Brian Romans

Sedimentary Geoscience
Dr. Romans’ research program at Virginia Tech focuses on the dynamics of sedimentary systems, with emphasis on reconstruction of paleo-environments at geologic timescales (centuries to millions of years). Dr. Romans and his students study sedimentary system response to past climate change, which provides an important perspective for understanding ongoing and future global change.

Dr. Romans is currently researching how ocean circulation and ice-sheet dynamics responded to past climate change. In 2012, he sailed on International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 342, which recovered sediment cores in the North Atlantic Ocean offshore Newfoundland that contain records of ocean circulation history. Dr. Romans participated in IODP Expedition 374 in January-February 2018, which recovered sediment records from the Ross Sea, offshore Antarctica, to study West Antarctic Ice Sheet response to past global warming events. His work with scientific ocean drilling is part of an international collaborative effort that will ultimately provide improved constraints on climate sensitivity and improve climate models.

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Following his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2008 and before joining the Virginia Tech Geosciences faculty in 2011, Dr. Romans worked as a research scientist in the petroleum industry and a component of his current research is relevant to this industry. Thus, he also has an interest in the complex relationships of global energy, climate change mitigation, and the ‘Anthropocene’. Dr. Romans has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers, special publications, and book chapters in the field of sedimentary geoscience.

At Virginia Tech, Dr. Romans teaches courses in Sedimentology-Stratigraphy (a core course for B.S. in Geosciences), Seismic Stratigraphy, Sedimentary Basins, Oceanography, and more.

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Relevant Publications

Spray, J.F., Bohaty, S.M., Davies, A.D., Bailey, I., Romans, B.W., Cooper, M.J., Milton, J.A., and Wilson, P.A., in press, North Atlantic evidence for a unipolar icehouse climate state at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition: Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, doi: 10.1029/2019PA003563 [link]

Hodgson, D.M., Bernhardt, A., Clare, M., da Silva, A-C, Fosdick, J., Mauz, B., Midtkandel, I., Owen, A., and. Romans, B.W., 2018, Grand challenges (and great opportunities) in sedimentology, stratigraphy, and diagenesis research: Frontiers in Earth Science: Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and Diagenesis [link] [pdf]

Mason, C.C., and Romans, B.W., 2018, Climate-driven unsteady denudation and sediment flux in a high-relief unglaciated catchment-fan using 26Al and 10Be: Panamint Valley, California: Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 492, 130-143, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.03.056 [publisher link] [EarthArxiv preprint] [blog post]