Vatnsdalsfjall, northern Iceland Painted Hills, Oregon central Patagonia, Chile Cove Palisades, Oregon field trip recon, Oregon coast Lago Posadas section, Argentina sunset, central Australia

Postdoctoral fellow - Terrestrial paleoclimate and mountain building

How have mountain ranges, and the climates they are bathed in, changed through time? I study terrestrial paleoenvironments to discover what they have to tell us about climate, tectonics, biology, and human society. I primarily use records of light stable isotopes from sediments, soils, and organic molecules, grounded in a rich context of field observations and data from sedimentology, atmospheric science, and other disciplines.

Contact me

Email david dot colwyn at colorado dot edu

Department of Geological Sciences
University of Colorado - Boulder
2200 Colorado Ave., UCB 399
Boulder, CO 80309-0399


CU Geological Sciences
CUBES-SIL (Snell Lab)
INSTAAR Organic Geochemistry Lab
Periodic Table in the Ocean
Earth Wind Map
NOAA HYSPLIT Trajectory Model (OIPC)


February 2019: New paper with Mike Hren is out in EPSL. We found a large temperature drop in the terrestrial Southern Hemisphere followed by a partial rebound during the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT). These results are the first quantitative record of cooling at the EOT on land in the Southern Hemisphere. These results confirm the globally synchronous nature of the EOT and agree with previous work indicating that the primary cause of this major climate transition was likely falling atmospheric pCO2 levels.

September 2018: Back from a great field season in Alaska and settling in at CU-Boulder. Alaska is a special place.

July 2018: Busy getting ready to move to University of Colorado to study high-latitude paleoclimate.

February 2018: Thesis defense is done and dusted.

March 2017: In Death Valley with undergraduates, looking at Earth history from the Neoproterozoic to the Cenozoic. The rocks are beautiful and the flowers are out in force on the alluvial fans this year.