Stephen Marshak

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Prof. Marshak's research involves structural geology, tectonics, and field geology. He has been involved in research projects in the Midcontinent, the Appalachians, and southeastern Brazil, and studies a variety of issues including: the development of tectonic structures and unconformities in cratons; the development of tectonic foliations in rocks; the formation of fold-thrust belts; and crustal evolution during the Precambrian.


  • Ph.D. Columbia University (1983)
  • M.S. University of Arizona (1979)
  • A.B. Cornell University (1976)


  • GEOL 100: Planet Earth
  • GEOL 411: Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • GEOL 415/GEOL 515: Field Geology
  • GEOL 512: Geotectonics
  • ESE 199: Future of Earth's Resources
  • GEOL 511: Advanced Structural Geology

Personal profile

Prof. Marshak was on the faculty in the Department of Geology for 35 years, and became emeritus in 2018.  He served as Department Head of Geology for 8 years, and then as Director of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment for 10 years.  In addition to research in structural geology and tectonics, he maintains a strong interest in geoscience education. He authors or co-authorrs college textbooks in introductory geology, Earth Science, and structural geology, most of which are published by W.W. Norton & Company. He also has developed a MOOC (massive open online course) offered through Coursera.



Office Address

3044 Natural History Building

Office Phone


Honors & Awards

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Award 

University of Illinois Campus Undergraduate Teaching Award

Luckman award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching

Amoco Award for Innovation in Teaching

Neil Miner Award of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers

Stillwell Medal of the Australian Geological Society

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Research Output

Ramp initiation in fold-thrust belts: Insight from PIV analysis of sandbox models

Marshak, S., Haq, S. S. B. & Sen, P., Jan 2019, In : Journal of Structural Geology. 118, p. 308-323 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • The Missouri High-Conductivity Belt, revealed by magnetotelluric imaging: Evidence of a trans-lithospheric shear zone beneath the Ozark Plateau, Midcontinent USA?

    DeLucia, M. S., Murphy, B. S., Marshak, S. & Egbert, G. D., Feb 20 2019, In : Tectonophysics. 753, p. 111-123 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Barklage, M., Stein, S., Stein, C. A., Keller, G. R., Marshak, S., Hickman, J. B., Carpenter, N. S., Persaud, P., Hatcher, R. D. & Elling, R. P., 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • Correction: Modification of the Western Gondwana craton by plume-lithosphere interaction (Nature Geoscience DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0064-1)

    Hu, J., Liu, L., Faccenda, M., Zhou, Q., Fischer, K. M., Marshak, S. & Lundstrom, C., Jul 1 2018, In : Nature Geoscience. 11, 7, 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  • Lithospheric discontinuities beneath the U.S. Midcontinent – signatures of Proterozoic terrane accretion and failed rifting

    Chen, C., Gilbert, H., Fischer, K. M., Andronicos, C. L., Pavlis, G. L., Hamburger, M. W., Marshak, S., Larson, T. & Yang, X., Jan 1 2018, In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 481, p. 223-235 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Datasets

    DEM of the Great Unconformity, USA cratonic platform

    Marshak, S. (Creator), Domrois, S. (Creator), Abert, C. (Creator) & Larson, T. H. (Creator), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Nov 28 2016