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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!

  • 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., Jacob, 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.
  • Colombi, C., and Parrish, J.T. 2008. Taphonomy of the paleofloral assemblages in the Ischigualasto Formation, Upper Triassic (Carnian), Argentina: Palaios, v. 23, p. 778-795.
  • Parrish, J.T. and Falcon-Lang, H.J. 2007. Coniferous trees associated with interdune deposits in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone Formation, Utah, USA. Palaeontology, v. 50, p. 829-843.
  • Fiorillo, A.R., and Parrish, J.T. 2004. The first record of a Cretaceous dinosaur from western Alaska. Cretaceous Research, v. 25, p. 453-458.
  • Parrish, J.T., Peterson, F., and Turner, C.E. 2004. Jurasssic "savannah"--plant taphonomy and climate of the Morrison Formation (Jurassic, Western U.S.A.) and its equivalents in Canada: Sedimentary Geology, v. 167, p. 137-162.
  • Rees, P.McA., Noto, C.R., Parrish, J.M., and Parrish, J.T. 2004. Late Jurassic climates, vegetation, and dinosaur distributions. Journal of Geology, v. 112, p. 643-654.

  • 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.
  • A Triassic marsh
    The Triassic Period was a time of warm, monsoonal climates over much of the world. I am working with national and international collaborators to characterize the plants, climate, and soils of the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Fm in Argentina. This formation contains a rare marsh deposit that preserves a complete ecological succession. We are using taxonomic, taphonomic, and geochemical techniques to understand the climate of the time and how that is reflected in the marsh deposit.
  • Flora and climate of the Eocene Chuckanut Formation, western Washington
    We are doing a detailed stratigraphic, paleontologic, and paleoclimatic study of this formation, whose origin is somewhat controversial but which seems to have been deposited in a pull-apart basin.
  • 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. We are currently working to secure funding to an integrative project refining the stratigraphy and geochemistry to understand the climate signal that might be housed in these mounds.


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