Thomas Biggs

Lecture Professor · Ph.D. University of Arizona, 1997

Contact Information

My primary teaching interests are physical geology, landscape evolution, petrology, especially economic ore deposits, and environmental geology. I am also interested in the geology of Virginia and the tectonic evolution of the state and mid-Atlantic region. At the present time, my on-going research includes studies of the effects of fire frequency on soil nutrient concentrations and distributions, plant diversity, and isotopic signatures in the semiarid grasslands of southeastern Arizona. This research is an important aspect of land management efforts in the southwestern U.S. and other semiarid grassland environments, and is a continuation of my dissertation research at the University of Arizona. I am also mapping the surficial geology of selected areas of Arizona for the Arizona Geological Survey.

Recent Publications

Pearthree, P.A., and Biggs, T.H., 1999, Surficial geology and geologic hazards of the Tucson Mountains, Pima County, Arizona: Avra, Brown Mountain, Cat Mountain, and Jaynes 7.5' quadrangles: Arizona Geological Survey, Open-file Report 99-22, 19p., 2 sheets 1:24,000 scale.

Biggs, T.H., Quade, J. and Webb, R.H., (in revision), Fire, nutrient concentrations, and ?13C of soil organic matter in a southeastern Arizona desert grassland: Geoderma.

Biggs, T.H., Webb, R.H., and Quade, J., 1999, Fire frequency and spatial variability of soil biogeochemistry and plant biochemistry in a southeastern Arizona desert grassland, in, Gottfried, G.J., Eskew, L.G., Curtin, C.G., and Edminster, C.B., compilers, Toward integrated research, land management, and ecosystem protection in the Malpai borderlands: Conference Proceedings RMRS-P-10, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO, January 1999, Douglas, AZ.

Biggs, T.H., Leighty, R.S., Skotnicki, S.J., and Pearthree, P.A., 1999, Geology and geomorphology of the San Bernardino Valley, southeastern Arizona: Arizona Geological Survey, Open-file Report 99-19, 20p., 3 sheets 1:32,000 scale.

Virginia Publications

Bartlett, C.S., Jr., and Biggs, T.H., 1980, Geology of the Abingdon, Shady Valley, Wyndale and Holston Valley, Virginia 7.5-minute quadrangles: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, Publication 16.

Rader, E.K., and Biggs, T.H., 1976, Geology of the Strasburg and Toms Brook, Virginia 7.5-minute quadrangles: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, Report of Investigations #45.

Rader, E.K., and Biggs, T.H., 1975, Geology of the Front Royal, Virginia 7.5-minute quadrangle: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, Report of Investigations #40.


Virginia's Environments (EVSC 1040)
A general survey of the basic foundation, concepts, and dynamics of the total Earth system with natural Virginia as the unifying concept. Understanding is built on the foundation of geological and geomorphological processes that form and modify the landscape of Virginia, including basic geology, processes of mountain building, flooding, and erosion. Also examined are various ecosystems in the state, especially the Chesapeake Bay, and the human impact of these varied landscapes, particularly through exploitation of mineral and water resources, waste disposal and pollution, and land use issues.

Fundamentals of Geology (EVSC 2800)
Studies the composition, structure, and internal processes of earth; the classification, origin, and distribution of earth materials; earth's interior; and the interpretation of geological data for the solution of problems of the natural environment.

Geology and Ecology of U.S. National Parks (EVSC 4082)
The seminar will involve a close reading of the text with additional outside readings from peer-reviewed journals and books. Students will lead discussions on geological and ecological topics specific to the parks. The impacts of humans on the ecosystems of the specific parks will also be a major topic of investigation and analysis.

Geology and Ecology of U.S. Ore Deposits (EVSC 4820)
The seminar will primarily be an interdisciplinary study group to examine the interrelationships of geology, ecology and land-use issues during the exploration for, the exploitation of, and the environmental legacy of the mineral resources of the United States. Additional outside readings specific to the deposits will be utilized for environmental issues and concern.

Geological Field Methods in Environmental Sciences (EVSC 4830)
This course will integrate lectures, field exercises and trips, and computational techniques to develop solid skills important for Geosciences. Specific projects may include surveying, geologic mapping, soils descriptions, stream and groundwater monitoring, flooding hazards, use of tracers, sampling techniques and various other tools of the trade.

Geology of Virginia (EVGE 7810)
An examination of the geological evolution of Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region in the context of plate tectonics, including stratigraphy, mountain building, metamorphism and deformation, and geomorphic processes. The human impact on this landscape through exploitation of mineral resources is considered.