Donn Gorsline


Present Position

Wilford & Daris Zinsmeyer Professor Emeritus


B.S. Petroleum Engineering, Montana School of Mines, 1950

M.S. Geology, University of Southern California, 1954

Ph.D. Geology, University of Southern California, 1958

Positions Held

Assistant Professor, Oceanographic Institute, Florida State University,1957-61

Associate Professor, Oceanographic Institute, Florida State University,1961-62

Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, USC1961-66

Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, USC,1966-86

W. & D. Zinsmeyer Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Earth Sciences, USC,1986-97

Military Service

Active duty, U. S. Naval Reserve; general duty and officer training, 1944-46

Inactive Duty, USNR, 1946-51

Ensign, Lt J.G., USNR, Active duty, 1951-52

Inactive Reserve, USNR; Retired Inactive USNR


F. P. Shepard Memorial Medal for Excellence in Marine Geological Research, SEPM

President, SEPM

Life Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Senior Fellow, Geological Society of America

Honorary Member, SEPM

Honorary Member, Pacific Section, SEPM

Distinguished Lecturer, American Association of Petroleum Geologists

A. Raubenheimer Award, Excellence in Research, USC

Professional Service

Editor, Marine Geology

Editor, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology

Council Member, SEPM

Member, Board of Directors, AGI

Member, Advisory Council, AAPG

Member, Council, University National Oceanographic Laboratories System

Member, Chair, Numerous Panels, Committees, NSF, DOE, ONR, DSDP, AAPG, SEPM, GSA, IGCP


Over 120 MS and PhD students directed during academic career

Areas of Research

Sedimentology, Marine Geology

Sedimentology, processes and history, California Continental Borderland

Sedimentary history, paleooceanography, Gulf of California margin basins

Coastal geology, Baja California

Selected Recent Publications

A digital system for recording and rapidly processing settling tube data: Journal of Sedimentary Research, A65:575-579 (with R. A. Robinson, R. H. Osborne, M. C. Robertson), 1995

Contemporary channel-levee systems in active borderland basin plains: Sedimentary Geology, 104:53-72 (with J. R. SChwalbach, B. D. Edwards), 1996

A review of the occurrences of Holocene and Late Pleistocene laminated sediments in California Continental Borderland basins: products of a variety of depositional processes: In Kemp, A. E. S. (ed.), Paleoclimatology and Paleooceanography from Laminated Sediments, Geological Society of London Spec. Publ. 116:93-110 (with E. M. Nava-Sanchez, J. M. Murillo de Nava), 1996

Depositional events in Santa Monica Basin, California Borderland during the past five centuries: Sedimentary Geology, 104:73-88, 1996

Wave effects on fan deltas of the Gulf of California: Proceedings of the International Coatal Synposium, ICS98, Spec. Issue 26:312-319 (with S. Troyo-Dieguez, E. Nava-Sanchez), 1998

Evidence of Holocene climatic changes from aeolian deposits in Baja California Sur, Mexico: Quaternary International, 56:141-154 (with Janete Murillo de Nava), 1999

The El Coyote fan delta: a wave-dominated example from the Gulf of California, Mexico: Quaternary International 56:129-140 (with E. Nava-Sanchez, L. Godinez-Orta), 1999

Seismically triggered turbidites in small margin basins: Alfono basin, western Gulf of California, and Santa Monica basins, California Borderland: Sedimentary Geology, (with E, Nava-Sanchez, T. De Diego) in press, 2000

Holocene sediments of the Southern California mainland shelf: Quaternary International, (with R. Slater, R. Kolpack, G. Shiller), in review, 2000

Late Pleistocene sedimentary facies of the California Borderland: more evidence for ventilation changes in the northeast Pacific: Paleooceanography (with R. S. Robinson), in review, 2000