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Matthew K. Spencer

Assistant Professor, Geology & Physics


Ph.D. 2005, Penn State University

(906) 322 - 6492 : Phone



325 Crawford Hall
Dept. of Geology & Physics
Lake Superior State University
650 W. Easterday Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783




Assistant Professor of Geosciences, Department of Geology and Physics, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI (August 2007 present).

Research Associate, Penn State University, University Park Campus (May August 2007)

Instructor, Penn State University , DuBois Campus (fall 2006 - present)

Research Assistant, Penn State University , University Park Campus (1995 - summer 2006).

Teaching Assistant, Penn State University (one semester half-time status and three semesters quarter-time status, fall 1994 - spring 2005).


Dr. Spencer discussing the geology of Lookout Peak, South Dakota


Field work

1998-1999 Participant in the Antarctic Field Season
1997-2013 National Ice Core Laboratory, Denver, CO (13 field seasons)

Ice & Climate group, National Ice Core Lab, Denver Colorado

Selected publications

T.J. Fudge, Eric J. Steig, Bradley R. Markle, Kendrick Taylor, Joseph R. McConnell,
Edward J. Brook, Todd Sowers, James W. C. White, Spruce W. Schoenemann ,
Richard Alley, Hai Cheng, Gary D. Clow, Jihong Cole-Dai, Howard Conway,
Kurt M. Cuffey, Jon Edwards, Larry Edwards, Ross Edwards, John Fegyveresi,
David Ferris, Joan Fitzpatrick, Jay Johnson, Geoff Hargreaves, James Lee, Olivia
Maselli, William Mason, Ken McGwire, Logan Mitchell, Nicolai Mortensen,
Peter Neff, Anais Orsi, Trevor Popp, Andrew J. Schauer, Jeff Severinghaus,
Michael Sigl, Matt Spencer, Bruce H. Vaughn, Donald Voigt, Edwin
Waddington, and Gifford J. Wong. 2013. Deglacial warming in West Antarctica
driven by both local orbital and Northern Hemisphere forcing. Nature, 500(7463),
440-444, doi:10.1038/nature12376.

Mischler, J. M., T. A. Sowers, R. B. Alley, M. Battle, J. McConnell, L. Mitchell, T. Popp,E. Sofen and M. Spencer (2009). Carbon and Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Methane Over the Last 1000 Years. Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 23, GB4024,

McGwire, K.C., G.M. Hargreaves, R.B. Alley, T.J. Popp, D.B. Reusch, M.K. Spencer and K.C. Taylor. 2008. An integrated system for optical imaging of ice cores.
Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 53(2), 216 - 228.

Alley, R.B., M.K. Spencer and S. Anandakrishnan. 2007. Ice-Sheet Mass Balance: Assessment, Attribution and Prognosis. Ann. Glaciol. 46 , 1-7.

Spencer, M.K., R.B. Alley and J.J. Fitzpatrick. 2006. Developing a bubble number-density paleoclimatic indicator for glacier ice. J. Glaciol. 52 (178), 358-364.

Diprinzio, C.L., L.A. Wilen, R.B. Alley, J.J. Fitzpatrick, M.K. Spencer and A.J. Gow. 2005. Fabric and texture at Siple Dome, Antarctica . J. Glaciol., 51 (173), 281-290.

Taylor, K.C., J.W.C. White, J.P. Severinghaus, E.J. Brook, P.A. Mayewski, R.B. Alley, E.J. Steig, M.K. Spencer, E. Meyerson, D.A. Meese, G.W. Lamorey, A. Grachev, A.J. Gow and B.A. Barnett. 2004. Abrupt late glacial climate change in the Pacific sector of Antarctica . Quaternary Sci. Rev., 23 (1-2), 7-15.

Taylor, K.C., R.B. Alley, D.A. Meese, M.K. Spencer, E.J. Brook, N.W. Dunbar, R. Finkel, A.J. Gow, A.V. Kurbatov, G.W. Lamorey, P.A. Mayewski, E. Meyerson, K. Nishiizumi and G.A. Zielinski. 2004. Dating the Siple Dome, Antarctica ice core by manual and computer interpretation of annual layering. J. Glaciol. , 50 (170), 453-461.

Voigt D.E., R.B. Alley, S. Anandakrishnan and M.K. Spencer. 2003. Ice-core insights into the flow and shut-down of Ice Stream C, West Antarctica . Ann. Glaciol. , 37 , 123-128.

Spencer, M.K., R.B. Alley and T.T. Creyts. 2001. Preliminary firn-densification model with 38-site dataset. J. Glaciol. , 47 (150), 671-676.


Teaching experience


At Penn State 's DuBois Campus, I taught:

Geosc 001 - Physical Geology

Math 022 - College Algebra II and Analytic Geometry

Math 026 - Plane Trigonometry

Math 110 - Techniques of Calculus I

Math 140 - Calculus With Analytic Geometry I

Math 141 - Calculus With Analytic Geometry II

Meteo 003 Introductory Meteorology


Numerous teaching experiences at Penn State University's University Park Campus while a graduate student: I designed and ran laboratories for the required undergraduate-major course on application of physics in Earth science (Physical Processes in Geology), and ran general introductory labs (Planet Earth).

Assisted students with math, science and reading at Corl Street Elementary School , and after-school activities at a local community center.

Guest lectured for "Geology of National Parks" and "Gaia -- The Earth System" at Penn State , University Park Campus.

Employed by Lake Superior State University from 1992 through 1994 as an official tutor, where I handled subjects such as mathematics, physics, astronomy, and computer science on a near-daily basis.

Employed in the Math Lab at Lake Superior State University from 1993 through 1994, including full-time status throughout the summer of 1993.



Funded through numerous NSF grants (e.g., 0229609, 9615554, 0440447 and 0087160) as a research assistant at Penn State . Although I was a contributing member for some successful proposals, I was not a named contributor (a Penn State policy). I have also been funded for the past several years through the philanthropy of Gary Comer and the Comer Foundation. I am currently included in the plans for the physical-properties analysis of the next deep core at the West Antarctic divide, a major project that will carry over well into the next decade.




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