Madison Douglas

Job title: 
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on the physical, chemical, and biological processes that have shaped the surface of Earth throughout our planet's history, forming the landscapes we know and love today. Predicting natural hazards such as flooding and debris flows requires understanding the physical processes active in rivers, hillslopes, and coastlines and collaborating with geochemists and biologists. This includes traveling to collect samples and measure natural processes, running laboratory experiments to make scaled-down versions of these processes using water and sediment, looking at landscape change through time using remote sensing, and developing novel numerical models. My research focuses on landscapes in permafrost environments, since these are rapidly thawing as the climate warms and can release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as well as sites within California that offer an incredible natural laboratories for understanding the impacts of tectonics, bedrock geology, climate change, and human activity on landscapes. Together, my work seeks to understand how Earth's surface has evolved from the first expansion of life onto the continents to the present, and to inform landscape management practices for a safe and sustainable future.

BS at MIT (2012-2016), USGS Menlo Park (2016-2017), Masters and PhD at
Caltech (2017-2023), Postdoc at MIT (2023-2024)

Research interests: 

Landscape evolution, permafrost and periglacial geomorphology, biological and geochemical cycling at Earth's surface, physics of sediment transport