David Loope

Professor and Schultz Chair in Stratigraphy

Ph.D., 1981, Wyoming

Sedimentology, Paleoclimatology, Quaternary environments

Contact Information

322 Bessey Hall

Most of my research has involved wind-blown sediments on the Great Plains (Quaternary) and on the Colorado Plateau (Pennsylvanian through Jurassic). A recently completed project focused on rain-slumped strata within the Navajo Sandstone along the Utah-Arizona border. Clint Rowe and I have been trying to use the cross-strata in the Navajo to figure out atmospheric circulation over the supercontinent Pangea during the Early Jurassic. I've also been working in recent years with vertebrate paleontologists on some exciting Cretaceous sites in Mongolia, China, and Patagonia.

The Nebraska Sand Hills cover nearly one fourth of the state of Nebraska and provide some "ground truth" for interpretations of ancient wind-blown sandstones. More important, however, is their record of Quaternary climate change on the Great Plains. Recent work has shown that most of this giant dunefield--including bedforms up to 400 feet high--was active only a few thousand years ago. Jim Swinehart of the Conservation and Survey Division of University of Nebraska, my students, and I have been studying the interactions of streams, dunes, and lakes on the Great Plains during the latest Pleistocene and the Holocene. A group of UNL ecologists, meteorologists, hydrogeologists, and geologists recently were awarded a large ($1.8 million), 4-year grant, Sand Hills Biocomplexity: Intergrating Biogeophysical Processes Across Space and Time", from the National Science Foundation's Biocomplexity Program.

The UNL Geosciences' Luminescence Geochronology Lab has been a real stimulus to our work in the Sand Hills. Colleague Ron Goble's new OSL dates come directly from eolian deposits; we no longer have to rely on dating buried carbon-rich soils or peats for our chronology of drought events.

Selected Publications

  • Loope, D.B., Seiler, W.S., Mason, J.A., and Chan, M.A., 2008, Wind scour of Navajo Sandstone at The Wave (Central Colorado Plateau, USA), Journal of Geology, 116, 173-183.

  • Miao, X., Mason, J.A., Swinehart, J.B., Loope, D.B., Hanson, P.R., Goble, R.J., and Liu, X., 2007, A 10,000 year record of dune activity, dust storms, and severe drought in the central Great Plains, Geology, 35, 119-122.

  • Milan, J. and Loope, D.B., 2007, Preservation and erosion of theropod tracks in eolian deposits: examples from the Middle Jurassic Entrada Sandstone, Utah, U.S.A., Journal of Geology, 115, 375-386.

  • Rowe, C.M., Loope, D.B., Oglesby, R.J., Van der Voo, R. and Broadwater, C.E., 2007, Inconsistencies between Pangean reconstructions and basic climate controls, Science, 318, 1284-1286.

  • Loope, D.B., 2006, Burrows dug by large vertebrates into rain-moistened, Middle Jurassic dune sand, Journal of Geology, 114, 753-762.

  • Sridhar, V., Loope, D.B., Swinehart, J.B., Mason, J.A., Oglesby, R.J., and Rowe, C.M., 2006, Large Wind Shift on the Great Plains during the Medieval Warm Period, Science, 313, 345-347.