Phillip H. Larson

Earth Science - Geomorphology - Environment


(Left: Angel's Landing, Zion Canyon: Minnesota State students on the fall 2018 Geog 440/Geog 610 field excursion)
(Right: Skaftafellsjökull - Kristínartindar, Iceland)

    My name is Phillip Larson (Phil) and I'm a geo-dad, outdoors activities fanatic, mac and cheese zealot, Minnesota sports and marvel/DC/star trek nerd, public lands enthusiast, and earth scientist.

    I am a Full Professor, Director of Earth Science Programs, and founder of the AGES (Archeology, Geography, Earth Science)(now EARTH Systems Laboratory) at Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN. In addition, I am graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and member of the MNiMORPH research group. If you would like to work with me, we have a M.S. program in Geography at Minnesota State and a M.S. and Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota in Earth and Environmental Sciences. If you're interested in working with me as a graduate student, please send me an email (!  

    My professional life revolves around taking part in scientific research with incredible earth scientists. My goals as a scientist and professor are to explore and investigate the landscapes of our planet with an inquisitive eye aimed at understanding process, form, and rates of change on the earth's surface. Understanding how natural processes and phenomenon interact with anthropogenic factors is crucial to this endeavor - thus, I am an environmental scientist, too. In particular, I focus on understanding "landscape evolution" primarily through investigating geomorphic processes (fluvial, aeolian, weathering, mass wasting, glacial, etc.) by using the landforms and sedimentary deposits left behind as markers of dynamic processes that shape the surface of our planet. Not only do I look at these processes through the geologic past, but also how they operate in the present. Understanding these processes today and comparing to the past is crucial to understand how humanity is impacted by and influences the behavior of these natural systems.  Thus, my work commonly dovetails with research threads in climate change, land-use, and natural hazards.   Ultimately, it boils down to a passion for understanding the natural world and our place in it. That passion leads me to want to educate and share my exciting about our planet. For years to come, I hope to teach and learn from a multitude of students as they become the new scientists that shape our understanding of the world.

Phillip H. Larson, PhD

Professor, Geography
Director, Earth Science Programs
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Graduate Faculty
University of Minnesota
Tele: 5073892617

Website (Personal):
Website (Research Group):

Minnesota State University
Earth Science Programs, Morris Hall 206
Mankato, MN, 56001

(Colorado River, northeast Utah; Victoria Glacier, Alberta)

 “The problem with ... Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.” - S. Markley