Just another day in my geomorphology lab!
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I currently teach courses in Earth Systems Science (Geog 112), Climatology (Geog 215), Physical Geology (Geol 161), Geomorphology (Geol 407), Soils (Geol 410), and Quaternary environments (Geol 455), GIS (Geol 465) and regional geological field excursions whenever possible. My formal training deals with geomorphology (processes that shape the landscape) and the factors that force changes to occur. Of particular interest to me is the aspect of climate change over the last 120,000 years. I also have training in climatology, stratigraphy, and hydrogeology.
Jim Durbin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana (Go Hoosiers!) and grew up near the village of Broad Ripple (David Letterman attended high school there) with my younger brother, Joel, and my parents Jim and Joanne. On a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas in 1977, I realized that I wanted to understand what I was observing.
I attended my first geology class as a high school sophomore at North Central. The geology classes were abolished the following year and replaced by an Earth Science class. However, I was already hooked on geology. From there I attended IUPUI, where I played collegiate baseball (pitcher, utility fielder), and studied geology. I received my B.S. degree in Geology from Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 1988. I worked for a couple of years (6 months or so as a consulting geologist and 18 months with USGS in Indianapolis) before deciding to get my advanced degrees and pursue what I liked to do best; teach.
From there I went to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) -(Go Salukis!...Saluki?: an Egyptian hunting dog that looks like long haired, ferocious greyhound), where I received my M.S. in Geology in 1993. My research (Dr. Steven Esling, advisor) involved mapping alpine glacial deposits in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming (up in the cirques, sippin' a cup o' java!). I used soil development and weathering characteristics in cobbles to differentiate between deposits of Bull Lake and Pinedale glacial advances. While at SIUC, I started work on my Ph.D. (Dr. Michael Blum, advisor).
I then attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) to complete my research with Dr. Blum in 1999. My research involves understanding geomorphic response to environmental changes. I accomplish this by examining the surface deposits and determining the stratigraphic relationships for the late Quaternary alluvium in my study area, the Lower Nueces River Valley near Corpus Christi, TX. The alluvial stratigraphic architecture and geomorphic expression of the alluvium is related to sea-level variations and climatic changes that have occurred over the last 120,000 years, and most recently to human activity. In simplified terms, I look at dirt deposited by the rivers to see how the river has changed it's behavior over time, presumably in response to changes in rainfall, temperature, vegetation, sea level, and human activity.
I work hard and I play hard. However, if I can't do both well, then I don't play at all. I enjoy teaching very much, and I have been at USI since 1998. My passions, aside from Geology and the Earth Sciences in general, include my family, my wife Stacie and my son Atticus, my Fids (furry and feathered "kids" including my dogs (3), cats (4), and birds (4)), playing and watching sports of every type (Basketball- Hoosiers, Salukis, Screaming Eagles, Pacers; Football- Huskers, Colts, and Dolphins; Baseball- Reds, college world series), hiking, camping, fishing, riding motorcycles, macintosh computers, cartoons (The Simpsons and Spongebob RULE!), "The Onion", automobile racing (Indy 500 and Brickyard 400), barbecue, Jimmy Buffett, the Blues, and a good place in which to enjoy any or all of the above!