Michael Konen

Research Emphases

Soil Science, Landscape Evolution, Geomorphology

Specific Research Endeavors

The overall goal of my research is understanding how soils and landscapes change over space and time, quantifying these changes and applying that information to the soil resource decision making process. Graduate and undergraduate students are integral to this mission. Impact of humans on soil genesis, erosion-sedimentation, soil spatial distribution and landscape evolution. Current research examines human impact on surface processes relative to postglacial events across the glaciated Midwestern United States. Relationships between soil color, organic carbon content and water table levels. Quantitative soil color measurements are being examined in order to better predict organic carbon contents of soils at the hillslope and soil association scales. Influence of relict periglacial phenomena on landscape evolution in the Midwestern United States. Ongoing research is examining the genesis, distribution and timing of relict periglacial phenomena and their effects on geomorphic surfaces and soils. Results of this work are allowing for a better understanding of late Quaternary paleoclimate and the spatial distribution of modern soils on low relief landscapes.

Frequently Taught Courses

GEOG 101/102: Survey of Physical Geography 
GEOG 302: Soil Science 
GEOG 402/502: Pedology 
GEOG 403/503: Soil Geography and Land Use Planning 
GEOG 404: Soil Profile Description and Interpretation
GEOG 465/665: Field Methods in Physical Geography 
GEOG 477: Environmental Field Camp (co-instructor)
GEOG 505: Concepts in Physical Geography 

Representative Publications

Luo, W. and M. Konen, 2007, "New results from from Using a Web-based Interactive Landform Simulation Model (WILSIM) in a General Education Physical Geography Course,"Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 55, n5, n.5, p. 423-425

Konen, M.E., C.L. Burras, and J.A. Sandor. 2003. Organic Carbon, Texture, and Quantitative Color Measurement Relationships for Cultivated Soils in North Central Iowa. Soil Science Society of America Journal 67:1823-1830.

Brevik, E.C. and M.E. Konen. 2003. Problems and Suggestions Concerning the Use of Glacially-Deposited Sediment Terminology by Soil Scientists. Soil Survey Horizons 44:64-70.

Konen, M.E., P.M. Jacobs, C.L. Burras, B.J. Talaga, and J.A. Mason. 2002. Equations for Predicting Soil Organic Carbon Using Loss-on Ignition for North Central U.S. Soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 66:1878-1881.

Patton, J.J., L. Burras, M.E. Konen, and N.E. Molstad. 2001. An accurate and inexpensive apparatus and method for teaching and measuring stable aggregate content of soils. Journal of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Education 30:84-88.

Stojanovic, B., L.S. Rigg, and M.E. Konen. 2001. Stand structure of shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and soil properties in an extremely fragmented woodlot in northeastern Illinois. Great Lakes Geographer 8:66-76.

Michael Konen

Associate Professor

Office: Davis Hall 212

Soil Analysis Laboratory

Soil Judging Team


Ph.D., Iowa State University

Contact Us

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Davis Hall, Room 312

815-753-0631 (undergraduate)
815-753-1943 (graduate)

815-753-1945 (fax)

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