Eric Barefoot is a sedimentary geologist. He studies how the climate sculpts the landscapes on which we live, grow, and work. He uses measurements from the environment and sedimentary rocks to design experiments and computer models that connect sediment transport processes to the resulting deposits and landforms we observe in on Earth’s surface and in the strata.

The driving principle behind his work is that the past is the key to the future. Understanding how Earth’s landscapes evolved as a result of climate change throughout geologic time is critical for preparing for future climate impacts on communities and infrastructure. He is currently pursuing this research as an NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow with Doug Edmonds and the Sedimentary Systems Lab at Indiana University.

Eric completed his PhD in sedimentology and stratigraphy at Rice University in Houston, Texas, advised by Jeff Nittrouer. While a student, he used sedimentary rocks to investigate how floods shaped rivers and floodplains in western Colorado (USA) 55.6 million years ago. With support from a CUAHSI Pathfinder Fellowship, he collaborated with Kyle Straub at Tulane University to experimentally test the impact of changes in flooding intensity on landscape evolution on river floodplains. After defending his dissertation, Eric worked as a postdoctoral researcher with the MNiMorph Group at the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. Prior to being a student at Rice, Eric completed his B.S. in Geology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.

Eric is a committed educator, and believes that training in the geosciences equips students with core skills and foundational knowledge that will serve them in their professional and civic life. An unreformable extrovert, he is invested in promoting community and inclusion wherever he is. At Rice University, he managed a student-run bar (Valhalla), organized community events for the Queer Graduate Student Association, and served as President of the geosciences student union.

Please reach out if you are interested in research collaborations, have questions you think I could answer, or if you know good recipe you want to share.

Eric and his Dog
Me and my dog Bay Leaf. Outside Teddy Roosevelt Ntnl Park, North Dakota.