Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard



313-577-0517 (fax)

0224 Old Main, Dept. of Geology


Jeffrey Howard


Geology Department

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.

Currently teaching

  • Geology: Science of the Earth, GEL1010, 4.0 creditsSedimentation and Stratigraphy, GEL 3400, 4.0 credits
  • Geomorphology, GEL4200, 4.0 credits

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