Ruth Aronoff is a geologist who studies how mountain belts form and how continents grow and change over time. She particularly enjoys connecting field observations with a range of lab-based analytical tools in order to solve tectonic puzzles. Ruth's research interests include structural geology, tectonics, geochronology, metamorphic petrology, geodynamics, and energy resources. Dr. Aronoff received her BA in geosciences and anthropology from Williams College. She then worked in nonprofit environmental advocacy before earning her PhD in the lithospheric tectonics lab at Purdue University. During her graduate career, Ruth also engaged in research at several major energy companies. Ruth has conducted geology fieldwork throughout the United States and in the Middle East. She has received grant funding from Purdue University, The Geological Society of America, and ExxonMobil. Dr. Aronoff is excited to work with Furman students in the classroom and through original research projects. She strives to provide students with field and lab experiences that will help them discover scientific principles firsthand. ​

Name Title Description


Earth Systems

An introduction to Earth as an evolving, integrated, and cyclic system. Examination of major surficial and internal Earth processes that shape the human environment and control the distribution of geologic resources such as water, fossil fuels, strategic minerals, and soils.


Plate Tectonics & Earthquakes

History, theory, and application of the plate tectonic paradigm to ancient and modern earthquake activity and contemporaneous crustal instability. Case studies of modern earthquake activity, paleoseismicity, and prediction.


Sustainable Low Carbon Society

Examination of political, economic and technological ideas related to striving towards low carbon societies including an overview of climate change science paying particular attention to themes of air quality, human security and technology. Students will work with real word cases at the community level to explore the role of governmental entities in Climate Action Planning in upstate SC.


Structural Geology

Origin and description of folds, faults, and fractures. Behavior of Earth materials under stress. Analysis of stress and strain. Modern structural concepts. Field trips required.


Regional Tectonics

Emphasis on the history of the tectonic development of North America as demonstrated by structure and stratigraphy.


China and the Environment

The origin of China's current environmental crisis and policy recommendations for improving its environment using a multidisciplinary approach. Introduction of the science behind key environmental issues facing China and how political, social and economic factors impact China's natural environment and prospects for its preservation.


Sustainable Energy Systems


Ruth Aronoff specializes in understanding the formation and preservation of continental lithosphere. Her recent research has focused on the evolution of North America during the Proterozoic using rocks of the southwest United States.

Ruth enjoys using diverse research tools to better understand tectonic processes. She is particularly fascinated by the interaction between deformation and metamorphism from the microscopic scale to the continent scale, and the evolution of pressure and temperature in the solid earth over both time and space. Ruth and her students interpret the tectonic history of a region using field methods, numerical models, and lab methods that span structural geology, petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics.

Ruth collaborates with scientists at a range of institutions, including Purdue University, Washington State University, Bucknell University, and the US Geological Survey.​​

  • Aronoff, R.F., Andronicos, C.L., Vervoort, J.D., and Hunter, R.A., (2016), Redefining the metamorphic history of the oldest rocks in the southern Rocky Mountains, GSA Bulletin: B31455-1.
  • Daniel, C.G., Andronicos, C.L. and Aronoff, R.F., (2016), Regional Al2SiO5 triple-point metamorphic rocks of northern New Mexico: A field trip to honor the career contributions of Lincoln Hollister to petrology and tectonics, in Keller, S.M. and Morgan, M.L., Unfolding the Geology of the West: Geological Society of America Field Guide 44, p. 201-229.
Purdue University
Williams College

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