Gund Affiliate, Associate Professor, Chair of Geosciences, Oberlin College

Amanda Schmidt is an associate professor and chair of geosciences at Oberlin College, where she has taught since 2011. Amanda is a geomorphologist who specializes in human-landscape interactions. Her work applies geochemical techniques to understanding rates and depth of sediment movement and deposition across the landscape. Her lab at Oberlin College measures short-lived fallout radionuclides which are commonly used to date recent (<150 years) deposition in lakes, floodplains, and reservoirs and to fingerprint the depth of erosion in the upstream watershed when measured in detrital sediments. She and her students conduct research in China, the Caribbean (Cuba, Dominica, Puerto Rico), Antarctica (the Weddell Sea), and New England (New Hampshire, Martha's Vineyard). She directs a lab that measures short-lived nuclides including 136-Cs and 210-Pb which are exceptionally useful for detecting erosion on human time scales and thus provide critical data for land and natural resources management.


  • Bierman, P., Sibello-Hernandez, R., Schmidt, A. H., Cartas-Aguila, H., Bolanos-Alvarez, Y., Guillen-Arruebarrena, A. Campbell, M. K., Dethier, D., *Dix, M., Massey-Bierman, M., Garcia-Moya, A., Perdrial, J., Racela, J., Alonso-Hernandez, C.. (2020). Cuba! River water chemistry reveals rapid chemical weathering, the echo of uplift, and the promise of more sustainable agriculture. GSA Today, 30. PDF
  • Grande, Alexandra, Amanda H. Schmidt, Paul R. Bierman, Lee B. Corbett, Carla Lopez-Lloreda, Jane Willenbring, William H. McDowell, and Marc W. Caffee. (2021). Landslides, hurricanes, and sediment sourcing impact basin-scale erosion estimates in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 562: 116821. PDF
  • Schmidt, A. H., Sosa Gonzalez, V., Bierman, P. R., Neilson, T. B., Rood, D. H., 2017, Agricultural land use doubled sediment loads in western China's rivers: Anthropocene. DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2017.10.002 PDF
  • Quock, M., A. H. Schmidt, L. B. Corbett, P. R. Bierman, A. J. Hidy, M. Caffee (2022). Hurricanes alter 10Be concentrations in tropical river sediment but do not change regional erosion rate estimates. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.  47(5), 1196-1211.
  • Cosmogenic nuclide and solute flux data from central Cuban rivers emphasize the importance of both physical and chemical mass loss from tropical landscapes. Mae Kate Campbell, Paul R. Bierman, Amanda H. Schmidt, Rita Sibello Hernández, Alejandro García-Moya, Lee B. Corbett, Alan Hidy, Héctor Cartas Águila, Aniel Guillén Arruebarrena, Greg Balco, David Dethier, and Marc Caffee (in press, but coming out any day now).

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Erosion, short-lived fallout radionuclides, geomorphology, human-landscape interactions

Photo credit to Jennifer Manna


  • PhD in Archaeological Studies, University of Washington, 2010
  • BSE in Geosciences, Princeton University, 2002