Professor Gerta Keller in the atrium of Guyot Hall, with an Allosaurus dinosaur excavated during a 1941 dig.
Photo by Peter Murphy.
|Title:||Professor of Geosciences|
|Area(s):||Earth History and Paleontology Geology|
|Office:||308 Guyot Hall|
Gerta Keller is Professor of Paleontology and Geology in the Geosciences Department of Princeton University since 1984. She was born in Schaan, Liechtenstein and grew up in Switzerland. She is a citizen of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United States of America. She received a B.S. degree from San Francisco State University in 1973 and a Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in l978. Since 1984 she has been Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University.
Keller’s primary research interests focus on major catastrophes in Earth’s history in the broadest sense, including the biotic effects of catastrophes, such as mass extinctions, meteorite impacts, major volcanic eruptions, rapid climate changes and ocean acidification. Her research integrates paleontology, stratigraphy, geochronology, sedimentology and geochemistry in reconstructing past environmental changes associated with or leading up to mass extinctions.
Keller is well known for her contributions to the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction controversy. She has contributed in diverse areas, including a global quantitative analysis of the nature, rate and tempo of the mass extinction, stratigraphy and age control, climate and sea level changes, the distribution and age of diverse ejecta material related to impacts and Deccan volcanism. Her latest work on Deccan volcanism has concentrated on age dating of the main eruptions at and near the KT mass extinction in India and documenting the effects of this volcanism worldwide. Her work is largely the result of interdisciplinary collaborations with an international team of scientists and students.
Keller has over 240 scientific publications in international journals and is a leading authority on catastrophes and mass extinctions, including the biotic and environmental effects of impacts and volcanism. She has co-authored and edited (with N. MacLeod) a book on the “Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction” (W.W. Norton & Co, 1996), a book on “Chicxulub and the KTB mass extinction in Texas” (SEPM, 2011) (with T. Adatte), A Geological Society of India Special volume on “Micropaleontology and Stratigraphy: Global Bioevents in Earth’s History” (with Malarkodi, N., Reddy, A.N., Jaiprakash, B.C.) (Springer Verlag, 2013), and a Geological Society of America Special Paper on “Volcanism, Impacts and Mass Extinctions: Causes and Effects” (with A. Kerr). Her teams’ work on the K-T boundary event has been featured in the 2004 BBC Horizon Documentary “What really killed the Dinosaurs”, in the 2005 interview with Alexander Kluge “Der Mega-Einschlag und die Dinosaurier – Gerta Keller ueber das Massensterben vor 65 millionen Jahren”, the 2005 documentary on “Meteors: Fire in the Sky”, and the 2008 History Channel Program “First Apocalypse”, as well as in programs of the NY Museum of Natural History, Australian, German and Swiss TV films.
GEO 365 Evolution & Catastrophes: Prof. Gerta Keller and students on the field in Morocco, during fall semester break field trip in 2017. Photo by Liam O'Connor '20
GEO 365 Evolution & Catastrophes: Students studying dinosaur tracks in Dades Gorge, Morocco, during fall semester break field trip in 2017. Photo by Gerta Keller