Tod A Frolking
B.A. in Geography from University of New Hampshire, 1973
M.A. in Geography Soil Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1978
Ph.D. in Geography Soil Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1985
Teaching at Denison
As the sole geographer at Denison, I teach several introductory and regional geography courses designed to spark student interest and broaden understanding of the diversity of environments and human/environment interactions around the world. These courses help to foster geographic (and environmental) literacy which I see as absolutely critical to our future. As human impacts on the planet continue to increase, we must have a citizenry that is knowledgeable and can make sound decisions about land and resource use. I also teach three intermediate to advanced courses concentrating on different groups of earth surface processess - Weather and Climate, Geomorphology, and Hydrogeology. We spend considerable time outside observing and measuring atmospheric, hydrologic and pedologic phenomena as well as computer times using spread sheets and gathering data from the web. All of my classes have a significant environmental focus and most are linked with Denison's Environmental Studies curriculum.
I have led some student trips to Cuba. We have studied both natural history and environmental issues in and around Havana and in the provinces of Pinar del Rio (west), Matanzas (central), and Santiago de Cuba (east). More information about the May Term 2000 trip can be obtained through the Cuba link.
In broad terms, my research focuses on the complex interactions among landforms, soils and climate. I study the dynamic environments along the margins of the former great Laurentide ice sheets, with particular emphasis on glacial deposits and the genesis of soils and paleosols. Lately much of my attention has been on the timing of drainage reversals associated with the advance of ice sheets into the Appalachain Plateau in East Central Ohio. In addition, I have conducted collaborative archaeological research at several sites in central Ohio and have worked on the biogeochemical modeling of soil nitrogen. Our discovery of gut contents (with living intestinal bacteria) with the recovery of the Burning Tree Mastodon has added important information about the late glacial environment and megafauna diets. Much of my research has involved students, both as field assistants and in independent senior projects that contribute to my research program. Other student research projects I have advised cover a wide range of topics. Examples of recent student research projects include a presettlement map of Licking County vegetation, the origin and mineralogy of beach sands on Kelley's Island, coastal zone management in southern Sri Lanka, an analysis of lacustrine sediments of Glacial Lake Licking, and an assessment of soil nutrient loading at the Buckeye Egg Farm.