm/yr for the past 4,000 years. Most of this acceleration known to be due to warming and expansion of the surface waters of the oceans and to melting of glaciers. However, ice sheets are the greatest potential contributor to global sea level and their past and future contribution is the least known. Our research focuses on establishing the past behavior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea-level rise. Our results provide essential input for numerical models that assess past and present ice sheet behavior and attempt to predict future changes in ice sheet mass balance.

We are also interested in examining how the acceleration in sea-level rise is impacting low-gradient coasts, using the Texas coast and our natural laboratory. Our work has provided documentation that estuaries and barrier islands are experiencing unprecedented change which, based on numerical modeling results, is attributed to accelerated sea-level rise and diminished sediment supply. The latter is largely attributed to anthropogenic influence.

Selected Publications

Simms, A.R.*, Anderson, J.B., DeWitt, R., Lambeck, K., and Purcell, A., 2013, Calculating rates of coastal subsidence from the last interglacial (LIG) shorelines: A late Pleistocene Gulf of Mexico perspective illustrating the importance of sediment loading Global and Planetary Change, 111C, pp. 296-308 DOI information: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2013.10.002

Larter, R.D., J.B. Anderson, M.J. Bentley, J.A. Dowdeswell, A.G.C. Graham, K. Gohl, C.-D. Hillenbrand, M. Jakobsson, J.S. Johnson, A.E. Kirshner.*, J.P. Klages, G. Kuhn, J. Lindow, F.O. Nitsche., C. Ó Cofaigh, J.A. Smith, C. Speigel, 2014, Reconstruction of changes in the Amundsen Sea and Bellingshausen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum, Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 100. 55-86,

Anderson, J.B., Wallace, D.J.*, Simms, A.R.*, Rodriguez, A.B.*, and Milliken, K.T.*, 2014, Variable Response of Coastal Environments of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico to Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change: Implications for Future Change, Review Article, Marine Geology, v. 352, p. 348-366.

Anderson, J.B., Conway, H., Bart, P.J.*, Kirshner, A.E.*, Greenwood, S.L., McKay, R.M., Hall, B.L., Ackert, R.P., Licht, K., Jakobsson, M., and Stone, J.O., 2014, Ross Sea Paleo-Ice Sheet Drainage and Deglacial History During and Since the LGM, Quaternary Science Reviews,

Witus, A.E.*, Branecky, C.M.*, Anderson, J.B. Szczuciński, W., Schroeder, D.M., Blankenship, D.D., and Jakobsson, M., 2014, Meltwater Intensive Glacial Retreat in Polar Environments and Investigation of Associated Sediments: Example from Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica, Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 85, 99-118.

Bentley, M., O’ Cofaigh, C., and Anderson, J., et al., 2014, A community-based reconstruction of Antarctic Ice Sheet deglaciation since the Last Glacial Maximum, Quaternary Science Reviews, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.06.025.

Minzoni, R.T.*, Anderson, J.B., Fernandez, R.*, and Wellner, J.S.*, 2015, Holocene climate, ocean and cryosphere interactions in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula: high-resolution, multi-proxy investigation of Herbert Sound, James Ross Island, Quaternary Science Reviews, 129, 239-259.

Anderson, J.B. Wallace, D.J., Simms, A. R., Rodriguez, A.B., Weight, R.W., and Taha, P.Z., 2015, The recycling of sediments between source and sink during a eustatic cycle, Earth-Science Reviews,153, 111-138.

Fernandez, R.A.*, Anderson, J.B., Wellner, J.S., Minzoni, R.L*., and Hallet, B., 2016. Latitudinal variation in glacial erosion rates from Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula (46°-65°S), GSA Bulletin, doi:10.1130/B31360.1,

Yokoyama, Y, Anderson, J.B , Masako Yamane, M, , Lauren M. Simkins, L.M. , Miyairi, Y., Yamazaki, T., Koizumi, M., Suga, H., Kusahar, K., Lindsay Prothro, L.*, Hasumi, H., Southon, J.R., and Ohkouchi, N., in press, Widespread Collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf during the late Holocene, Proceedings National Academy of Science, 113, 2354-2359

Majewski, W., Wellner, J.S., and Anderson, J.B., 2016, Environmental connotations of benthic foraminifical assemblages from coastal West Antarctica, Marine Micropaleontology, 124 1-15.

Swilo, M., Majewski, W., Minzoni, R.T., and Anderson, J.B., 2016, Diatom assemblages from coastal settings of West Antarctica, Marine Micropaleontology, 125, 95-109.

Halberstadt, A.R.*, Simkins, L.M., Greenwood, S.L., Anderson, J.B., 2016, Past ice sheet behavior: retreat scenarios and changing controls in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, The Cryosphere, 10, 1003-1020.

Moran, K.*, Nittrouer, J.A., Peril, M.M., Lorenzo-Trueba, J., and Anderson, J.B., Morphodynamic modeling of fluvial channel fill and avulsion timescales during early Holocene transgression, as substantiated by the incised valley stratigraphy of the Trinity River, Texas, Journal Geophysical Research, 122, 215-234

Odezulo, C*., Wallace, D.J., Lorenzo-Trueba, J., and Anderson, J.B., Stratigraphic and sedimentological evidences for unprecedented shoreline migration rate in historical time: Follets Island, Texas, In: Moore, L.J. and Murray, A.B., eds., Barrier Island Dynamics and Response to Changing Climate, Springer, New York, NY.

Minzoni, R.T.*, Majewski, W., Anderson, J.B., Yokoyama Y., Fernandez, R., Jakobsson, M., Oceanographic influences on the stability of the Cosgrove Ice Shelf, Antarctica, The Holocene, DOI: 10.1177(0959683617702226)://

Ferguson, S., Warny, S., Anderson, J.B., Simms, A.R., Breakdown of ancestral Mustang Island-Corpus Christi Bay complex in response to the punctuated 8.2 ka sea-level event: implications for future coastal change, The Holocene, 10.1177/09596836177156971, 1-7.

Milliken, K.T., Anderson, J.B., Simms, A., and Blum, M.D., Sediment flux variations correlated with climate zones of the Gulf of Mexico for the past 10kyr-testing the BQART equation, Journal Sedimentary Research, 87, 780-794.

Simkins, L.M., Anderson, J.B., Greenwood, S.L., Gonnermann, H.M., Prothro, L.O., Halberstadt, A.R.W., Stearns, L.A., Pollard, D., and DeConto, R.M., 2017, Anatomy of a meltwater drainage system beneath the ancestral East Antarctic ice sheet, Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO3012, 1-8.

* students

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