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Judy Totman Parrish

Judith Totman Parish

Professor Emerita


McClure 307A

Mailing Address

Department of Geological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3022
Moscow, ID 83844-3022

Research: Paleoclimatology

  • Ph.D., Earth Sciences, 1979—University of California, Santa Cruz
  • M.S., Earth Sciences, 1977—University of California, Santa Cruz
  • M.A., Biology, 1976—University of California, Santa Cruz
  • B.S., Biology, 1972—University of California, Santa Cruz

  • Paleo-upwelling in the oceans and its effect on sedimentary rocks and fossils
  • Climate of the supercontinent Pangea
  • High-latitude climate in the Cretaceous
  • Rhetoric of global climate change in the media

My research has been on pre-Quaternary climates, and I have focused on three general themes: paleo-upwelling in the oceans and its effect on sedimentary rocks and fossils; the climate of the supercontinent Pangea; and high-latitude climate in the Cretaceous. Early in my career, I engaged mostly in conceptual climate modeling and meta-analysis of large data sets on sedimentary rocks and fossils related to climate. In more recent years, I have focused more on field studies on specific problems raised during the earlier work in modeling.

After more than 7 years of full or half-time administration, I returned (summer 2007) to teaching and research. In addition to continuing the work on Pangean and Cretaceous climates, I am involved in research on the use of language in public discourse on global warming. From 2008-2009, I was President of the Geological Society of America.

I am also a commercial pilot and flight instructor; I've been flying for more than 18 years. I specialize in mountain and back-country flying, which is great for looking at geology!

In 2011 I retired from teaching, but am still active in research, editing, and service to the geological community.

  • Parrish, J.T., Rasbury, E.T., Hasiotis, S.T., and Chan, M.A., Earliest Jurassic U-Pb ages from carbonate deposits in the Navajo Sandstone, southeastern Utah, USA: Geology.
  • Parrish, J.T., Hyland, E.G, Chan, M.A., and Hasiotis, S.T., 2019, Stable and clumped isotopes in desert carbonate spring and lake deposits reveal paleohydrology: A case study of the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Southwestern U.S.A.: Sedimentology, v. 66, p. 32-52. Published online 2018, doi:10.1111/sed.12540
  • Chan, M.A., Hasiotis, S.T., and Parrish, J.T., 2019, Enigmatic pipe swarms and implications for fluidization dynamics in aeolian deposits: Sedimentology, v. 66, p. 513-535. doi:10.1111/sed.12491
  • Dorney, L.J., Parrish, J.T., Hasiotis, S.T., and Chan, M.A., 2017, Petrography and environmental interpretation of tufa and lake carbonates in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southeastern Utah: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 87, p. 967-985. doi: 10.2110/jsr.2017.56
  • Parrish, J.T., Hasiotis, S.T., and Chan, M.A., 2017, Carbonate deposits in the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, southern Utah and northern Arizona: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 87, p. 740-762. doi: 10.2110/jsr.2017.42
  • Hobbs, K.M., and Parrish, J.T., 2016, Miocene global change recorded in Columbia River basalt-hosted paleosols: Geological Society of American Bulletin, v. 128, p. 1543-1554. doi:10.1130/B31437.1
  • Breedlovestrout, R., Evraets, B., and Parrish, J.T., 2012, New Paleogene paleoclimate analysis of western Washington using physiognomic characteristics from fossil leaves, USA: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 392, p. 22-40.
  • Colombi, C.E., Montanez, I.P., and Parrish, J.T., 2011, Registro de la relación isotópica de carbono en la paleoflora de la Formación Ischigualasto (Triásico superior), Noroeste Argentina. Implicancias paleoatmosféricas: Revistas Brasilieros Paleontológicas, v. 14, p. 1-12. doi: 10.4072/rbp.2011.1.04
  • Nicotra, J., and Parrish, J.T., 2010, Rushing the cure: Temporal rhetorics in global warming discourse: JAC—Rhetoric, Writing, Culture, and Politics, v. 30, p. 215-237.
  • Parrish, J.T., Fiorillo, A.R., Jacobs, B.F., Currano, E.D., and Wheeler, E.A., 2010, The Ketavik Formation: New stratigraphic unit and its implications for the paleogeography and paleoclimate of southwestern Alaska: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 295, p. 348-362.

  • Ecosystems of the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone
    The Navajo Sandstone is often held up as the "type" hyper-arid climate in the geologic record, but in fact, it had a rich fauna and flora near oases. Our goal is to reconstruct the ecosystem and show how it flourished in this severe paleodesert environment. We are currently wrapping up two sub-projects, one documenting the full range of soft-sediment deformation features in the Navajo Sandstone and the other redefining and expanding on classifications of eolian surfaces.
  • Carbonate spring mounds in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone
    We have worked out the distribution, stratigraphy, petrography, and stable isotope geochemistry of some of these limestones and have preliminary conclusions about the paths of groundwater flow at the time. Our original project concentrated on the erg margin near Moab, UT. We are currently seeking funding to expand the project to the rest of the basin.


Department of Geological Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure Hall 203

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3022
Moscow, ID 83844-3022

Phone: 208-885-6192


Web: Geological Sciences