Andy Breckenridge

Dr. Andy

Geology | Environmental Science
Office: Barstow Hall 103A


Andy believes in helping students learn to think critically and communicate effectively through writing and speech is a teacher’s greatest challenge. As a geology instructor, especially at the introductory level, he also has the wonderful opportunity to reintroduce adults to the diversity, timelessness and complexity of the Earth.

Research Interests

Andy’s teaching and research interests cover the areas of sedimentology, stratigraphy, global climate change, glacial geology and the study of the Earth’s landforms. He is fascinated by lake sediments because they provide a window into the past through which people can see how landscapes and climate have changed. Andy’s current research areas include:

  • The history of Lake Superior over the last 13,000 years
  • Understanding the nature of the drainage of Lake Agassiz, which may have initiated multiple abrupt climatic cooling events
  • Mapping landslides caused by an incredible flood that occurred on June 10, 2012, to understand factors that lead to slope failure
  • Developing techniques to use lake sediments to reconstruct barren-ground caribou populations over thousand-year time scales

Ongoing Research Opportunities for Students

  • Contribute to a project using ancient lake sediments to understand the response of ice sheets to rapid climate change (NSF award #1602791)
  • Study sediments from the St. Louis River Estuary to understand how the harbor and baymouth bar (Park Point/Wisconsin Point) developed over the last 4,000 years
  • Help test methods to use lake sediments to reconstruct caribou populations


Research Gate profile

  • 2021. Gauthier, M., Breckenridge, A., Hodder, T. Deglacial patterns for the MIS 2 Laurentide Ice Sheet in Manitoba, Canada. Boreas,
  • 2021. Lewis, M., Breckenridge, A., Teller, J.T. Reconstruction of isostatically-adjusted paleo-strandlines along the southern margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences,
  • 2021. Keenan, B., Imfeld, A., Johnston, J., Breckenridge, A., Gelinas, Y., Douglas, P., Molecular evidence for human population change associate with climate events in the Maya lowlands. Quaternary Science Reviews 258,
  • 2021. Breckenridge, A., Lowell, T., Peteet, D., Wattrus, N., Moretto, M., Norris, N. A new glacial varve chronology from along the southern Laurentide Ice Sheer that spans the Younger Dryas-Holocene boundary. Geology,
  • 2020. Colman, S.M., Breckenridge, A., Zoet, L.K., Wattrus, N.J., and T.C. Johnson. Moraines and late-glacial stratigraphy in central Lake Superior. Quaternary Research,
  • 2020. Wittkop, C., Bartley, J.K., Krueger, R., Bouvier, A., Georg, R.B., Knaeble, A.R., St. Clair, K., Piper, C., and Breckenridge, A.. Influence of provenance and transport process on the geochemistry and radiogenic (Hf, Nd, and Sr) isotopic composition of Pleistocene glacial sediments, Minnesota, USA Chemical Geology 532,
  • 2020. Dalton et al., An updated radiocarbon-based ice margin chronology for the last deglaciation of the North American Ice Sheet Complex. Quaternary Science Reviews 234, 106, 106223.
  • 2018. Douglas, P.M., Pagani, M., Eglington, T., Brenner, M., Curtis, J., Breckenridge, A., Johnston, K., 2018. A long-term decrease in the persistence of soil carbon caused by ancient Maya land use. Nature Geoscience, 11, 645-649,
  • 2018. Leydet, D., Carlson, A., Teller, J., Breckenridge, A., Barth, A., Ulman, D., Sinclair, G., Milne, G., Caffee, M., Eastward routing of glacial Lake Agassiz runoff caused the Younger Dryas cold event,  Geology, 46(2), 155-158,


  • 2006 – Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), University of Minnesota 
  • 1999 – Master of Science (M.S.), University of Minnesota 
  • 1994 – Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Purdue University