Juan González

Dr. Gonzalez standing on 20 meters of 27 million-year-old Catahoula volcanic ash in Starr County

Associate Professor
School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences
Environmental Sciences Academic Coordinator

ESCNE 2.620
(956) 665-3523

Curriculum Vitae


2008 Ph.D. Earth and Environmental Science, Tulane University
2000 M.S. Earth Sciences, Universidad EAFIT
1986 B.A. Geology, Humboldt State University
1986 B.S. Oceanography, Humboldt State University

Areas of Interest

Quaternary geology and geomorphology
Past and future sea level change
Geology of the Rio Grande Valley
Coastal tectonics

Research Overview

I consider myself a quaternary geologist with a wide range of interests spanning from paleoclimate to coastal tectonics to geoarchaeology. My research is multidisciplinary and largely field based.  I combine field observations with geochronological and geochemical tools to quantify rates of geologic process.  I am also interested in assessing anthropogenic impacts on the environment produced by pre-historic societies.  Some of the primary techniques I use include, radiocarbon and luminescence dating, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and ground penetrating radar. Current projects in my native Colombia focus on three fronts, constructing a paleosea-level chronology, quantifying the belowground carbon storage in a tropical coastal setting and assessing the impacts on deforestation and sediment runoff brought by the emergence of a large scale lithic industry.  My work in South Texas involves characterizing, dating and sourcing the Catahoula volcanic ash, finger printing a chert from a local quarry exploited by native Americans to make projectile points since the early Archaic, dating the timing of deposition of the Pleistocene Beaumont Formation and calculating the volume of the South Texas sand sheet. 

Recent Publications

  • Reger, B., González, J.L., and Skowronek, R.K., 2020. Lithic Raw Materials in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, South Texas and Northeast Mexico 45:1-13.
  • Törnqvist, T.E., Jankowski, K., Li, F. and Gonzalez, J.L., 2020. Tipping points of Missippi Delta marshes due to accelerated sea-level rise. Science Advances 6 21: eaaz5512.
  • De La Garza, R. and González, J.L., 2018. Luminescence chronology of a Mass Grave of Giant Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus hexagonatus), Willacy County, TX. Bulletin of the South Texas Geological Society, 59:20-33.
  • Toscano, M.A., González, J.L., Whelan, K., 2018.  Calibrated density profiles of Caribbean mangrove peat sequences from Computed Tomography for assessment of peat preservation, compaction and impacts on sea level reconstructions.  Quaternary Research. 89, 201-222.
  • González, J.L., Hinthorne, J.R., 2017.  The Morrosquillo Assemblage Revealed: Provenance and Context of a Refined Group of Ground-edge Stone Tools from the Caribbean Lowlands of Colombia, Lithic Technology. 41: 1-19.
  • Ewing, T.E. and González, J.L., 2016. The Late Quaternary Rio Grande Delta-A distinctive, underappreciated geologic system. Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions. 66: 169-180.
  • González, J.L., Skowronek, R.K, Lovett, B., 2014.  Deflation Troughs, Water, and Prehistoric Occupation on the Margins of the South Texas Sand Sheet.  Journal of Texas Archeology and History. 1: 70-93.
  • González, J.L., Hinthorne, J.R., Skowronek, R.K., Eubanks, and Kumpe, D., 2014.  Characteristics and genesis of El Sauz chert, and important prehistoric lithic resource in south Texas, Lithic Technology. 39: 1-10.
  • González, J.L., Shen, Z., Mauz, B., 2014.  New constraints on Holocene uplift rates for the Baudo Mountain Range, northwestern Colombia.  Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 52: 194-202.
  • González, J.L., and Törnqvist, T.E., 2009.  A new late Holocene sea level record from the Mississippi Delta: Evidence for a climate/sea level connection? Quaternary Science Reviews, 28: 1737-1749.
  • González, J.L., and Törnqvist, T.E., 2006.  Coastal Louisiana in Crisis, Subsidence or sea-level rise? Eos. 85: 493-498.


GEOL 1404 - Historical Geology
GEOL 3404 - Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
GEOL 3405 - Oceanography
ENVR 4303 - Environmental Science Research Project

UTRGV Faculty Profile