Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard

Professor Emeritus


313-577-0517 (fax)

0224 Old Main, Dept. of Geology


Jeffrey Howard


Environmental Science and Geology

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Mapping, classification, and genesis of anthropogenic soils
  • Urban geology
  • Quaternary geology of southeastern Michigan
  • Geologic history of Southern California


  • Rewriting the glacial geologic history of Michigan
  • Methods for quantifying artifact and microartifact content in urban anthropogenic soils
  • Natural vs. anthropogenic sources of radionuclides and heavy metals in urban soils, Detroit, Michigan

Active research projects

  • Stratigraphy, depositional environments and provenance of Late Pleistocene sediments near Detroit, southeastern Michigan [download progress report]
  • Quaternary geology of the Detroit, Michigan quadrangle and surrounding areas
  • Experimental order, soil survey of vacant land, Detroit, Michigan
  • Arsenic in urban soils, Detroit, Michigan


  • Ph.D., Geology, University of California Santa Barbara, 1987
  • M.S., Agronomy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA, 1979
  • B.S., Geology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA, 1972

Awards and grants

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 1999-2000

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010-2011

  • Faculty Recognition Award, 2018

Selected publications

  • Howard, J. L., Coram, M. R., and Zawiskie, J. M., 2013, Stratigraphy, paleoenvironments and provenance of late Pleistocene glacial sediments in the southeastern Great Lakes region: Implications for ice sheet dynamics. In: Muller, J. and Koch, L. (eds.), Ice sheets: Dynamics, formation and environmental concerns. Nova Pub., New York, p. 1-54.
  • Howard, J. L., Dubay, B. R., and Daniels, W. L., 2013, Artifact Weathering, Anthropogenic Microparticles and Lead Contamination in Urban Soils at Former Demolition Sites, Detroit, Michigan: Environ. Pollut. 179, 1-12.
  • Howard, J. L., Dubay, B. R., McElmurry, S. P., Clemence, J., and Daniels, W. L., 2013, Comparison of sequential extraction and bioaccessibility analyses of lead using urban soils and reference materials: Water Air Soil Pollut. 224, 1678-1691.
  • Howard, J. L., 2014, Proposal to add anthrostratigraphic and technostratigraphic units to the stratigraphic code for classification of anthropogenic Holocene deposits: The Holocene, v. 24, p. 1856-1861.
  • Howard, J. L., Ryzewski, K., Dubay, B. R., and Killion, T. K., 2015, Artifact preservation and post-depositional site-formation processes in an urban setting: A geoarchaeological study of a 19th century neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan: Jour. Archaeol. Sci., v. 53, p. 178-189.
  • Howard, J. L., and Shuster, W. B., 2015, Experimental Order 1 soil survey of vacant urban land, Detroit, Michigan. Catena, v. 126, p. 220-230.
  • Howard, J. L., 2015, Glaciolacustrine history of the Huron-Erie lowland in the southeastern Great Lakes region (USA) revisited. Journal of Great Lakes Research, v. 41, p, 965-972.
  • Howard, J. L., and Orlicki, K. M., 2016, Effects of anthropogenic microparticles on the chemical and geophysical properties of urban soils, Detroit, Michigan, Soil Science, v. 180, p. 154-166.
  • Howard, J. L., and Orlicki, K. M., 2016, Composition, micromorphology and distribution of microartifacts in anthropogenic soils, Detroit, Michigan. Catena, v. 138, p. 103-116.
  • Howard, J. L., Orlicki, K. M., and LeTarte, S. M., 2016, Evaluation of geophysical methods for mapping soils in urbanized terrain, Detroit, Michigan USA. Catena, v. 143, p. 145-158.
  • Howard, J. L., 2017. Anthropogenic soils. Springer. Howard, J. L., 2017, Anthropogenic Soils: Springer, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 231 pp.
  • Howard, J. L., and Daniels, W. L., 2018, Soils of urban and human-impacted landscapes. In: Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M. M., Kobayashi, A., Liu, W., and Marston, R. A. (Eds.), People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley-AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography, Wiley, New York.
  • Ingersoll, R. V., Spafford, C. D., Jacobson, C. E., Grove, M., Howard, J. L., Hourigan, J., and Pedrick, J., 2018, Provenance, paleogeography and paleotectonic implications of the mid-Cenozoic Sespe Formation, coastal southern California, USA, in Ingersoll, R. V., Lawton, T.F., and Graham, S.A., eds., Tectonics, Sedimentary basins, and Provenance: A Celebration of William R. Dickinson’s career: Geological Society of America Special Paper 540, p. 1-22.

Courses taught

  • Geomorphology, GEL4200, 4.0 credits, Winter 2018
  • Soils and Soil Pollution, GEL5150, 4.0 credits, Spring/Summer 2018
  • Geology: Science of the Earth, GEL1010, 4.0 credits, Fall 2018
  • Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, GEL3400, 4.0 credits, Fall 2018

Other qualifications directly relevant to courses taught

  • Research Associate, Department of Agronomy, VPI&SU, 1978-1979
  • Program Specialist, Soil Scientist’s Office, County of Loudoun, Virginia, 1979-1981
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Wayne State University, 1987-1993
  • Associate Professor, Department of Geology, Wayne State University, 1993-present